It’s been an eventful year here in East Texas. I started the year with Covid vaccines, followed by a February snowstorm with bitter cold temps that saw much of the state lose power and/or water. I was lucky to have kept both, but it was a blast from my New England past. Covid, of course, was a factor in 2021 activities and events, and for the most part, I stayed inside with the cats even though I had my vaccines and wore masks. I continued working at the Emerald Bay Church, completing five years there in July.
But the second half of the year was crazy and everything went off the rails. I had cataract surgery on both eyes in June, letting me actually see without glasses for the first time since third grade. I also began to realize that I had major problems with my right foot because of severe spinal stenosis with surgery as the only solution. As I began using a cane and sometimes a walker to help me stay balanced and not fall again (I fell eight times, not that I counted), I realized that my beloved Emerald Bay home was not the best place for someone who needed that kind of help. The doorways weren’t up to ADA standards and the walkers didn’t fit through easily.
When I started to think about it, I also realized that, much as I loved the home that had been in the family since 1985, it wasn’t really the right place for me now. I found a wonderful 2 bedroom apartment at Meadow Lake, a senior living community in Tyler, complete with wide doorways, grab bars, med-alert system, and familiar living style. I put my house on the market and moved within 3 weeks of finding the apartment. Which was a really good thing, because four days later, I fell and went to the hospital, then two different rehab centers, and was away for 10 weeks before finally returning.
Life has dramatically changed. I came home in a wheelchair with a walker but am mostly in the chair for now until my legs are stronger and my foot brace works better. The doctor said that it could be 8-12 months from surgery to see the full results and how much functionality will come back; my physical therapist says it’s more like 12-18 months. In any case, it’s not overnight and there will be steps forward and backwards as I travel this path. I quit my church job while in the hospital, since I needed to focus on healing, and sold my car, too, since I can’t drive. When/if that changes, I want to be able to have a vehicle that’s the right height for me then. Meadow Lake offers a transport van to get me to doctor appointments, which is an enormous help.
I’m grateful to be able to live independently in a new home that accommodates my new limits, and I’m adjusting to a slower pace and much smaller world. I’m trying to just consider this a “time apart” where I don’t need to think or worry about things like getting to church, going out with friends, or traveling. It’s not forever, it’s just for now. In fact, to make it tidy, I’ll just count my Recovery “Year” from August 2021-December 2022.
Goals for my Recovery Year:
- Walk with a rollator instead of using a wheelchair
- Use the NuStep at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week
- Be able to shower on my own
- Be able to get in and out of a car
- Lose 20 lbs
On the other hand, I had no idea that most of what actually happened in 2021 would happen, much less planned for it, so who knows how 2022 will turn out?