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Friday, April 27, 2012

April showers...

Well, another week has flown by. It's funny how the more you do, the more quickly time seems to pass. I did well with running, until the weather reared it's ugly head. Seeing snow today, I wasn't all that eager to get myself outside, and made it a lazy Friday, by opting to see the hunger games instead. My physical laziness also complimented my dietary indulgences nicely. Chocolate stout cake for breakfast, milkshake for lunch, fries at the movie. However, I had planned to make lasagna for dinner, with my roommate. And, we actually did make it, so that seems about on par for me. Don't get me started, all delicious, but aside from our lasagna, it's doing nothing for my self image, or energy level.
Last night I felt so fortunate to reconnect with an old friend, from the dorms at UVM. I run into her downtown occasionally, and it was so wonderfully refreshing to catch up over scintillating trays of tacos. I can't ever pronounce the name correctly, as I conveniently forget syllables, but I'm going with el conditas tacoria. While the food was exceptional, what's still on my mind, are the intricate designs, painted on the toilet bowls in the restrooms. Such a unique idea, to orient and detail the theme of a restaurant down to the toilets. I love going out for dinner, but have experienced some anxiety in that regard, in the past few years, as I can't leave a restaurant without wearing a part of meal (last night it was sour cream) and I often have a hard time contributing to conversation., as well as, not choking myself while eating.requires the vast majority of my attention while eating. So, I know that I had a fantastic time, eating delicious, wholesome foods in great company, but druggies with my concern of not being able to participate in active conversation, while eating. Alas, aside from nearly choking myself (only once!) and was beyond thrilled when we headed to The Farmhouse, which is my current favorite restaurant ( hands down) in Burlington. My evening out made me do appreciative of this town, Thad I stayed here, and the ridiculous numbers of connections we all have.
I forget that it's not 'normal'. Whatever that is...

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Look out world, I'm graduating from rehab, (it's okay to be scared)

Where to begin...
Almost 5 years ago, my heart stopped, and I was literally dead for 10-15 minutes. I was fortunate enough to not be alone when my heart stopped (aka cardiac arrest). I remember being stuck on inpatient rehab for 6 month, thinking, dreaming of the world beyond my hospital enclosure. Looking back, I had zero concept, that inpatient rehab was the first of many hurdles in my new world of brain injury rehabilitation.

Over the past few years, I've developed some rather distasteful qualities, or ideals, in my mind, simply asa means of survival. For example my trust/faith in others is relatively diminutive at this point. I find this quite tragic, but I feel that recognition is the first step towards rectifying a problem. I thinks it's because I'm aware of what I view as issues I've incurred from my brain injury, and how I perceive myself now, as well as how I think others perceive me. Relearning social nuances of your world in your mid twenties is pure he'll, from my point of view, though far less frightening than seventh grade, I will say.

I keep thinking about the childhood tale many of us learnt in grade school, about the tortoise and the hare, and how slow, and steady always wins the race. I never had the patience for such an adage, prior to suffering this injury, but now that I am, where I am today. Slow and steady progress has opened countless doors for me, along this journey. Now that I know I won't be stuck in the vice grips of state and federally funded programs for all eternity, I can say I'm strangely grateful for the lessons I've learned along this path. Granted, I'm tremendously unappreciative of the more permanent ramifications, which I may never learn to accept, such as vision loss, and variable mobility. I've learned that 'perfect' is just a pretty word or ideal we all place certain value on, despite it's nonexistence. To me, perfect, is someone else's version of ideal for a given situation. Because, we as individuals, all place different values on different ideals, perfection doesn't actually exist.
Well, here I am philosophizing the night away, and back to my own co rots and ideals. In a fierce wave of impulsive foolishness, I miraculously convinced my mother and father to attend this initial discharge planning meeting, and furthermore, to carpool. I'm fairly certain no one was actually happy in ones others company. What a fun weekend...not.
Don't get me wrong, I could not be happier/ more grateful to still have my parents be willing to make every effort and sacrifice necessary for my well- being. Nothing says love quite like that.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Eek, what was I thinking?

