Thursday, September 12, 2013

Healing and Adapting

I drove to Frankfort yesterday to our annual picnic and staff meeting.  It was the second one I'd attended since my stroke.  The first one, last summer, was a big deal for me.  It was the first time I had driven that far by myself, and the first time I had participated in a large event such as that.  But it's amazing how the human brain and body can heal and adapt to even something as traumatic as a stroke.  Since that first time, I've made the trip to Frankfort many times by myself, and this time carrying Polly's casserole from my car to the tables where the food was laid out was no big deal.  And just as I have adapted, so have my co-workers.  This time no one offered to let me go to the head of the line or help me get my food. I was just another staff member standing in line with everyone else.  It was too hot to play games after eating, so I went back to work for awhile then drove back home.  I drove through a thunderstorm on the interstate, but what else is new in Kentucky.

When Polly got home I still had enough energy to go with her to the Y and swim  laps.  That, also, is much easier than it used to be.  I no longer have to ease in using the steps at the shallow end.  Now I go to the deep end of the lane I'm going to use and jump in.  The water and the pool area is kept cool, so jumping in is a shock to my system, but it's good to get it over with instead of drawing it out.  I swim underwater a bit just to get used to the temperature, then swim laps for about forty minutes.  Then a long, hot shower and back home for supper. 

The spasticity on my left side still plagues me, but doesn't stop me.  I tell myself that it's part of the healing process and that eventually it will go away just as it came.  I don't know if that's true, but it's a nice thought, and who knows, maybe it will happen that way. 

Recovery from stroke is such a slow process that it's easy to get discouraged.  But on days like yesterday, it becomes obvious to me how far I've come in a relatively short time.  Today is a day of reflection, but also a day of work.  Life is such a balancing act.