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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Today, I'm sharing another's wisdom, though, I couldn't agree more!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Writers block...

Serious writers block lately. Not entirely sure why, I've been writing, as I feel it really helps me to sort through my thoughts. Although, I really can't actually bring myself to post anything where I'm unequivocally infuriated with my decisions, and by those around me. Lets be real, injuries, in general, are horrible, because they completely rearrange your way of life, and because you need to readjust. On top of that, the difficulty with brain injuries, is that they can often strip you of your former identity. I can't pretend I'm an authority on this subject, though everyone's mind is affected under trauma, so, it only seems reasonable, right? I know I felt somewhat lost before my injury. By appearance, I really looked like I had myself together. I did well enough in my studies, worked, to support myself, while I put myself through school. What put this stress on overload, was the handful of leadership activities I also participated in. A typical weekday, my senior year began with watching 2 kids, and getting them to school,heading to the farm, where I fed horses, turned tem out, and helped muck out. Every other day, I'd have time to go for a ride. I'd get back to my apartment, with enough time to change, eat, and go to a couple classes. If it was a work day, I'd head tohe hospital by 3, and work until 11. If I wasn't working, I'd be be at he library, at a club meeting, at the gym, or all 3. I never really understood that everyone else wasn't as driven to accomplish so much each day. That is, until I acquired this injury. In college, I could easily surround myself with friends, and people I looked up to. It was a hugely nurturing, and supportive environment. When I sustained this injury, the fact that I thought ofBurlington as a hugely nurturing environment, and that I was in what I thought was in a supportive relationship. Looking back, I've been through so many stages of anger, disbelief, unrelenting fury, and denial, than my mind/soul could possibly realize. Saying it's been a long, difficult journey, doesn't even open the door. I'm quiet in social situations a lot, because I've really been unable to process my own deficits. As they say, "You don't know, what you don't know."

Functionally, and motivationally, this has been an incredible year for me. I discovered what is possible in team work, and as an individual. For those discoveries, I'm so thankful. However, emotionally, this has been the most difficult year I've ever faced. In the last 5 years I lost my identity, my independence, my emotions, countless relationships among friends and family, and one love. Although, I couldn't process much of the impacts these experiences directly had on me. I feel rather foolish or only being able to realize my physical disabilities, although, I believe everything will come in its own time. I've been told over, and over that I need o accept my limitations as they are, and move on. If I had done that 5 years ago, I'd still be under Lund the clock supervision, heel chair bound, and not able to feed myself. That sounds like a very fulfilling life, if nothing else (not).

Over the years, I've worked with some truly incredible therapists, doctors, and counselors. I wouldn't be where I am today, without heir support, and encouragement. Although, as with most situations, I've spent the majority of my injury turning my back to heir views, and ideas, simply because I don't understand them, or because I do not agree with them. In this environment, if you cannot immediately, as in, between breaths, qualify your dissatisfaction, you will be trampled. It happens to me before I'm able to catch myself nearing this type of situation. It's all a learning experience. As is my living situation. In college, this was easy, because we had lots in common, similar budgets, and extremely busy schedules. Now, I struggle to find commonalities with many people, my ideals are relatively intact, I love to be outdoors, and I've developed a strong interest in accessible adventure eduction. These experiences, combined with a new found interest in meditation, and middle eastern culture, primarily meditation, although healing arts in general have become more of a core focus, s time passes. Medicine, as well as government programs have become oo sterile, and I malleable to really benefit people anymore. Our world as become too overpopulated. The world is now so big, that we rely on machines, created to improve speed, and performance. Granted, they complete their tasks as designed, but continue to propagate the impersonal lack of compassion for one-another, that seems to growing more persistently, these days.
Today I attended a group meditation workshop, with my friend Anna, and her father, who is also a long distance runner. I only add that because we agreed there was an assimilation to the mental laxity, you find on long distance runs. Man, I feel like a nerd, writing that I love a port r the mental clarity I gain from it. Yes! Anna has an incredible gift for spreading her appreciation or life, and for getting others to join her in the activities she participates in. Prior o 2 months ago, I knew very little about practicing the art of meditation. She invited me to join a group she attends, in October and I couldn't be more hooked. It allows me to sort through my shredded mess of thoughts I carry around, everything from, 'who am I? To how do I show appreciation, or interest in someone ,I look up to? Or even what is the cat telling me, when he poops not in the box, but 2 feet from it, on the floor? These thing, combined with the stress of my jeopardized government programs, mull my thoughts into a heap of stress, I'd prefer to discard, as opposed to untangle, and properly deal with. Social values are so profoundly different amongst each person, and I've learned that through meditation, I can salvage many of my old defining principles, while also learning to appreciate the joy brought by others around me. I feel slightly corny writing this, but I was unwillingly forced to stop, and start over in life, and that has taught me more about life, in 5 years, than I I deviously ever imagined possible.




A

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Stellar Sunday. Superblaa

Where to start, at the beginning I suppose... For those of you that have pent a decent amount of time with me in the last few years, you're probably aware that my ability to or create plans has been relatively nonexistent. If I have something that motivates me to accomplish a task, I can do it, take the adaptive adventures I've had this year!they've each been brilliant learning experiences for me. I've gained the confidence, and social skills that are SO necessary in day to day life, and developed confidence in myself, and my abilities. These have been key instruments in my fundamental survival. I can, and will, sit here, and write how oppressive my lifestyle, and living environment, here in Vermont s. generally, I'm not willing to share my thought, and perspective regarding my over meant funded lifestyle, dimply because it is not a positive reflection of myself, or who I care to be. We all make decisions with old, and bad aspects. In the beginning, I knew I'd made the or react decision, because I was unable to up port myself, and my family wasn't really in a position to drop everything to assist me live my life, and receive the funds ands, services, and therapies I've needed to relearn life, how I see fit. The difficulty with rehabilitation, and doing it in a country that celebrates independence, and choice is that there can never be one definitive way to accomplish a task. Also that the social values are relatively, to very unlike anything I wold consider appropriate for myself. This is a side note, but there is NO guidance in this area, or if there is, it's from someone lacking ore values themselves. I'm surely not qualified to make allegations of his regard, though, it seems to me, this is a situation where were 'cutting our noses, to spite ourselves.' I grew up in public schools, went to a public university, and never once did I think, or believe I'd missed opportunities, I could've had, had I elected, and pushed for a privately funded, elite education. Never once, have I regretted those decisions. I honestly do believe I, and anyone else can achieve whatever goals we may set for ourselves, in a certain frame of reference, of course. When I graduated from college, I planned to gain experience, and perspective, while deciding upon my professional path, and which graduate studies to go into. One doesn't exactly sign up for the debilitating, life-style changing experience of a brain injury, or any disability, for that matter. But, your success, upon meeting hardship, truly depends on your outlook, and how you choose to perceive it. Yes, I can consider myself a victim of a pharmaceutical companies mistake, but I'll be damned should I ever portray myself in that light. My perspective has vastly changed, over the course of my experiences, in the shoes I walk in now. I remember the medical community, retry definitively having the opinion, that my situation was relatively hopeless, given then the extent of the damage my brain had sustained. If I could say anything abut who I am, as an individual, I will say, that I, lie many others, am goal oriented/driven. Over he 10 years I've lived here in Vermont, I've slyly watched the majority of my fundamental goals, and dreams be extinguished. I went to UVM to complete my prerequisites for veterinary school. Turns out, I loved the cal atmosphere, and partied, and payed outdoors, slightly more than I hit the books. That's an expensive lesson to learn about yourself, when you find yourself partway through your Junior ear, without the motivation, or draw to study physics, and microbiology. My mind will always seize, if ever I hear a conversation regarding the calculation of moles, an elemental compound may posses. To this day, that holds true. I decided to explore my favorite childhood passion, of horses. Within a month, I'd left school, packed my bags, and, and moved to Chipping Sodbury, England to live/work/play on a competitive equestrian farm. I earned early in life, that if you take financial responsibility for yourself, then, no one can influence you into, r oh of your choices. I will always stand by my decision to leave school, and take the time to figure myself, and my goals out. The reason I'm detailing these lessons, from my re-injury life, is because I need to look ack, to what I earned then, to find my way now. I feel like I had a massive oversight, n regard o how if cult it actually is to emancipate youse from the intellectual slavery, that binds one into these programs perpetually. I've been told countless times how mart I am, since sustaining this injury.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Maine-iacs! (Homeward bound for the holiday of Thankfulness (and Turkey)

This year I had so many incredible experiences, and adventures, there was much to be thankful for! As Ive become increasingly more aware of my 'new-found' abilities, with each opportunity I have to push myself. I am so blessed to receive these amazing opportunities, for not only my physical involvement, but also emotional evolvement. This is a part of my world, I'm so rarely able to detail, well, because it terrifies me. Fr so long, my world was devoid of emotion outside of the extremes, beyond happy, excited, or angry, and freighted. Though mostly it's flat- line. The fact that I never cared, even if I knew t should really bothered me. I just couldn't process t, and wished expletives old calm down. On that note, I feel like our society in general, has taken the hysteria level of life, a notch too high.maybe, it's just the world I live in now, although, I see to notice it everywhere. So bizarre. And now, as my feelings have reappeared, and in full force , it's overwhelming. I'm nervous around everyone, and have zero confidence in myself. That, in itself is difficult right now. Now, I'm almost partial o my lack of ability to be self-conscious , nervous, or dejected. The past 5 years have held so much of each, from losing loved ones, termination of relationships, a parent fighting cancer. , to the other side with amazing family vacations, the weddings of close friends,attempting to return to working, opening the door to adaptive adventures. This year alone has brought me all over the country, to participate in my style of adventures, and for being given the gift of rediscovering my passion r outdoor recreation, I could not be more grateful!

