Nancy and I were up at the school today after physio and while I was in the office a very polite young man introduced himself to me. His name was Austin, and he said he would be in my class next semester. I asked him what grade he was in and (clutching his iPad in his hands) he said grade 9. I said that I was pleased to meet him, but that he would be having another teacher next semester, that I would not be there. He said "oh, that's okay" and "it's good to see you here at school". Such a nice kid. I wish I would be well enough to be back. I look well, but for now my full time job is recovery.
I know I have said before that I am tired, and everything I do makes me more tired, but even I forget how all the little things add up - and sometimes I slip back into my old ways of I can do it all! So last week at Parkwood I did my catheter twice on my own - no big deal right? Well I didn't want a repeat of the week before [Jane had to go and get Barry to pick me up off the bathroom floor - Barry's first words were: "Well, does she have her pants up?" I did, and I only injured my pride.] so I was careful and decided not to transfer to the toilet, so just stayed in my chair. Think of it this way - try pulling up your pants while sitting on them in a fabric covered chair. Get them up to your knees, sit in a chair, and then try to get them up to your waist without using your feet, legs or hips to boost you up. Try it and you'll see that three hands would be, well, handy, and you'll understand why I have bruises down my forearms. Here's another - swim for an hour, then try getting out of a wet bathing suit while laying down on a bench - again - no use of muscles below your armpits to help you out. All these "little" yet very essential things add up.
So last week I did my regularly scheduled therapies: Monday and Wednesday physio, Tuesday in the pool and Thursday to Parkwood plus we had a meeting Monday afternoon, I watched the kids swim and we went to Subway, Wednesday we went to the Hulett Christmas concert and on Thursday Steve and I added an hour long stop at Motion Specialties in London. By Friday I was more than tired. I was done. Finished. Exhausted. Spent. I did not get out of bed on Friday until 2 pm and then only to have a shower (which is also exhausting) and go back to bed!
Everybody expresses themselves differently when they are tired. Lara and I have invented words like hangry (hungry and angry) and tungry (tired and hungry) to apply to our own kids, well my new word would be tweepy - tired and weepy. Because by the end of any one of those days, when I have added in too many "little" things, that is how it ends. Usually in tears. Poor Theo, because there is nothing he can do or say. By this point everything is awful, nothing will ever get better and there is nothing he can do but put me into bed and cover me with the duvet.
I put on a good show when I am out - that is I look and sound okay- but inside, my body is still healing, and spinal cord kind of healing takes a long time. Funny that I write this now, because people in the know have been saying that to me all along. But now I write it to remind myself, as well as others. I see it as a part of my job now, to teach others what it is like to have a spinal cord injury. And one of those things is the amount of time needed for healing - that although the injured person looks good, that is a short window, and boy you don't want to be around when that window closes.
So today I leave with this quote, because I was inspired by a friend who sent me a message that I only read today. Thanks, Duff - that is when I cry, and this is how I keep going.
"Now is no time to think of what you do not have. Think of what you can do with what there is." --Ernest Hemingway