Monday, February 26, 2007

First day of school...

Well, that's sort of what it felt like. Today was the official beginning of life returning to normal Chez Shanalex. Life has been progressing to this point for some time now, what with the rejection of the walker and wheelchair, the discarding of the bath bench, and, on Saturday, the return of all equipment from the Red Cross Equipment Loan Program.

Today was the first day back at work. While it was a tad bit overwhelming and there is much to do, well, it wasn't as scary as I thought it would be. It almost felt like I hadn't really been gone...I mean, the calendar is stuck on November, so really, it must just be the first week of December, NOT twelve weeks later...

Seriously, can we go back to the first week of December? I like Christmas. I'd like to experience Christmas 2006 NOT in a drug induced stupor...

In any case, life is back to normal. The drugs are long gone which means I've quit scaring Alex by asking him innocent questions like:
  • Why am I sleeping in the guest room?
  • Why does my back/hip hurt?
  • Did I hurt myself?
  • What's going on?
  • Who are you?
  • What are you doing in my room?
  • Where's Alex? I want Alex. I don't know you. I want Alex.
  • Do I know you?
  • Why does it hurt when I try to sit up?
I did ask him each and every one of these questions...true, the drug induced stupor was at its peak at that point, but I unintentionally scared the poor guy a whole lot...he must like me though - he's still living here and I still have his ring ;)

It's been twelve weeks since I took my little tumble and it's been an experience for sure. The way I see it, while it was a not fun accident, I learned a whole lot.

  • I learned not to take things for granted.
  • I learned exactly how far my patience can stretch, but also how far the patience of others will stretch for me.
  • I learned that my body is both stronger and weaker than I thought it was.
  • I learned that as much as I don't like swimming laps, sometimes it's actually an okay way to spend part of an afternoon.
  • I learned that some people really lack manners when it comes to people in wheelchairs and with other obvious (or not so obvious) disabilities and ailments.
  • I (re)learned how wonderful the people around me are. My family (the little one and the extended one), friends and the Guiding community were so generous with their time, food, conversation, assistance, and good wishes. Alex was super supportive and helpful and did all kinds of great things for me.
  • I decided that I need to slow down and enjoy life more, even if that means saying no more often and changing my priorities.
  • I learned that if you can laugh about it, even big, bad problems won't seem quite so horrible.
  • I learned that even though the grocery store is only a block away, a block can be a long way, especially if you buy a jug of milk.
  • I learned to ask for help more often, because even if it is hard to ask, usually people are more than happy to help out.
And that's just some of what I learned...

Today life took on a normal glow and I think I enjoyed it...I got up, showered, got dressed in work pants (NOT sweat pants...yay, I can tolerate a "normal" waistband for short periods of time now), went to work, did work stuff, went swimming, took the bus home, stretched and did back exercises for an eternity, did some more work...except for the rehab type stuff, life really is getting back to normal. And yes, it will be forever recorded that I insinuated that I actually enjoyed going to work...

ahh...the normal life...

Before I get too used to my normal world again, public thanks are also needed.

Big, big thank yous need to go to (sort of in order of how things happened):
  • Alex, who called 911 and stayed with me until he dropped me off at work this morning, who got up at all hours of the night to help me use the bathroom or take more painkillers, who was there when I needed him (and when I thought I didn't need him, but really I did) to do everything and anything.
  • Our landlady K. who sat with me while Alex talked to the dispatcher and brought the paramedics to the basement.
  • The five paramedics, who managed to keep me calm even though I was in excruciating pain, move me without making it hurt too much, and somehow get me up the narrow stairs and around the tight little landing without too much jarring or bumping (although the morphine might have something to do with that).
  • My aunt, who met us at the hospital, and stayed all night, sharing meal breaks with Alex and being my spokesperson when I was too tired and too drugged to fight for myself anymore.
  • Al, the nurse who drew my blood without me feeling it and the next morning very gently removed the IV.
  • The doctor who finally figured out what was wrong with me.
  • The physiotherapist who showed me how to stand and walk and climb stairs.
  • My aunt (the same one) who came back to the hospital after three hours sleep and my uncle who took the day off work so they could take me home and get us some groceries and pick up all the Red Cross equipment.
  • My boss, coworkers, and HR representative who pitched in to look after my job for three months and made sure my time off and the transition back to work were as painless as possible.
  • My Mom, who spent weeks with us, cooking, cleaning, comforting, grocery shopping, and making me walk.
  • My Mom and Dad who got me home to k-town early for Christmas and kept me longer, got up with me in the middle of the night for more pain killers, made sure I got my afternoon naps, worried about me, and took very good care of me, even when I was being a pain-in-the-butt, grumpy patient.
  • Kelsey who spent a week with us, making lots of food for the freezer, vacuuming and doing endless sinks of dishes.
  • Rebecca who took me shopping in the wheelchair, made vroom vroom noises, and was a fairly tolerant babysitter.
  • Heather and D, Fiona, Tony D, Stacey, Sunita, Mike, Kelly, and Jack, Amy and Ellery, Ann, Debra, Julia, Chandra, Michelle, Sarah Brown, Rita, Lizzie, Kristine, Heather, Megan and Hans, Theana, Paula, and the many other friends who stopped by to say hi, brought books and movies, called to see how I was doing, sent emails, flowers, cards, and care packages, and generally took good care of me.
  • Andrea, who decided that it was time I had a family doctor is this city and made it her mission to find me one...a big thank you for that!
  • My aunt, uncle, and cousins who babysat me one weekend when Alex went away and I still needed fairly constant care.
  • Liz, the homecare physio, who helped me regain my balance and my confidence.
  • Gail, the physio down the road, who got me into the pool and moving again.
  • My "big" family, who called to see how I was, made sure my Christmas presents were things I could use, and made me laugh a lot (I needed that!).
  • Alex's family who checked up on me regularly.
  • Any number of people who stopped to hold doors, open doors, wait an eternity for me to cross the road, or help me out in some little was a big deal for me!

And of course, I'm sure I'm missing someone...I apologize if you're reading and I've missed you - thank you too!

So...thank you everyone...I hope that's all about my back for a long, long time (it's not that interesting, really!).

okay, now I'm going off to my "normal" life...

(hope I didn't jinx it!)