Though, as is traditional of this holiday, the spotlight of gratitude should really highlight those closet to you. My parents, have contributed more time, energy, and money to my recovery, and continued happiness than any might ever imagine. It's funny, growing up, I was nearly estranged from my dad, as I became an adult, that changed, and our relationship became more solidified, he could not be more dedicated, always willing to help me with my ridiculous ideas to get back to enjoying the world. Because of the severity of my injury, I couldn't, and really still haven't processed how unbelievable my progress is from 5 years ago. I recently dug back through the blog, to my inpatient days. I remember some of Spaulding rehab. and all of Crotched Mountain rehab. But looking back onAt, I remember how nieve I was. You could not convince me he long, and intricate the rehab. process would be. Looking back, I'm glad I couldn't accept that, because I've learned that over time, the more you put into your life, and others, the more you receive back to you in return. This is an old realization, as in many people have realized this over the years, well before me. I know, the first time I heard that statement, I probably rolled my eyes, and continued rushing through whatever I'd been doing. I'm still in disbelief over how much we miss, simply because we're moving so quickly from one thing to another, without actually processing those changes, or how they may affect our lives. The good must always balance the bad. This year I have 2 lists, one of things I'm very thankful for, and another of things I'm OT thankful or, and want to change. Though, this post is celebrating appreciation, and thanks, so I'd like to focus on the first.

This year I'm thankful to have such a supportive family, because d be in my own little horror show, without their love, and support, I'm also tankful to have had the opportunity to have had the opportunity to attend the 'No Barriers' conference last year, and for all f the amazing connections I've made his year, from that event. Having the opportunity to Participate in outdoor recreation again, feeds my soul.

See, life s just all around better, when you focus on what makes you happy, not what doesn't,or inventing new ways to cover emotional grief. Just sayin' I feel better, about finding my path into a productive, independently sustained lifestyle. I still have 2 years left of being a certifiable twenty-something. I need to make he most of them, since I'ms lowly regaining my own values, and traits. Check, something else I'm I'm thankful for!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Practice Thanksgiving!

Every year one of my old college friends, Chris, holds an event, the weekend before Thanksgiving, aptly called Practice Thanksgiving. Originally, it was a big group of UVM Outing Club kids. Now it's a cohort of outdoorsy young professionals who gather to watch ski porn, and eat like gluttons. Oh right, also to be thankful for where our lives have brought us.

The family has vastly changed in the past 5 years, though still, all very caring, and supportive of each other. I have fun every year, but I found that this year was incredible, asI can finally appreciate all of the amazing people, and opportunities I have in my life. This has been an extremely difficult road for me to follow, but, when I get he opportunities o hang out with people who knew me before, and now after, it brings me out of the wasteland, my bored mind envisions myself in. I had a opportunity to do some networking with a couple from a local adaptive program! Catch up with friends I had no idea still lived in Burlington, and eat the mot heaping plate of food that has ever been placed before me. I have a difficult time allowing friends to serve me, but I'd been led to the front of the line, and didn't want to hold things up, so I allowed it. Amazing. Pretty sure I gained 5 pounds in one meal. I didn't leave the chair I ate in, until I left. We're not meant to consume so much, though, apparently, it's that time of year. I am ready for whatever we do at home now. My contribution, was Pumpkin Pie. I made one, and it looked terrible. Having been at a holiday bazarre earlier, I picked one up with a better appearance. I can now say, better taste too. I try to bake pies every fall, and they never turn out as well as I'd like. It all takes practice. The first one is never the best, but at least I have soto enjoy here. Yum!
Another staple of tactics thanksgiving is ski porn.. Every meal begins the same way, we all o around, and say some thing were thankful for, which is then followed by a ritualistic showing of 'hot dog'. I think I have the name wrong, but m not sure.
After the movie, music came on, and everyone got into conversation. At one point my, and everyone else's conversations ceased. I looked following my friends gaze. Another grabbed my arm, and said, "look". Some brave soul had brought there lid to the gathering, and he was rocking out, doing ancredible performance using my cane as a dance partner. Apparently, I view my cane incorrectly. It made my night to see how much thrill and enjoyment could be ha, with my 4 prong quad cane! Apparany, it's a fantastic dance partner. Who knew?He helped me see that, perhaps, I should feel less burdened by needing to carry a cane. Because, like anything, it all depends on how you approach the situation. And, another thing to be thankful for!

Sonetimes I feel very cynical of my Burlington life. As in its difficult to appreciate the wealth of resources I have at my fingertips here. Last night hiwever made allI JC those feelings disappear. I felt so fortunate to realize that my old view of the Queen City do still exist, I've just been lioking in the wrong places!

The photo below is our host Chris, surveying the feast of practice Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thriller of a Thursday

Thursdays are traditionally my one, busy days of the week. i have the assistance of an awesome young woman, Hillary, for 8 hours. As time has passed we've become good friends. Thursdays are our epic yoga days, and we begin with an 8am class, and end with a 530 class. in between, i sandwich in most of my weekly appointments, from psychologist to voice coach, and occupational therapy. I hit hard this week, with yoga, voice, PT, and the psychologist, and more yoga. He keeps me running. This is my Amorites kind of day. I don't appreciate empty, unplanned time, yet I'm a terrible planner. Go figure. We kicked you know what, all day long, I am so thankful to have someone so high energy helping me get things one. Government funded programs could be so much more successful. I plan my days like that because I know she is able to keep me on track with all the details. I'm getting to learn to plan a head or my day, but far from perfect, so, I'll remember my sneakers or PT, as its on my mind, but forget my folder for voice, and as we leave she'll give me a verbal checklist of the things I need for each activity. Finding, I didn't remember my voice folder, back we go. At last, we made it o yoga, got our zen mindset, and binge ate breakfast, at the Chubby Muffin. Yum. I look forward to a banana chocolate chip muffin every Thursday now. AMAZING! By the time we got to power yoga at 5, I was rabid with hunger again. The instructor in this class s great, but the class moves too fast for me, so, I'm always 4 or 5 moves behind, awkwardly bending myself in ways tat never feel correct, or good, for that matter. The more classes I so, the more I want to become a certified instructor for challenged individuals. Falling over is part of my daily life now, and believe, that because of the yoga I've been able o practice since my injury, it's enabled my joints to remain fluid, as well as helped to promote strength in a more natural way. We all lose touch with the fact that we re all living organisms on this planet, and just take so many fundamental things for granted, because its all become so easy now a days. Having his injury has given me an entirely different lease on life, I'm just so happy now that I'm learning to appreciate it!

You thought I was done, didn't you? You should be so lucky! My adventures continue, as a friend from my favorite gear store had invited me to a house concert they were putting on. never one to pass up a chance to see live music, i immediately accepted. soo Amazing! At home, that evening, I realized I'd confused my Thursday eve. Plans, and the house concert I wanted to go to, was also a pot luck. Yikes, that meant cooking in a small amount of time. My housemate suggested a bean dish, as it was easy, and quick. Fantastic. It was done by the time, my friend Zetty picked me up. A band called Rusty Bell was playing in their living room, and the house was packed with people, some of whom, I knew, and others I didn't. Apparently no one realized the band, had a rather large following, and the place was crazy. I loved it. This was my kind of evening, great music, wonderful, encouraging friends. It was the kind of group, where I felt comfortable asking anyone for a hand. Even though we were packed in like sardines, I never thought about people getting out of hand, or getting trampled. It was such a calm, but joyous gathering. I feel like I've been emotionally trained, since my injury, to automatically expect the worst outcome, at events, but I find the more I go out, and socialize, nothing scary ever happens, I just realize over, and over what a cynic I've become, and how amazing this community is! . I just can't get over how welcoming/ helpful everyone was, now that I'm learning to come out of my shell again. What a great day!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Whelp! It's Election Day!

I hope everyone completed thee civic duties for the season. I had the opportunity to learn we can vote at the town office, at least a month prior to Election Day. Excellent! I didn't ever change my voting district when I moved, therefore, I knew I'd be stranded without a way to the polls. So, I took the advice to vote early. Sincerely wish I'd known this opportunity was available 4 years ago. It took me soo long to cast my ballot, as I was just regaining my ability to process the written word visually. This time, there were no lines, just an empty room, and me, my pen, and ballot. I even received the congratulatory sticker proclaiming my participation in American Civics. That has probably been the most entertaining thing about Facebook today,?is realizing I'm not the only one who still gets excitement from receiving a sticker! It's like vindication we did something good. Which, we did!
I feel like its easy to get caught up in the media frenzy surrounding politics. Although, I personally have been relatively immune to it this year. Not having cable, has done wonders for my abilities to relearn to consider my surroundings. I really mussed it last winter, when I made that choice, but after being exposed to it, in my travels recently, it seems SO over dramatized, and well, treacherous. I'm not exceedingly unhappy in the world I live in, unless I watch tv, and realize a lot of what I've missed in the last5 years. I'm not saying I'm against tv, but I will say, I think we'd be lot better off, as a race without it, because it shows you what you're missing, or even portrays entirely negative mind sets. More or less, I'll say it's a real catch 22, because I do know that the ability to stay current on civic duties, and outcomes, is entirely necessary . However, the extremes of political villainy, I was exposed to, made me very uncomfortable. What on Earth would make me want to trust someone as a leader, when their campaign is based on back-stabbing other candidate. Nothing says, 'trust me ' like an ad porting the opposing parties downfalls. News flash, it might be helpful to point out your own merits, and qualifications as a leader, before yo deconstruct the current one. Obviously, I'm late, on raising these issues, but I already feel relieved, as there are only 2 hours left of being subjected to torture of this kind.

