Every time you settle in, things change on you… or us as the case may be.
This is both cause for celebration but also makes Todd and I work harder each day, each week, and each month. Always having to adapt and be prepared for what is coming next. The next step is one, which we can glimpse only the smallest piece of…it is a bit like hearing a whisper from another room. You can only sort of make out what is being said……… Filling in the blanks? Well that has never been too successful or helpful. So you want to see what is around the corner… but you can’t until you get there.
As Todd moves forward in his recovery there are two main issues that are part of each and every day.
Safety. When we first came home I used to check if he was breathing. It changed so much once he fell asleep and was relaxed in his own bed; he was so quiet I had to keep checking by gently putting my hand on his chest to see if it was moving. I was so nervous about him sleeping on his back (even with pillows)… partly due to some warning I had encounter along the way. (Sound familiar?) Then over time it transformed, as he began walking and standing, into following him everywhere to make sure he does not fall. I find myself wondering when I won’t have to be so concerned about this………it is funny because when I talked to someone about it the answer was ………comes with the territory of walking on two limbs! (So I guess crawling is out of the question?) Everything is so different on this plane, even driving if Todd is in the car. It is hard not to consider the possibility of an additional injury, if just for a fleeting moment. I suppose fear is a natural piece of an equation when you have survived as much as we have…and probably for some even if you haven’t. It is not something that rules the way we do things necessarily, but it is always in the recesses of your mind. When are you ready for the next step and when will that next step be so natural that it doesn’t need to be thought of anymore? It is not uncommon for Todd to overestimate his abilities although he is becoming increasingly aware and mindful of his limitations. I am constantly trying to find that place that keeps him safe and allows for the utmost independence and autonomy. Something he had been without for way too long. Each day, each week, this changes and we are along for the ride. When do we get to take the training wheels off the bicycle? Actually we should have training wheels fabricated for his bicycle!
Then once out in the world it then becomes the battle of the bathrooms! We are slowly emerging into our community….the outside world. Small steps and very tiring for Todd, but extremely necessary and important piece of recovery. So, Todd is not remotely ready to be alone. He is easily disoriented, overstimulated in many public situations, can lose his balance when tired, certain movements are limited. So when we are out and about there is this tug of war……. I head for the women’s and he heads for the men’s. Lately I lose, out of respect. So I am so thankful when the bathrooms are at least single occupancy. Apparently we do not live in a world of different sex caregivers… All “accessible” bathrooms should without a doubt be unisex! Again something I never considered until being where I am now and will remain for some time. Cannot tell you how funny/awkward it is when a guy enters the men’s bathroom and I have to make my presence known! Yikes. This is a phase I am sooo looking forward to moving out of, it won’t be soon enough!
Disability and Access. Now that we have the placard where are the parking spaces? Answer in parking lots mostly. So if you are heading to a neighborhood like Rockridge with a parking lot on one end, you have to cross your fingers that the spot you find is in a manageable distance in relationship to your destination. The one streetside handicap parking spot I did find is the most appalling thing I have ever seen. The sidewalk damaged and raised to such a degree that there are caution signs, a wheelchair would have a very difficult time navigating the sidewalk in this location. I am so thankful our needs are ever changing on this front, while becoming increasingly aware of a reality that was never my own until now. It was for the small margin …well it turns out not to be not so small. Much of the time when I do pull up to a place with its two or so accessible spots they are full. It really makes me think about those who have even greater limitations than we do…
With Thanksgiving right around the corner we have loads to be thankful for. Being home is just right at the top of the list. Todd here home, happy, and alive…that is tops. Here we are in a place that the doctors, a psychiatrist, and many more said or thought could never be attained. Good thing I am not easily convinced or broken! Now Todd and I are well on our way to healing and claiming of our life together. It will be some time before I am able to return to work but our family is strongly urging me to return to studies for my licensing exams, all seem close yet so far away. It is no matter for today I am happy and truly enjoying Todd’s company so in the moment it is good.
We have big changes in the road ahead, which we will tell you more about. First we must wrap our minds around it and second get there. It would be like trying to tell you about a trip before it had taken place. Nonetheless after the holidays there will be changes, but we are very thankful that we have peace for the month of December. Any amount of change in routine and otherwise is extremely demanding in the world of TBI where the combination of rest and routine form the foundation of recovery.