I’ve Been Home a Week

You probably noticed that I haven’t been writing a post a day the way I did in rehab. I’m in a different place with my recovery, getting settled with my new community, and sorting things out at home. And my world is shrinking – not forever, but at least for now.

I’m going to therapy three times a week but because my therapist was on vacation for part of last week, my three days were all in a row. I’m working with a new therapist who is using electrical stimulation (e-stim) on my leg muscles to help wake up the nerves as well as doing targeted seated leg exercises on the mat using weights, plus hand weights for arm work. Stim feels really weird but I’m glad we’re doing it. She has the stim up to full power on the lower right leg, which had the most damage from stenosis compression, and I can still barely feel it – but I can feel it, and that’s an improvement.

Yesterday at the end of my session, they created a little “teeter-totter” kind of deal with a weighted stick topped by a wooden sliding board on top for my foot. I was to push down with my toes, then pull the foot up to gauge movement in the ankle, which has been basically frozen for at least 18 months if not longer. Much to my surprise, I could see it move. Mostly it feels as though I’m moving those muscles but I haven’t been able to see anything, so this is promising.

I still can’t put on my shoes by myself, so I tootle around in my chair wearing my fuzzy blue gripper socks. My aide puts them on for me twice a week when she’s here, and I bring the shoes to therapy so they can put them on the other days. But I still have to find someone who could pop in to help. Lots of my neighbors here have helpers; I’m hoping one of them could spare a little time. But first I have to meet people, and I’m working on that.

Actually, the people here are very friendly and welcoming, and they all seem to know about the woman who was here 4 days then gone for 10 weeks. Last week there was a new resident orientation and delicious lunch, which was a great chance to visit with people as new as I am. Friday I went to happy hour and today is an amazing Sunday brunch. The food is amazing here, with generous portions that I’m splitting into two different meals so there’s very little cooking needed. I look at the stuff in my kitchen, already greatly pared down from my house, and wonder what on earth I’m going to do with it all. Life in a year could look very different, so I’m not going to let anything go just yet, but it does make me wonder.

Pictures finally went up on Friday and the apartment now looks like home. I’m slowly (very slowly) moving things around to make them work better. My wireless printer isn’t working properly which is annoying, since I’m a techie and figured this would be easy to do. Ha. I should have known better. Fortunately it’s not a top priority, so there’s time to get it sorted out. But everywhere I look I see piles of things that need to get put away or moved, and it frustrated me that I can’t just stand up and do it myself.

My world is shrinking, at least for now. I know that people with physical limitations travel, go to church, go out to eat, shop, visit friends, etc. But that’s not going to be true for me for a while, at least as long as I’m in the chair. I never really had any down time when I retired from Yale, moving straight from Connecticut to Texas to take care of my dad. I’ve been running hard ever since, and it actually feels good to just BE for a while without expectations except going to therapy. I’m tired and just wish I could sleep better but there’s always the chair with the cats wandering by to sit in my lap. Spending time with them, even in the middle of the night, makes me happy.

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