Well, I had a wonderful weekend, enjoying all of the lovely weather we've been having. Ran (in my new sneakers, both days. Although yesterday's run was a definite miss. I went out, early for me, around 830. I doubt I'd gone more than a half mile, when I pushed the jogger over some kind of cover, and one of the 2 gallon water jugs flew out of the bottom, onto my feet. That, and the sudden change in weight, caused me to tip it over backwards pinning my hand under the handle bar. My only injury was road rash on my hands. Unfortunately, road rash is somewhat excruciating, especially on moving limbs or digits. I fell, and thought, I knew there was a reason not to miss cycling. In collede, I rode for UVM cycling, and of course, took some spills. Never thought I'd have to deal with it again. Of douse not. I'm at least so thankful it's not on my face. Hopefully those days are behind me. I was going by a business, and literally went down on my knees, at the feet of 2 people, who just stood there and stared. Once I was able to stand and realize how disgusting my hands were, I asked if ether of them could go indide and look for a tissue, or napkins. They looked at me strangely, and simply said no. The other one said I don't thinks. I was starting to hold myself back from getting upset, when a car pulls off the road. The driver gets out, and asks if I'm alright, and that he saw me go down, and what could he do? Meanwhile, the 2 trolls I'd asked for help, co continued to stand there and gawk. The man and his wife, who'd stopped to help, ran inside and helped me apply pressure to the new holes on my thumb knuckles. It only took about 5 minutes, to het my hands wrapped in enough napkins, for me to turn around and head back. I got back, and my roommate was there. She's often quite cheery, but paled so quickly, when I walked in and said, look what I did! and held my hands up. Everyone is different around blood, now I know she's the squeamish type. She made us yummy smoothies, and then I had to clean myself off and where nice attire, to see a matinee showing of titanic.

Given that it has been 100 years, this year, since the mighty ocean liner, Titanic, sank, the musical, is quite popular this year.I went with a woman I knew from living with Kathy. She was kind enough to pick me up. When we got downtown, she really didn't want me to have to walk very far, and stopped in traffic, and I had to cross the street. Terrified, I was actually lucky there was so much traffic, and drivers were already going slow. It wasn't nearly as difficult as I'd anticipated. As I went in, I felt like I was at the theatre alone. It turned out, I more or less was, as I had different seating than most of the others. We all exchanged hellos and praised Brittanys performance, and I ran off to stand in a endless line, for the one accessible bathroom. All of a sudden, a theare peronell man approached me about another bathroom in the back. I was so thankful, as that sped up my wait, and I didn't miss any of the show. That is one of the ever so rare 'perks' to a disability. I, now, always really appreciate.
After intermission, the ship sank, and the drama intensified. The play is entirely different than the movie, the only real similarities beingvthe division of economic class, and the ship sinking. Nearly every time I've seen a show in the last 4 years, I've re-realized how much I enjoyed theatre in high school. Although it's probably more appealing now, as the idea of pretending to be someone I'm not, is vastly more appealing now. Sad, but true. This year, I've had more random people recognize me fom the bike path with my baby jogger. Today, I actually had the opportunity tell someone why I use the jogger. I usually realize I shoulve talked about my brain injury before we parted ways. Hindsight is always 20/20, so they say.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Reunion with the Flynns! (Easter)

I typically see the Flynn's every few months, as they're thoughtful enough to still include me in various family functions. With mixed messages about my first Easter invitation, with my friends, Stacie and Jason, a couple I originally met over laundry at keenes. We've kept in touch, and they just moved back into the area(Yay!), so, I'd planned to attend church with them, at start-up community church in Waterbury. The catch for me, was being dressed and out the door before 830. At 745, I was dresses and eating when I hot a text, saying they weren't going. I didn't realize I should've followed up, as they went to a different service. I, on the other hand, pigged out on 3 massive meals with the Flynns. I was happy I had food to contribute, as I'd made strawberry shortcake the night before to bring to Easter Dinner. We had it with breakfast instead. Among quiches, breakfast meats, fruit salads, and croissants. I felt as though I'd eaten my caloric intake for the day, before 930.A number of us retired to the couch, which turned into plying wii, and just dance. I have this game as well, though rarely play. I learned that it's exceptionally easy to get a great score, if you just shake the controller to the beat. Always good to learn to cheat you're own game, I suppose. After, awkwardly winging around the living room, we received Easter baskets. I have to say, a basket of chocolate, makes any day amazing! I somehow managed to not gorge on all at once, and am slowly rationing it out, by hiding it from myself. This only works, because of my memory issues though.

Next, we got in the van, and watched what I assumed would be an extremely lame sic fi movie, about robots. Nope, it seems, I'm still a sci-fi geek, and completely appreciated the story of a boy, reviving a robot, from the scrap heap, to claim world robot boxing championship. I will say that this same story is told a thousand different ways though. Your classic under dog claiming victory tale.