As Americans, we are exceedingly fortunate to live in a country where we all can have the opportunity to select our preferences. It wounds me, to meet, or hear others say , that it doesn't matter. If we all had that opinion, no one would even make it into office. This country is founded on freedom, fundamentally. There isn't a day that has gone by in the last few years, where I haven't felt like a slave, or rather a mouse stuck on a wheel. For me right now,, Election Day, is a concept I fervently hold onto, because it enables me to believe that I can make a difference towards my personal economic situation presently. As with my brain injury, nothing happens overnight. No matter what today's outcome, our political system is an ingeniously designed system of checks and balances. Looking back on my decisions, I feel ashamed for not sticking to my own ideals, and following my own voice. This year, it was a race between the lesser of 2 Elvis, and I felt an enormous amount of pressure to conform, and vote Democratic. It's such a difficult choice to make, as I always prefer to vote Independent, well, almost always. I was pretty excited to see Obama come into office, in 2004. I agree with much of the country, that it doesn't feel likes he's accomplished much in the last 4 years. Although, that said, CHANGE is I a big job, and 4 years is a short amount of time to dig a nation out of the size hole we were in. I don't actually know where we're at today, other than its a much smaller number. It's my opinion that this country needs a new foundation. Economically, we need a fresh start. Knowing that will never happen, I can't help but feel hopeless, as no one seems to have proposed a plan to repair the fundamental flaws in our nations framework. Trying to figure things out for myself, is hard enough, I can't imagine the pressure of supporting an entire country. Oh America...

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Marine Corps Marathon 10k and Hurricane Sandy w/ Push America

Where do I even begin? AMAZING! I never quite know what to expect from these events. I participate in them for so many reasons, and even though this event is so short, I thought it could be a really great way to finish my running season! Here's to getting my run on in Washington DC. And so the story goes...

I was fortunate enough to have my roommate Sarah help me get to the airport, and deal with security. It was shockingly simple getting through. I don't think I've ever gotten through so quickly, and easily. It also helped that there were only about 4 other people in line. Burlington is the perfect size airport. Only one terminal, and limited gates. I'm a fan, as its more of an approachable situation for me. I flew US Airways, as they were the cheapest ticket, I could find, and also since I'd had a good experience with them previously. I can't tell you how happy I was to fly with them. I'm sure this was a once in a lifetime situation, but the attendants seated me in first class. I've never had the opportunity to sit in the front of the plane before, nor could I understand why anyone would pay so much more for a slightly larger seat, and hot coffee, or mixed drinks. I was slightly caught off guard, being offered a Bloody Mary at 6 am. To each their own I suppose, To each their own, but coffee suited my tastes, at that hour. Call me weird, but vodka before breakfast isn't a manageable task for my stomach. Plus, I was already appreciative enough to have a nice, comfortable seat.
Back in the day, I would've been psyched to have had the opportunity to be off the plane ASAP. However, I am so slow now, I can't, in good conscious, deplane before others, for fear of getting trampled. I waited, and got off last, where a staff person was kind enough to walk me towards the exit. I was so happy to not be forced into a wheel chair. Plus, it's a great way to meet people. It's funny to hear local stories, as you arrive in a new destination. As we walked, I heard my name, and started looking everywhere. The man who had my arm, asked me if I knew the guy waving his arms, over there. Over there is the least helpful direction, anyone can give me, since I don't know where to look. It only takes a few seconds to figure out where to look, though it always feels like minutes. I realize these are small amounts of time, but for the number of thoughts I have in a confusing situation, I perceive it differently. It's a very different reality for me now, as its always changing, and I so often need to rely on help from others. It is always a huge relief for me now, when I see someone I actually know. The US Airways staff person handed my bag to Kyle, the program director for Push America, and we made our way out of the airport. Challenge 1, complete!

I didn't get much done Saturday. Other members of the Push America team trickled in, as the day passed. I napped, watched tv, and assured my family I'd survived the flight. That afternoon I got up, and tried to find the others. Alas, no one was around, so, I sat down in the hotel restaurant, and ate a burger. Just sayin' there are far better burgers to be had, than those at a Holiday Inn. Some kind of unidentifiable meat product in a patty. I've lived in Vermont so long, I've become more of a localvore. More, just food conscious. Though, yikes I've never had a burger from a non fast food joint I wouldn't finish. Thankfully, dinner was in the near future. I tried to help get ready for the dinner, by arranging shirts, and various items bearing 'Push America' on them, on a table. I doubt I was actually as helpful, as they made me feel I was. I was just happy to have something to do. Then, I went back upstairs to my room to get something, and fell asleep(again). I missed half of dinner, which I wasn't happy about, but, at least I didn't miss the promotional video, that had some scenes from our summer trip. After, Lonnie, one of the blind fellows from the kayak trip, last July, stood up to tell his story, and speak about some of the amazing work that Push does.

One of my favorite things about participating in these events, or trips, is learning how others deal with, and overcome barriers, life puts forth for them. I definitely geared up, listening to Lonnie's story, about his 5 year old daughter, encouraging him to get back into his life on his farm, and being his vision, while he mowed the fields. It was really is amazing what people can accomplish,, when they work together.

After dinner, I retired, again, to be up at 430,again. We all met in the lobby, the next morning, to get transportation to the start points. The 10k began outside the Pentagon. It was a definite experience, seeing daybreak over the Pentagon, a pretty unique start to my day. I ran with 2 of the guys I'd met over the summer on the kayaking trip. Jake and Eli. They were fantastic running companions! Very high spirits the entire 6.2 miles. We were very fortunate to not run into any problems during our 6 mile jog. Eli helped keep me in the know, by answering my idiotic questions about words I don't know from today's pop culture. Also had some pretty entertaining stories to boot.. Jake has a thick English accent, which I loved listening to. Always reminds me of the good, old days! It's so wonderful for me, participating in these events, because I forget to feel like a weirdo, pushing an empty baby jogger, for, seemingly no reason. I'm not usually self conscious about my differing abilities in races, it's the training that gets me. That's when I seem to have the more perplexing experiences. Eli, Jake, and I trundled along in high spirits, occasionally playing tag with Lonnie, and his guide. Each time we neared him, he'd shout about how gorgeous I looked. The man definitely knows how to make a gal feel good. I admit, I laugh, each time he praises my looks. To me, anyways, running has never been an interetest of mine because I look good doing it. I am a ridiculous runner. In high school, I'd be ducking Into the woods, to puke, and then get back on track. That was a fun reputation to have. Everyone wants to cheer for the girl who puked all over herself. Alas, times have changed, and I've had to adapt myself to my ever changing difficulties, but as I've grown, and so have others. So here I am today, running in my biggest race to date, with 2 amazing fellows by my side!

We trundled in, 5 minutes faster than I did the Beach to Beacon 10k last year. That felt awesome, to realize I am improving, even though I don't realize it. I am so thankful to have had Eli and Jake by my side. Running isn't easy for anyone, but their high spirits, and laughable demeanors , made the race a lot of fun. The crowds towards the finish line were enormous. Much like at the Maine Marathon, but we were still straggling in from the 10k, and the crowds were already thick! I thought I heard my name being yelled, as went by, but I couldn't imagine anyone I knew was there. I just found out today, a friend from my UVM rugby days , and outing club events every now and then, was there with the Walter Reid hospital crew supporting their team, and saw me. How awesome is that? I wish we'd gotten a chance to talk, but it was still an amazing moment, as we all finished! Eli completed his first ever running event , which was awesome! I never learned if Jakevran or not, but they were great to run with! I was psyched to not have taken a spill, nor get run-over by a herd of runners, at any point, always a plus! A huge thank you to everyone who helped make this race possible! I could go on, and on about what an amazing event this is!

After receiving our medals, we trudged back and forth, in search our tent. Finding anything amongst massive numbers of people milling about, is impossible. After almost an hour, we eventually found the Push tent. It was relatively empty, but the pizza was already there, so we all helped ourselves. It's funny, last spring, when I ran as a bandit in Vermont City Marathon, the idea of eating pizza, after running, was almost an undoable concept for me. After the Maine half, I don't think I've ever been so happy to see a pizza in my life. Same here. Having something warm and greasy to eat is the most satisfying thing ever! As it cools off, having warm food available after a run is beyond rewarding. A couple of hours passed, and one of the hand cyclists, Sherri, finished, though there was no sign of others. A couple of the able bodied runners trickled in as well, but, we all were concerned , as more than half the team was still out there, including one of the hand cyclists, Kristen. I was freezing, after multiple hour sitting in my sweaty running clothes, and it was clear I wasn't alone. Around 3, a group of us decided to make our way back to the hotel. It was more like another 10k. My plan was to just follow the group, to the buses. We never found the buses. Once it became clear no one knew where to go, a cab was called. Pretty ridiculous, I fit right in. On the ride back we got updates on the rest of the team. One of the hand cyclists, Kristin, my roommate at the hotel, had been involved in a nasty spill , due to an inattentive runner. Her hand cycle had been damaged, which posed a problem for her finishing. If I recall correctly, she rode to mile 23 or 24 before her bike made it unable for her to continue. She did make to the finish though, despite all the trouble! Way to persevere!
I returned, and immediately took a hot shower to warm up. When I left
the room again, I tracked down a couple other folks to find out the plan. Kristen had returned by then, so I got all the details of her race experience. What happened to her was outrageous, as it seemed a runner had been warned she was passing, and had crossed into her path anyways. They'd both gone down, but he got up , and carried on apparently. I apologize if I'm missing details, or have incorrect information, this what I heard. The worst of it, in my opinion, was that she'd broken her helmet, from landing on her head. That's what helmets are designed to do, but it means you took a high impact fall. Because, I now live in the brain injury world, and am constantly exposed to hyper activity, about bumping your head , I was a little keyed up, until I'd talked to her, and it was pretty clear she'd be okay. I hate it when people get hyper about falls I take, so, I didn't want up act the same way, but, in that moment, I realized how hard it can be to tone yourself down. She was fine, just a little banged up. As the night pressed on, Hurricane Sandy became the next issue of concern, as we began to receive notice of cancelled flights. I was among the last to receive notice, receiving an email after dinner. Knowing this meant I'd either get a couple more days in DC, or to return to Charlotte, NC with Kyle, and the other Push staff, I wasn't bothered in the slightest.

