Saturday, May 19, 2012

Home Again

A friend of mine contacted me from very far away.  She wanted to know how everything was going now that I'm living in my new apartment.  It's a strange thing.  I am enjoying a wealth of freedom and privacy in this two hundred thirty square foot apartment.  Even without the refrigerator and stove, without the countertops, this room is still smaller than my old bedroom at the house I just left.  Of course, that's not why I left.

There is a degree of satisfaction I get in being able to prepare my own meals, make my own coffee, and decide what time of day I will shower.  Living where I was living all of that was gone.  It's a care home.  As far as care homes go this one is actually pretty damn good.  The house was always immaculately clean, and the meals were well-prepared.  On those accounts I have no complaints.

Living the way I do, is easy to forget the problems I had when I moved into that house.  Coming out of surgery on my spine, I was unable to effectively move out of my bed, or even lift my head off the pillow.  I had a neurosurgeon that told me I had no symptoms that day that I didn't have the day before my surgery.  On that account I would say the man was insane.
So I embarked on thirty days of rehabilitation in the Valley medical Center spinal cord rehab unit.  I learned about my spinal cord injury, and started learning about how to live effectively with my problems.

one piece of hardware I left behind at the house, a unit paid for by Medicare,  is a specialized hydraulic lift my caregivers used to pull my body out of bed, into my chair, into my bath chair, and back to my bed again.  With the strength and abilities that I've regained it is hard to remember that I was living so helplessly just a few months ago.  Over the last two years I've dispensed with most of that stuff.  It would be insane for me to think that I would need to live in that environment any longer.

So, when my friend e-mailed me from Indonesia to ask me how I am enjoying my newfound privacy and freedom, I feel a little bit overwhelmed.  It is strange to know that after two years of having virtually no privacy, I now have all of that back.  Having minimal control over my diet, I now have the ability to prepare all my own meals, and control my portions as I wish.  Well I live in a complex surrounded by people immersed in all kinds of drama, I am still able to sit here in complete quiet, untouched by any of it unless I want to participate.

In response to my friend's question about privacy and freedom, I was afraid that I might mislead her with my response.  I went to the lady who runs the office here at the apartment complex, and I told her how much nervousness or anxiety I feel in the absence of all the chaos that I lived in before.  (That is not to say that I want any of it back) there was plenty of people at my house that wanted to take control of my decisions, control my actions, and interrogate me about the minutiae of my day-to-day existence.  The apartment manager said that if I miss any of that, there are many many people here in this complex that can fill that need.  I assured her that I would call her if I decided that I need her assistance.

Today, one month after moving out, I had a refrigerator full of vegetables.  I'm finding many obligations to keep my time.  I exercise on a regular basis, and I'm already losing weight.  Clothing is fitting me that hasn't fit me in a long time.  as a spinal board patient, I still have difficulty doing a few things I have a caregiver who comes into my house and helps me a short ten to fifteen hours a week to help me with a few items that I can still can't attend to myself.  That emptiness and anxiety is leaving me.  With time, I may even find a way to decorate the small little home that I'm creating for myself.

Thank you for reading.