By the time we arrived in Crowne Point, I'll admit, Easter dinner was not the first thing on my mind. Oddly, Kathy's sister, Joanne, whom we were visiting, is an old coworker if mine from Fletcher Allen. Such a small world.

We all enjoyed ham and turkey, before moving on to an extraordinary number of side dishes and desserts. I got home around 830, and immediately retired into my bed, silently scorning myself for overeating so grandly. Id forgotten how grandiose Irish-catholic holidays are.

Well heeled...

Yesterday, the lovely Miss Hillary accompanied me to Fleet Feet, a running shoe store, I've had recommended to me on multiple occasions, and even had a $10 gift certificate from a race last year. 2 different people suggested I ask for the assistance of a knowledgeable older fellow, by The name of Geoff. I'd been told that his knowledge of shoes on the market, and understanding of properly fitting shoes was unmatched. After the hour and a half he spent helping me, I would certainly agree. Had a gentle, but to the point manner. Inexplicably, I felt comfortable volunteering my story. Even though it's been 4 years, it hasn't gotten any easier to explain what I've been through. I think, because I have a difficult time judging how different people will react, it's still not easy, but I think Colorado was very helpful for me in that respect, as I suddenly had to share my story multiple times of day there, it's never easy to explain what I've progressed from.
I ended up putting the shoes on hold, as I needed to check my finances, before dropping 1/4 of my allotment for the mont, on shoes. Nerve-racking! We ended our day together with 'power' yoga. The instructor has the most complete reassurance of self I've ever known anyone to have. His abilities to confit himself into many unthinkable (for me) positions, are staggering, if not endless. Personally, I appreciate the class, because it's such a broad spectrum of abilities. Then, I went home to dinner on the table. I love having a roommate who cooks when I least expect it.

Today, Friday, I was slow to rise, and by the time I'd showered, dressed, and eaten, it was 11. Hillary came an hour early, as she had to leave early, and I was off the wall excited, as I'd decided to splurge and go for the new sneaks!!! Once I got them, I was so excited to go for a run, and really break them in. The gentleman who'd assisted me the day before came up, and looked me straight in the eye, and told me he'd read my blog (this one!) which was so moving, as I don't often realize people are still checking this site out. I wanted to give him a big hug, but he was on the otherwise of the counter. I felt like I'd had the pledger of meeting a very special man, and hope our paths cross again.
We left on a mission for lunch. The only place I'm familiar with, is an awesome sandwich shop called Martones. I knew they made my favorite sandwich, and Hillary knew of it through friends. I had 10 minutes to eat my sandwich. If you know me, then you're probably aware, what trauma this was for me. I cannot eat quickly. I was still eating my 1st half as we rushed out. Luckily CHIPS was across the street, so I was still onyime. Our staff meeting was ladies only today, there are many more ladies than guys in the office. One of the ladies had stopped at my little cupcake, in Burlington, which was s decadent midday treat for all of us. Wow! I always like the staff meetings, as it's a chance to interact with everyone. They have such a great staff, I feel lucky to be part of it right now.

After the meeting, Hillary dropped me off, and I immediately got dressed , and went for a run in my new kicks. I'd planned to start slow, and only run 3. I felt so solid and strong, I ended up doing around 6. Making that my longest run of the year. When I returned, I finished my sandwich, and made eggs and sausage for dinner. I kept thinking if a big juicy burger, on my way back, but I don't ever have red meat at home, since I don't know how to cook it. And now it's late, and I'm tired. Thanks for reading about my hectic day.

Back to reality

After such an amazing trip, I must admit it's been difficult to return to my normal routine, even if there's nothing normal about it. Last week, I was absolutely floored to learn that I will graduate from the TBI waiver program. It's not like I don't appreciate the therapies I've received along this path, but it's been 5 years! And what I've wanted all along is emancipation from rehab. One of the most difficult aspects of rehab. For me, has been watching all of my college friends begin adult lives, and also learning how to relate to old friends you suddenly have very little in common with. This week my. Psychologist assigned me to reconnect with old friends I still have in the area. Sounds simple, right? I know that I was incredibly fortunate to have so much support in the early stages of my injury. Unfortunately for me, I didn't really have the cognitive ability to appreciate all of the incredible support I received then, and the Idea of trying. To pick up with friends from 5 years ago, is, well, Relatively daunting, and I wish it wasn't. Just have to bite the bullet, I suppose...