I ended up going down to Charlotte, with Kyle and Dave. Throwing random people in vehicle can be a great way to get to know new people. most of the drive, we played an intriguing road trip card game, "Would you rather?' It's a set of cards, each with a question that gives you 2 choices. It's a great way to learn about people you don't know all that well, because you all end up defending your answers, if they differ. The hours passed so quickly, and as we pulled in to get dinner, my phone rang. I tried to convince them not to wait for me to catch up with my friend, but nope, they patently sat, and waited for me. I felt badly, as we were all hungry, but that's where it stood. They were either profoundly patient, or, as it occurred to me later, because I'm a liability, as a participant. Excellent.

I can't for the life of me, recall, the name of the fast food Mexican inspired place we ate. Reminded me of Moe's, minus the whole 'WELCOME TO MOE'S part.

We got back around 10, it was a much longer drive than I'd realized. A a bit surreal driving through Virginia, and seeing all of the snow. It wasn't a light dusting either. And, back to rain, the further south we got.
Looking back, I feel ridiculous writing that I fled from the storm, by going further south. Not everything I do makes sense, but it seemed like a good idea at the time, and worked out well! I've never spent a profound amount of time in NC, so I looked at it as an unplanned adventure.

I didn't really have much, in terms of pressing obligations this week, I cancelled the appointments in my calendar before Thursday. This was difficult, as originally, as I had no idea when I'd get home. My return flight, was booked for Wednesday afternoon, so I thought I'd be okay with canceling everything through Wednesday. Apparently, I failed to get ahold of my voice coach know. I called on Monday, but received a call on my trip home, from them, wondering where I was.

Tuesday morning, I awoke ridiculously early, alarmed at my surroundings. It was around 4 am, and I didn't know where I was. That was terrifying for a few seconds, until my mind kicked in, and I realized I was in North Carolina, staying with the program leader. Chivalry is something I always saw in movies, and, ever so rarely encountered first-hand. Giving your guest your room, and sleeping on the couch, was a concept I couldn't wrap my head around. Maybe that's just me, but I didn't go down there to feel like an inconvenience for them. That was really hard for me to accept. don't know that I've ever woken up, and not known where I was. It was also confusing, because I woke up in a guys room. This is the weirder part of my brain injury for me , my ability to recognize my surroundings doesn't come automatically like it used to. I sat straight up, and my first thoughts were, 'Oh my god, where am I, and what did I do? Wait that's not right, but I still don't know where I am. Where the hell am am I right now?' As soon as I chilled out, I realized where I was, and that I was fine, although, profoundly ridiculous, and went back to sleep. Chivalry is a COMPLETELY foreign concept to me, as its nor all that prevalent in the northeast, nor in my present economic tier. It's an adjustment, either way. Yikes, i scare myself sometimes. got up a couple hours later to swap smoothie making tricks. It seems pretty straight forward, but I think we each learned something new, and that was cool. Then he left for work, and I hung out with the wall size tv, on overload of storm coverage, and political dramatization. I don't have cable in my apartment anymore, which I actually appreciate. Now. It was an adjustment at first, but now it's an adjustment, whenever I'm around it. At first, I'm glued to it, wide eyed, and then an hour passes, and I remember why I don't want it. The drama. I can't realistically imagine what a better country we'd live in, if people weren't exposed to all of that hype everyday. But, that's just my opinion. Obviously, it's a fun, normal thing to have in your life, I just felt shell-shocked, as I'm not used to it anymore. Im actually psyched right now, that I don't have it, because I find the political villainy so disturbing. Seeing some of the ads, and the shameless backstabbing makes me ashamed to identify as an
American. When I was little, I thought I lived in the greatest country in the world. Now, seeing how we treat each-other, and the image pop culture creates, I'm not so proud. Yes, that's why I don't have cable, so I don't blog about my distaste for how my country is portrayed. When did I become such a stick in the mud?

Anyways, I was rescued from my tv treachery around noon, when Kyle, and Sam (if my memory serves me) showed up. We all went to lunch, at a place that is known for grilled cheese sandwiches. Naturally, I didn't realize there were also cold sandwiches on the menu, so mine wasn't what I'd imagined, but still good. I'm not a huge fan of eating out with people I'm not super close with, because I eat so slowly,and because I inevitably find myself wearing part of my meal later in the day. It's just weird to always be explaining to people that I'm a slob, and I eat very slowly. Oh well, a lot of me knows that these are my perceptions at this point, but I'm still finding myself conscious of it now. I don't even know where it comes from, as no ones ever said anything specifically.
After lunch, I got to check out the Charlotte YMCA, which was awesome. Always need to be moving, so, I was overjoyed to have the opportunity to get to the gym. I kept myself busy for a couple of hours, before Kyle appeared again. He had talked the day before about showing me National white water rapid training center. That's the gist of the name, but I didn't have a clue, that a place like this existed. Sadly, the water wasn't running, but the park, and all it's toys was a lot of fun to learn about. Without water, it appears as cement canals , with ledges, and boulders. Still, I was sure its pretty epic, when the water is running. A group came in to use the zip line, which was a bit distracting, seeing people fly by above my head. I forgot that I have a hard time maintaining my balance when I look straight up, and found myself in a heap on the ground. So smooth.
It was great to just have a chance to spend a little time outside, in the adventure park, and in good company. As much asI wished the water was running, it was phenomenal to check out the park, and learn about a new area.
From there, it was time for taco Tuesday. I found myself at this awesome little Mexican cantina, where each taco was a dollar. My kind of place! Also, an interesting slice of life, as I was the only gal, at a table with 4 dudes, which has always suited me. I seemed to develop an affinity for the sports and activities, that had a lot more guys. In the healthcare world, it's just the opposite. It's not like there are no men, but women are much more prevalent. That was something I never actually realized about myself. I was, and still am into outdoor recreation, but I never realized how much less pressure I feel, to adhere to social norms around dudes. Yep, I'm nuts , chock full. Its because I have a brain injury...Funny how how getting out of my usual surroundings always teaches me so much about myself, that I wouldn't otherwise realize. And now, y'all get to read my realizations, obvious, or not so.
There was so much packed into Tuesday, I was exhausted. Wednesday, I had a flight home in the afternoon, with a layover in DC. I asked Kyle to help me get through security . It's really time consuming, and confusing for me to deal with where to go, and keep track of all of the small items, I so easily misplace. I felt so fortunate to have the help, in that situation, which was funny to me, as I so often resent it. I definitely, would have more trouble than I would ever be willing to anticipate. Leaving, I was sad, my short, unplanned vacation from my Vermont life was over, or so I thought. I thanked Kyle for 543rd time, and left the friendly, and ever-so-chivalrous south. Such a different world!

It was bittersweet leaving, as I'd just gotten there, and met so many amazing people. It was great learning about a new area, and going on new adventures. i so easily forget theres a whole world, waiting to be explored! i said thank you for the 473rd time, and headed off to the plane. A fellow passenger helped me find my way to next gate. so Kind. figuring out shuttle buse scedules and maps is somewhat beyond me, so that was wicked helpful. Iwent to board my Burlington flight, and it gets to boarding time, and they delay it. When it came time to board again, they announce it's cancellation. At first it's like, freak out, what are we supposed to do? But, I didn't really want to put all that energy into it, so I got out of the endless line I was in, and got involved in a texting frenzy. What I don't remember about group messaging, is that everyone receives every message sent, which in my opinion is unforgivably annoying, because you find 15 messages that don't pertain to you. I was extremely happy when I got a message that my aunt had rebooked me, for the next morning. Now I had to set about finding a place to stay. I reached out to a couple of friends from UVM, that I knew lived in the area. This would never have worked out, if we'd planned it, but luckily my friend Tim was available to come pick me up, after work. We were in many of the same sciences courses, back in the day. He however, prevailed in that course of study, whereas I abandoned it, halfway through, in favor of writing, and communications... And horses. I don't really realize how much time has passed until I have the opportunity to catch up with old college friends. Tim moved to DC to complete his medical residency. That means he's completed med school, in the time I've relearned to live an adult life. Maybe? I'm so happy for him, and his accomplishments, but I can't say it's not sobering for me to realize this. I'm genuinely thrilled we had the opportunity to catch up, as every experience I have with friends from my old life, also helps me realize more about who I am, and that I do actually have something to offer the world. What a concept! I so easily to forget that, when my TBI program consistently focuses on my weaknesses, and failures. I've been fortunate to work with some positively minded souls, over the years, but, it's the set up of the program itself, more so, than the individuals running the programs. I'm a number, out an output. This world is black or white, pass or fail, there is no room for grey area. I imagine that is why it seems so callous. Needless to say, its not the greatest design, but the more people become aware of the burdens, and hardships caused, the more likely they are to change!
I'm still in shock over how desensitized I've become, in my own little world. I felt like I must've said 'thank you' every other sentence, to everyone. I love going new places, where its not super awkward trying to start a conversation with people I'm less, or unfamiliar with.. Flying back to VT seemed surreal, since The time flew by. My TBI program is always telling me to let go of what I used to be. At this stage in my little world of redevelopment, I couldn't be happier, I've been able to hold onto my values, and beliefs, because they, along with a ridiculously amazing friends, family, and acquaintances have led me to the progress I've made since incurring this injury! These trips take me out of my little box, and are slowly helping me piece my world back together. For that, I'm so thankful, good thing it's November!

I hope you all learned som things from this post, I know I did!

Love,
Courtney


Monday, October 22, 2012

Deep, dark depths...

Sometimes I wonder if my focus on running is a metaphor for my life. I tremendously unhappy with certain aspects of my life presently, but, through all the bad turns, the moment I step outside, and start pushing that ridiculous jogger, I feel better. I know it helps me mentally work through the days missteps, and also helps me to reconnect neuronal pathways for balance, and, hopefully, agility. I dream that one day I won't need to use a jogger for balance, and that ill be able to elongate my stride, and pick up my pace. Yep, that will be the day.

The consensus seems to be presently, that I move from event, as a method of fleeing from government funded disaster of a rehab program. I really didn't agree with that allegation, but now, as I face my last event of the year, I wonder if I somehow, have misguided myself, into a frenzied, action oriented life style, once again, .. because that's my true nature, or because it takes me out of the demeaning, negative lifestyle, I'm currently up to my eyeballs in. I live between a rock, and a hard place currently. Mentally, I just want to leap off, and hit the ground running! Physically, we all know I'm not there yet, but, I can say, I get closer everyday, even if it doesn't feel that way.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Gloomy, yet, fun fall days

I feel a need to sum up my week in general today. I've been been a little down recently. A little bit of everything really. It's like I woke up one morning, and realized how very different my life is now, from anything I'd ever planned for. It's not as though I feel like things are hopeless, it's more like re-learning to put life in perspective. I still can't decide exactly where I want to go from here, but, my plan is to go ahead, jump right in, and figure things out along the way, as we all do. We all. Face our own sets of challenges each day. Therefor, who am I to whine about my brain injury, and all of the ridiculous situations I find myself in, because of. It's as though I've been slated to return to elementary school in my 20's, yet gotten kicked out, and had to eek out an existence that I, nor others understand. Anyways, that said, I know I'm still trudging forward, despite the sinking fear I will be stuck on government programs forever. I'm convinced, this environment and rigid programming, us responsible for the insipid numbers of ever increasing social disorders in this country. This Is so not what I intended for tonight's topic to be. Although, now I'm curios if there are case studies involving this type of hypothesis. Can you tell I studied sciences in college? Anyways, I'm just reaching what feels like a mental tipping point, in regards to what I'll tolerate. Apparently, not much at the moment, but that's a huge leap from the past few years, where it rarely occured to me to change a situation I didn't care for. I also have a hard time, the more I become aware of how fortunate I am, to not only have the abilities, and mobility I do today, when 5 years ago, we were all told there wasn't any hope that I'd regain much of anything. I got out easy, in those days, as I don't actually recall much of it, I can just read the blog, from those days. That's actually been so helpful Fo me, as I progress, to maintain awareness and insight about the ever so long journey I've been on. Last week, I genuinely felt crushed, by life, in general here. I felt bad for myself, and was consistently upset with each piece of my life. Over the weekend, I worked out, running, spinning, and attempting yoga. Monday, I cleaned my living space, tried to regain focus, practiced my tongue twisters, from a new vocal teacher I've sought out. Not a therapist, but a teacher, of annunciation, and diction. I really need help in this area, and am hopeful working with someone trained, only for the modification the sound, and volume, at least, in my case, will be the ticket. I then, ran 4 miles , and brought banana bread I'd made to a pot luck. Tuesday, was a little back slide, I still ran, and did all of un done house chores, that take me unreasonable amounts of time, such as laundry, and cat box replacement. I could not detest the task of laundry any more than I do, because it is so time consuming, to wash, dry, sort and put away clothes. Takes upwards of 4 hours for me. But, I did it, all in one go. My reward to myself, was to go for a run. You, probably think that's weird, but, running gets rid if the negative energy I don't want to carry around.
That evening, I attended a mini-gala at CHIPS, where I interned last year. I've decided to become a board member there, and was able to attend my first board meeting. As well, as have a conversation about job openings within the office. It was a remarkable night, for me, to once again understand, and relive the meanings if compassion, rand respect. They are so fortunate, as a community to have staff members who go the extra mile to complete all projects to appropriate standards, and beyond. Wednesday, I already detailed for you, about the anti-gravity treadmill, and my vocal training, and of course more running. Thursday, Hillary and I got back on track with our yoga classes, to begin, and end the day. In between, I did some of my typical idiotic moves, such as trying to scale a grassy, though vertical hill. Looking back, I could've exercised better judgement in trying to do that. I look at physical challenges very simply. You don't know what you can do, until you try. I ever so gracefully ascended 2 steps, only to loose my footing, and land in a heap. Here's hoping no one saw that ridiculous try. It's funny writing about the ridiculous things I try to see if I can do. Only now does it occur to me, that to an unknowing observer, I must appear, well, crazy... Though I probably have already thought that for quite a while...
The reason for that stroll I just detailed, was to harass a local non-profit, Local Motion, about potential opportunities to partner with local adaptive organizations, to increase awareness, and get more people, of every ability, out and moving. They were very receptive, and I look forward to potentially helping them put together an event.
That brings me to today, Friday. Dressed to run, yet never actually made myself get out there. Our fall this year, is more reminiscent of a typical NE spring. Cold, and rainy... I had no desire to subject myself to the elements. Instead, I had a slow morning, before getting a ride to a local rock gym, Petra Cliffs. Back in the day, 2007, I shared an apartment with some college friends. It was a duplex, and the couple in the other apartment ran Petra Cliffs. Having that connection made approaching them so much easier for me. I already knew they were warm, friendly souls, and was optimistic they'd be interested in putting an adaptive event together. The meeting went so well, and Andrea immediately reached out to her adaptive contacts, so that we might all be able to partner, and hopefully reach a larger volume of people! Andrea, if you read this, you hung-go willingness to help me pull off an all inclusive adaptive event made my week, and I got to test run on a zero G treadmill this week, so, it was a pretty great week already!
After Petra,the 'dream team was reunited, yep, Hillary and I, and we grabbed lunch, before I had my 1st meeting with a new psychologist. This gas been a part of my rehab. program, I rarely want to detail for several reasons. I had a different one, up until last spring, when I threw in the towel, since I never felt I gained anything from those meetings. I finally pulled the trigger, and met with a new one today. I've only spent an hour there, although the difference in my ability to feel comfortable sharing who I am, was dramatic. I even made it through my whole story without tearing up, which I don't know that I've ever done. Such a dramatic difference, I'm beyond mystified as to why people with the same job title can impact your psyche so differently. Unbelievable. Leaving, I didn't have a definitive plan, but, was so relieved to find a message saying a jogger had been located for me to use in DC next weekend, at the Marine Corps Marathon 10K, next weekend. Such a relief, because I was having difficulty locating one, among friends in that area. Relief!
We ended the day, and week, by celebrating fall, and making my annual fall trip to Adams Farm Market in Williston. They make apple cider slushies that are beyond amazing, in my book! Writing that, I crave another...

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Space-Age Technology!!

Well, today was a first. I had an opportunity to check out what's called an Alter-G treadmill. Treadmills are normally the most nerve-racking piece of exercise equipment out there, in my world. You can only fly off them so many times, before you decide, perhaps that's not the tool for me. My gait is pretty erratic, and I'll easily clip an edge, and land in a confused, shocked, and disoriented heap. Yep, Queen of grace, that is me.

The allure of this particular treadmill, however, is that you are literally zipped into it. I got to wear some neoprene shorts, that are zipped into a hoop around me, and, securely fastened to the treadmill, itself. I realize, you, as the reader probably find the idea of being zipped into a treadmill, somewhat terrifying. But, the reason for this , is to enable the machine to lift you out of some of your weight. Like, an anti gravity treadmill. I imagine this technology is designed for professional athletes, to bounce back from injuries more effectively. I was thrilled to try it, to see if it could assist me in reestablishing a more normal gait pattern. Today, however, was not my day for relearning to run on a treadmill. I was on the machine for around an hour. I fell not once, not twice, but 3 times. But I hurt myself zero times!

One the very most frustrating things about this injury for me, is that I remember how to move, mentally, in every situation, yet, I'm not able to tell my body how to react, or move. I know, it's amazing I've been fortunate enough to regain the mobility I do have, and that it still seems to be improving, which I'm beyond thankful for the strides I'm making. Still, it doesn't make it easier to rationalize spending limited resources on super awesome, fancy pants technology, if I can't pick it up right away. Alas, no-one knows better than themselves, as to their physical and mental capabilities. It's just like using the jogger, somedays, are great, others, a disaster waiting to happen. Story of my life, really. The swat pants my friend screen printed SLOTH, on for me, in high school, could not be more appropriate now. Good thing, I still have them!

Even though, I couldn't get it today, there's always another day, and always the hope that a treadmill can help with training through the cold, snowy winters, as well, as in general. Looks like I've found yet another work-in-progress. Oh boy!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Dear US government/state of Vermont government programming,

I HATE YOU!!! I don't mean to sound unappreciative for the assistance you've given me over the years, but here I am 5 years later, an angry, emotional wreck, because I put my heart and soul, everything I have, into my rehab. program, and what do I have to show for it? Dozens of Medicaid treatment denial letters, a job 10 hours a week that actually makes me regret having taken it in the first place, and a list of roommates/live in aids longer than the list of guys I've dated in my lifetime. What am I to do? I graduated from college, only to spend the next 5 yrs fighting tooth and nail, to regain a life that I can identify with. I just don't understand why for every step forward, I fall back 4 miles, in some other regard. For those of you who question my motivation to run> I run because the repetitive aerobic motion allows me to rid myself of the angst, negativity, poorly planned and implemented systems I accepted as part of my rehab. program. I changes my mindset completely, and I look forward to every day I'm able to run. Also, because there was a time, not very long ago, when I couldn't imagine heading out the door to go for a run. When I fall into a miserable funk, I can put on my shoes, grab my ridiculous baby-less jogger, and go! Such a release!

I'm at wits end, I clearly cannot succeed the way you'd like me to, nor can I succeed the way I'd like to. I suppose it's time to put my sneakers on...

Saturday, October 6, 2012

I'll tell you what I did today...

All week, or, more correctly, all summer, I've been swapping emails about volunteering/ helping out at the kids rehab gym. More aptly , I keep forgetting to respond to inquiries, and they get lost in the overwhelming number of spam messages I get. But, that's all beside the point, I finally was able to connect with and check out the organization. Unlike the rehab gym, kids is a non-profit group, and seem to have too much to do, in too little time.
We started talking in June, and summer came, and my thoughts were elsewhere.
Today, I was able to go in, and meet the PT I'd been in touch with, as well as get to know the space in general. So cute to see teeny size treadmills, stationary bikes, even walkers. I think those were actually gait trainers. It was well, pretty fun to see what they do. Having been through, and/or used much of the equipment, it was pretty cool to really go and see what a lot of it was. I must've sounded like a cracker-jack, since every time she told me the name of a piece of equipment, I'd respond, "oh, that's what that looks like." I forget that the world doesn't understand that I was once fully blind, and now, thankfully not so.
It was an extremely interesting/ awakening way to volunteer some time. Also, for once, a productive morning. It's a vey rare day, I am showered, well dressed, and have eaten before 9. It's a good feeling, to know that I can do it though. I think I have a lot of self doubt, primarily from my rehab team. It's like anything else, they all have good and bad, or unhelpful qualities. What sticks with me the most, is when I'm told, I cannot do something because of how my injury has affected me. But that's also my biggest motivation, to get up, and amaze myself, and whomever else, with all the ground I'm covering, because 5 years ago, no one knew what the future held, in terms of my survival. I guess, it just comes down to the fact that I've worked this hard to get to where I am today, yet I can't get some people to slow down enough to consider how I could fit into their business or organization, All I know right now, is that I need to find a way to support myself, and my aspirations before I drown in red tape and pointless beauracracy. I realize we are very fortunate in this country, to have the freedoms we do, but if you're poor in the good oleUS of A, freedom seems like a pretty foreign idea.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Maine Marathon (1/2)!

What an extraordinary event! This is a Boston qualifying race, which makes it a pretty big deal in the NE running world. I absolutely had no idea regarding its size and standing. There were 3500 runners in Portland, ME yesterday, and it was such an incredible honor to be among them!

Every time I return home, I'm reminded how fortunate I am to have such an amazing group of close HS friends! We stayed with Val, who just thought of everything, and was incredibly helpful for me, as well as my dad. She just goes above and beyond for my family, and I. She also is the only friend I have with an ability to make me chill out, when I'm being a high strung nut case. My Dad and I both get wound up and hyper with each-other in high stress situations. Races are stressful for us both, and we often squabble over useless things. This race experience was a land mark experience for us both in that sense. My dad invited his friend to run with us also. This was a fantastic idea, because it gives him someone to talk to, and enjoy the goings on in race. Running takes a lot more mental focus for me than for others. Therefore, I'm not that fun for people to run, as support for me. I love having the company and support, but am easily agitated as I begin to tire. It was great to rub along listening to their critiques of other runners.

We ran the first 3 or 4 miles, at daybreak, which was spectacular seeing the sunrise in early morning light. It was also a drizzly cloud cover, which brought spectacular colors. I wanted to start the run at 6, so I could finish nearer to the time that others did as well. The race officially began at 8, and most of the elite marathoners finished before I did. It was amazing to watch their stride, and marvel at their speed. It's incredible as I gain more awareness and appreciation for how different we all are. When I run, I can barely lift my foot off the ground, unless I'm specifically focusing all of my thought, and mobility on running in that stride. It's also a matter of strength, once hit 11 miles, I feel I need the jogger to keep me upright, like I'd collapse without it. I know I wouldn't, because the jogger would flip if I actually leaned on it for support like that. I know I need to train more for these events, because I hit a wall around 11 miles, and it takes everything I have to get through the last 2.

In this race, as well as the last one I began to favor my right hip, and begin squawking like an old lady about my hip. I finished more strongly than last time, which is a good sign, but again, I concede, I need to train with more long distance runs, especially because I still want to do a full marathon, in the future!

I creaked in to the finish line to an amazing herd of people congregating along the plastic mesh fencing for the last mile or so. I felt extremely weak and tired crossing the time strips, but was immediately reinvigorated by the boundless excitement and joy at the finish line. My Mom was there cheering us on as I ambled over the plastic timers. I genuinely dislike those things, because they make the finish line pretty anti climactic for me, as I feel like I must look so pathetic and slow as I hobble over them lethargically. We made move straight away for the Pizza, and were stopped and congratulated by many including the race director. This was really the first race I've done where there was such a boundless euphoria after finishing. I also know that I was more prepared this time and had the benefit of two amazing supporters throughout the race. I honestly loathe the fact I need the help, but I could not be more grateful for the company I had, thank you Dad and Rich! You're helping me get there, one step at a time, literally!

After an hour or two standing in the rain, we got ourselves together, and decided to meet at Val's for a mini post race party. Some of our other HS friends wanted to visit too. Of course they arrived while I was in the shower. Normally this wouldn't be an issue, but this apartment you step out of the shower into a hallway in full view of the entire apartment. Excellent. Just one of many of life's many awkward moments.

Eventually, I joined everyone for a fantastic lunch of Thai food that totally hit the spot. Great food, great friends and family, great time. It was a whirl wind visit, though I couldn't be been happier to see so many of the people that mean so much to me. The only thing that makes it hard, is realizing how much we've all changed in the last .5 yeasts. I've been so focused on my rehab that I've missed a lot of what each of them have been through in life, and its like I'm floundering back at the starting line, watching my friends do amazing things, advancing their careers and traveling the world, while I'm still looking to them for assistance. It's because I just hit 5 years, and that's a significant chunk of time. I feel as though I'm at a dead end with my TBI program right now, I know I'm not, but I can't help that feels like repeatedly walking into a brick wall, but at least I just ran 13.1 miles! And that is why I run. It gives me a baseline, I know where I've been, and the harder I work at it, the more I improve. When I look at it like that, it makes dealing with my brain injury no little thang!

The most ridiculous part of this extraordinary adventure is that we made the return trip to Vermont last night after the race. We got into Burlington around 10 last night. Heck of a race, though I was bummed to have to turn around leave. Back to reality. Get set, Go !


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Twister!

Crikey! I'm at a loss for how to spill my thoughts tonight. I'm at a desperate crux in my life in regards to my housing situation. Im supported by government funding (section 8) for my living accommodations, while I'm doing rehab. Thank you VT! While it's an incredibly helpful asset on the one hand, it's also a subject I rarely write about, as I'm unable to keep a positive outlook in this area of my life. Am I proud of the fact I need your tax dollars to support myself (hell no!). But do I need help getting back on my feet, yes, yes I do.

So, here I am, in my apartment, going through roommates/ live-in aids like toilet paper. I had to let my current one go, last night. I really did not want to have to broach the subject yesterday, out of respect for her birthday. Though, that's the way the cookie crumbed. ;)

We've had our ups and downs over the past month, but I've been so desperate to not be in trouble with the housing authority, I've blatantly overlooked many of the red flags in her personality. Neediness, consistent excuse maker in every situation, financially un-stable... We all have our own weird hang ups, but, literally, each day I've engaged in conversation, I've learned 3 or 4 new ones she has. I hired her to help me with basic house-keeping tasks that are very time consuming for me, as well, as to have someone I could depend on for transportation. I feel stupid for not making this definitive realization 3 weeks ago, when she was unable to help me get somewhere, because of lack of gas money. My brain injury team has to tell me, I'm being taken advantage of, or at least my resources are. It's like I need things to be spelled out for me, and to be pissed off in the moment to take action. I didn't want to have that conversation on her birthday, but sometimes you only have one opportunity with back-up, and you have to seize it. She was 45 minutes late to the meeting she set the time for, and spent half of the meeting whining because I have a support team to gang up on her. That's valid, but I have their help to support me in situations like this, because I have difficulty laying down the law. Yet, somehow it's just easier to do when you know someone is bull-shitting you. We listened to an hours worth of excuses, judgements, defensive reasoning for why she wasn't fulfilling her expectations in this position. It can't be easy, but I never said it would be. I try to keep an open mind with each new person I bring in, but she made it difficult from day one. It's as if she isn't able to make certain connections, that would enable her to sustain herself. I feel badly, but I can't be the person to enable her. She left left last night in a fit of hysterics, for dinner with friends. At least she had others to help her deal with her difficulties, and it was the worst timing possible, but it had too be done. I feel callous and cold looking at the situation that way, but I need to put myself first in these situations, so even though I'm dragging my feet, I'm finally starting to round that corner.

You thought tis ridiculous tale was over, but the saga continues.., Last night, around 1030, I got her text that she wasn't coming home. I thought that was probably a good thing for her to have a little space. I locked the doors, and went to sleep. Around 130 I awoke to the deadbolt on the door, being repeatedly hit. No calling, no voice at all. I wasn't getting up to find out who wanted in. I went back to sleep, and found 2 text messages from her. One, "Are you awake?, and 2. My plans changed when I got molested. Hopes you left the door unlocked." We had the door conversation last week, and I told her I dead bolt the door, if she says she's not coming back. As far as the molestation comment, it's unfortunate, if true, but I can't continue to feel responsible for her lack of judgement. I've learned that in this case I was too nieve, in my quest for a kind, helpful, and stable I've-in aide. Another one bites the dust, and I'm hunting again.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Trickle-down effect

Today was an incredibly positive day. I suggested I meet my case manager at a local coffee shop at 9, and was extremely pleased with myself for having successfully gotten out the door, under my own power, before 9. Hey, it's the small success that accumulate to create bigger ones so, I feel better about my day, if I'm out the door before 9. Or at least productive in some way. I feel as though I'm in a rock and a hard place with my current living situation. Needing to hire roommates, as caregivers, plainly, sucks. At times I've been fortunate to hire old friends or acquaintances, but in the last year it's been impossible to find available, dependable, trustworthy, and mentally stable help. I just hired a woman, whose a bit older than I am, but seemed quite genuine, though a tad over talkative for my Taste. I've realized there are are no boundaries in that sense.well, maybe finances, but that's all I've encountered so far. I'm really at a crux right now, as I'm not happy in my living environment, but (a don't want to be made to feel like I'm responsible for her current life difficulties,, and b) have no interest in learning to adapt to incessant chatter. We've already had multiple financial disagreements, as well as cleaning related ones. On one hand I'm pleased to see myself standing up for how I want things done, but, it almost pains me, especially with her. There are excuses in every conversation, regardless if they're confrontational or not. Never met anyone with such an innate ability to not take responsibility for themselves or their actions. Still, a very nice girl, but I'm finally in a place in my life where nice no longer makes the deal . I learn more about myself, and my abilities to look after myself, from every roommate, whether it be a positive or negative experience. Therefore, I suppose I could look at it as all positive, because I'm learning how to manage my time , and space, while attempting to be respectful of theirs. Though, I will say, it can be difficult to take some statements seriously. I just don't know where to draw the line.

I am also spending way too much time arguing with various agencies and doctors, in a apparently fruitless labors to obtain speech therapy. I even got turned away from a theatrical singing company, that was recommended, as a method to learn breath support. Although, they were receptive to my rebuttals for being turned away. Which is more than I can say for anyone else presently.

It was a great running day, fall is the best! The air is cool and crisp, and the fall colors, are unbelievable. I know that my visual processing is getting better, because this is the first fall I've really been able to spectate with such amazement, in oh, 5 years. Pretty incredible, if you ask me.

Tonight, I had a meet-up with a couple, both old college friends. We've been trying to get together for the last month or so, and I was so happy we finally made it happen! I knew Nathaniel from the dorms and Amanda from Alternative Spring Break. It's just so amazing to see people who understand, and have an innate sense of how they want their lives to go, and are well on that path. So cool, at least thats how I see it, since I used be in that world. Ironically, as we're talking about how it seems there are so many fewer people we know, or recognize, since the end of college, who should walk by, but Megan, most recently, one of my past roommates , but in college Amanda and I both knew her as the director of ASB. We all had a fun mini reunion. One of the occasions I appreciate living in my old college town. It's just so beautiful to be reminded that I do still have friends who know , and understand the concept of a work ethic, as well as a view of who I once was. That statement isn't meant as a criticism of anyone, just more as a a statement about my day to day life, where nothing, period, is expected of me to accomplish anything. This is terrible, I had a great day, yet I'm still so cynical about my life on government funds. To be blunt, it often feels like a dead-end road to hell. Just when I think we're progressing in some regard, I run into another. 'magical' set-back. I'm so thankful for all of the amazing, positive people I have in my life. In life , other people can make, or break you. I feel so fortunate to have so many 'makers' on my side, as I've made so much progress, with the help, and assistance of so many amazing believers. Perfect is an ideal that can't exist, since we all have a different. Idea of what it entails. Maybe someday I'll get a better sense for who to allow to help me, more like, one day I hope to have a better choice. Can I run away screaming, yet? I'm learning that the ideas behind government assistance, is quite commendable, yet the implementation not so. These programs are designed like factories, with the idea to perpetuate or sustain life, by it's own standards. Yet, there is no accommodation for the fact that all people are different in many ways. Of course it's not economically viable to run a factory which accommodates for differences. Though, wouldn't you think it'd be easier to live in a society where people could have access to the same goods and services. Obviously utopia doesn't exist anywhere, and we're all trying to put our best foot forward. I think I'm just saying that we, as Americans, need to live up to our national creeds, of 'United for one, United for all. These programs are so complex now, with many caveats, and ways to work the system. The key, in my opinion is to simplify.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Freaky Friday

It's been an interesting week, trying to get acclimated to a new roommate/care provider. I hate writing that, but I have funding to provide rent in exchange for the help I need getting places, and general support. I've learned that I am terrible with laying down the law for these people, and often receive nothing, other than a bad taste for these people. In theory , this should be a real asset for an individual with a disability, though, in practice it's often a way to have my resources taken advantage of. Somewhere, there is a line between petty disagreement, and laying down the law. I have a really hard time laying down the law, as I don't like having it done to me, and prefer to naïvely assume that others are equipped with the necessary abilities, boundaries, and self-control to handle occasionally assisting me with transportation, and the occasional mobility deficit, or processing issue I may encounter. What is interesting to me about dealing with this situation, is that I realize this is the first time since my injury that I've had the foresight or introspection to realize I'm letting my assets be taken advantage of. It's also the first time I've been able to immediately explain my difficulties with someone. I'm re-learning who I am, and I need for whoever I bring in to be a good role model. However, I've yet to find one in the last year, apparently. I'm not happy in my living situation, but really, who wants to have to hire a roommate?

In other news, the woman who assists me with my vocational interests, has also decided to help me work with a barn to do some horse-back riding again. Hopefully, I'll be the subject of a 17 year old girls internship in hippo therapy. I met her last Tuesday, she seemed nice, though a little on edge. What really struck me though, was her appearance. I've become pretty accustomed to having to tell people I'm in my late 20's, and getting the response, "Gosh, I thought you were about 16. I cringe every time I hear that. It seems that's what I get for choosing to not wear make-up. I don't usually like the way I look with it on, plus I've always been a crier. That does not mix well with mascara. However, meeting this girl, I suddenly realized that is part of why I look so young to people. I realized. Oh well, at least now I realize why people think I look so young. That aside, I felt so at home in the barn, meeting mama and foal, as well as assorted boarders, and lesson horses. If her internship paperwork goes through, I can hopefully start next week. Keep my fingers crossed.

This morning, I had a meeting with my supervisor at the transportation agency where I have a part time job. It's been a rough start, as everyone had different ideas about how to accommodate my needs. I'm so impressed with this mans willingness to listen to my thoughts, regarding the position itself, what I observe, as well as the fact that I think I allowed my brain injury team to be to over zealous in regards to accommodations. We decided on a way for me to submit my paperwork more efficiently, rather than me struggling to do everything on the iPad. It's an awesome tool, but it's not a magical tool that makes everything effortless, which is how I feel my brain injury team approaches it. Actually, a lot of brain injury in general. Brain-injury is an umbrella term for any disorder in the brain these days, from concussions, strokes, or blunt force trauma to the head. It seems too complex for people with (me) and without brain injuries. Though, that's the way it is, so we pick out what we think is best, and move forward from there.

After my morning meeting, which I jogged to, I carried on, and ventured down toward the bike-path with a killer hill work-out. Was far too overdressed Fo this 70 degree day, but what are you supposed to do when it's. 50 degrees, as you head out the door?
It's been somewhat challenging to come back from an amazing adaptive adventure, to the day to day drudgery, but at least I'm getting to a point where I feel like everyday is a step in the right direction, even if, it's a difficult day!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Colorado- the magic of the mountains (and horses!)

Return to Crested Butte

Words really do no justice for the genuine kindness, empathy, and understanding of the people I meet here. Everyone is so patient and practically hushes me each time I automatically apoligize for being such a sloth. The momentum, as well as the pace of life is so much more empathetic, and genuine. I was a slow mover before my injury, now I move lethargically, and have become accustomed to consistent guilt for slowing everything down. Guilt is relative though, as it obviously doesn't stop me from going after what I wish to do.

I arrived in Denver, politely refused a wheel chair, and was shocked I wasn't forced into one. Instead, staff patently walked me out of the gate, then and to baggage claim. Such a novel idea, not to force help I don't want or need onto me or anyone. I met my friend, Maggie, and another staff person from the ASC at baggage claim. The only down side of flying into Denver is its distance from Crested Butte, 4.5 hours. At least I had good company. We took some back roads, called Cottonwood pass on gravel roads through the mountains. We the van ride involved listened to an NPR game how, called, 'Wait, wait, don't tell me!'. Hilarious.

When we finally pulled into the Butte, it was around 730, and we threw my bags into Maggie's apartment, and walked to a local watering hole, The Brick. I'd been told one or two people might meet us for a mini birthday celebration. I walked in to find all of the adaptive staff members, as well as a handful of locals I'd met on my last trip. Unbelievable!

I sat down, slightly overwhelmed, but so touched, that all of these people had shown up. Before I could even order my pizza, I was presented withe most ornate, candy coated cake, which was pinterest inspired. The top was all Reese's pieces, and the edge of the cake was sided with kit-kat bars. Unreal! It was so touching to see nearly everyone who I'd met on the previous trip! I was, and still am so grateful to have had the opportunity to see so many of the amazing people I'd met last winter. The only downside was that I was so worn out from lack of sleep and travel, I had no energy to be a party animal. By the time got back to Maggie's, I instantly collapsed, and slept soundly for the next few hours, although, I was up again at 4:30, probably from he time change. I had plenty of time to putter round at my usual morning pace, of deathly slow. After breakfast 9am, rolled around, and we trucked out the door. I'm very unaccustomed to being in an environment where people don't automatically take over for me. I love this about the adaptive program here. I'm somewhat certain I developed a reputation as that sort of person, on my last trip. That is what I want, but I feel like an ass, because I suddenly realize how I expect anyone to be okay with giving me a hand over an obstacle, helping me zip my coat, or whatever. It's funny how you take certain things for granted in your home environment, but you need to walk those who are new to dealing with you through how you take on different tasks. It always seems awkward explaining myself to new people, but I'm slowly getting better at it. People are generally very helpful, everywhere, but sometimes I find myself in a situations, where I just asked a complete stranger for a hand. People rarely say no, but one person once said, yeah, why? At that point I sheepishly admitted they weren't the person I thought hey were, and that I had balance issues from a brain injury. Thinking about how my words may sound is often beyond me. Always something to work on, for me, and others too.

After stocking up on food supplies, we arrived at the Ranch. Pulling up, it seemed, exactly what I'd pictured. Unbelievable homestead, built into the rocky mountainside, with post and beam construction. Gorgeous. The barn and round-pen were on the left, below the house. I was also struck by the green fields, which it took me a couple days to realize that, the grass, was basically an irrigated crop, so they could get hay from their own land. There isn't much greenery, so to see these expansive fields, along a rocky mountain-scape, was extremely striking. The horses were all in the field/ rocky area by the barn, and river. Looks quite idyllic, as they're so fortunate to have access to so many natural resources. Maggie, Will, the adaptive staff member on my trip, and I, stepped into the Ranch, and werre immediacy welcomed by a very excited black-lab, Cora. Apparently, if you enter through the front, you step into a small foyer, with space to take off your outerwear, but, the only way to the rest of the house is up a spiral stair-case. I used to love a good spiral stair-case, but now there's something about it being open on both sides, that really freaks me out, and I become shaky, and unsure of my mobility. After a precarious ascent, we leaned we could walk around, and into the house on the main level, which made things much easier. Mike and Jan, were the ranch owners. I was relatively surprised when Jan appeared to greet us, in a wheel-chair. Apparently, she'd torn ligaments in her knee. The living arrangements struck me, as relatively inaccessible, given the spiral stair case, but she had no problem. We all ate lunch, and waited for Mike to return. Once he did, we got the basic details of my deficits , and injury, as well as some goals I had, out of the way. We headed out to the barn, and Mike selected a horse he thought would be a good match. I was immediately unimpressed, as the horse appeared relatively old, and made a reference, declaring my lack of enthusiasm. As soon as I said that, I immediately regretted it, because a horse is a horse, and I hadn't intended to sound ungrateful for the opportunity to ride. As soon as I was in the saddle, that horse no longer was the lifeless Eore, I'd pre-judged it to be. She came alive, and safely tested me. I have the worst reaction to fear, I freeze, and stiffen up. When you're on a horse, the key to staying balanced is to move with them. Therefore, when a horse moves unexpectedly, I freeze, and end up on the horses neck until I can collect myself. That day, we spent the afternoon trying to get me to loosen up, and not cling on for dear life. As a former rider, I chide myself for reacting in this way, as it's poor riding etiquette, but, I know understand it's a fear reaction, that is pretty hard to overcome. Awesome. It's not a fun day, when you realize you're now afraid of favorite animal. Horses were my life growing up, now, obviously, I'm viewed as a liability around them, which makes it relatively difficult to be around them. As does the expense. Yet, where there's a will, there's a way. That is exactly why I feel so fortunate to have had this amazing opportunity to come out to Colorado, and not only experience the ranch, but also have assistance conquering my inhibitions.

The next morning I ambled down to the barn to find a horse tied up and waiting. I was pleased to see that he still needed grooming, and tack, as I'd stated I wanted to have a hand with that. I clumsily scraped most of the mud away from the saddle and cinch areas, and managed to get the saddle pad on, although, the saddle was a different story. If I recall correctly, that horses name was Franky, and he was a bit tall for me to feel stable lifting the saddle over my head, or maybe I did try, but fell backwards in the process, and then let someone else do it. That is one of the things I really respect about this crew of folks, they're willing to let me try, even if odds are clearly not in my favor. When you have a disability, its natural for others to feel over protective. I imagine its like how youd want to protect your kid from hurting themselves. But this is life, and sometimes the only way to learn or re-learn is to push the envelope and test your limits. I've learned over the years, that my limits are somewhat malleable, meaning they change. And knowing that, is exactly what motivates me to work hard to regain my previous skills. I always seem to find myself between a rock and a hard place, starting adaptive programs, because I'm not coming into them, as someone with zero experience in the sport, I just have limited adaptive experience, so I start to get edgy when I have basics explained to me, or I'm asked questions, like 'why is it important to make sure the area where the cinch goes, is free of mud?'. I could've answered that when I was 6, and it's hard for me to remember that I need to not feel patronized by basic questions, because I met these people yesterday, not when I was 6. I'm also in the back, because it's so difficult for people to understand me. Although, I'm starting to notice a correlation between age and intelligibility. People in my age group often have much less difficulty. Though, no matter how you look at it, my ability to make myself heard, stinks.

Back to the horses, day 2 began in the round pen again, but after lunch, I got to ride over to the big arena, across the way. I feel Ike my ambitions were bigger than my abilities, which is the crappy lesson I relearn, any time I decide to try one of my old passions. I wish it was easier for me to convey to adaptive programs, the depth of my experience as an able bodied person. Yes, I have a disability now, but I will freak out if I feel like I'm being patronized . Thankfully, this wasn't a huge issue on this trip, though there were moments I bit my tongue (literally).

In the arena I was introduced to pole bending, and the maneuvering behind barrel racing, which was pretty fun. Because I grew up eventing, I know that that style of horsemanship often harshly judges western style riding. The key is to keep an open mind, because it's just as challenging to maneuver a horse in between a line of poles, or round themselves around barrel patterns. It still requires the ability to steer the horse with leg movements. I also really liked using a bosal nose-band instead of a bit. The horse responds to cues by the pressure exerted on each side of its nose. I never knew how they worked, but the horse responds just as effectively. I also felt like it was a more humane choice for me, as I don't always realize how much pressure I'm exerting with my hands. I'm slowly getting better with that, but it will still likely take many more years.
That night I was pretty pleased with my day in the saddle, but relatively exhausted. I wasn't surprised when Mike announced he was off to do some roping, but I was curious where his energy came from. I was wiped from pushing myself to move in different ways, but also from the sun. I was pretty excited by plans of dinner and a shower. After dinner, I headed to the shower, and began to hear a lot of negative mumbles, but couldn't figure out what had happened until there was a knock announcing that there had been a fall, and Jan and Maggie were leaving for the hospital. When I went out into the living room, I learned that Mike had broken his collar-bone, and that was all they knew. Nothing to do but sit and wait, so we started a wester movie. Not long into it, everyone else returned, including a very sore Mike. It was good to see him, but I just felt so badly. It's hard to watch others in pain, but know its beyond your power to ease it. By the time I went to bed, I had an uneasy stomachs. Which seemed odd since we'd been eating so well. I laid in bed hoping it would go away, but all of a sudden was overwhelmed by a need to be sick. Maggie, an EMT, jumped into action questioning me about everything I'd eaten, gave me a bucket, and oddly disappeared. She returned a while later, and I realized I wasn't the only one to be ill. Pretty sure we were both up most of the night sick, with poor Will running back and forth checking on us. We still have no idea what caused it. By the time morning rolled around I felt like my normal cantankerous morning self, but had no interest in food. I thought for sure, I'd end up sleeping the morning away, after the rough night. Nope. I was even up early enough to wish Mike well, as he left to get put back together. Ella, Mikes daughter, and Maggie and Wills coworker at ASC came to help with me in the saddle, so I wouldn't miss a day in saddle, which I really appreciated. Although, my strength and energy were pretty low from the illness of the night. I was so happy to be back in the saddle, but pretty bummed I didn't have my normal enthusiasm.
After a short day in the saddle, it was time to pack up, and head back to CB. Mike and Jan. returned as we were gathering up our stuff. Good as new, well in a few months, but it can always be worse. I feel pretty qualified to make that statement.

I felt like I'd just gotten there, and it was already time to go. That night, it was awesome to have time to walk around town, do some shopping, and have dinner. Crested Butte is such an overwhelming place, in terms of the generosity and kindness you interact with everyday. It's a really interesting mix of townies, and absurdly rich people who intermittently travel there for solace. While perusing the shops we ran into an acquaintance of Maggie's, who remembered me visiting for ladies camp. I immediately realized why we were suddenly a part of 3 when he bought our dinner, and offered to sponsor my next flight out there. Incredible! I felt like I'd just won the lottery. That kind of generosity is unprecedented in my book, but I'm so grateful, due to my lack of funding for these amazing adaptive adventures. I'm just so grateful there are people who think nothing of sharing their resources. Another reason why it's so beautiful there. Its not easy to get there, but that means that the people who are there, come because they also see it's beauty.

Many thanks to everyone who helped make this trip possible for me, it really helped me begin to realize there is light at the end of the tunnel. Not sure why exactly, but I no longer feel feel like I'm on a dead end road of rehab. Guess that means I now have to figure out what's next!