The End of Rehab
Right now, I know my physical rehab has pretty much finished, even though I still have huge perceptual problems such as when I am manoeuvring between chairs in a restaurant. There is also the lack of any sensation in my hand which makes any dexterity impossible because I need to be able to look at my hand or see my fingers to know what they are doing. Sure my hand is marginally better than a club, but it is only marginal.
And I must admit that my rehab has been a long period of feeling constantly exhausted but I just feel I have so much still to work on and I cannot sit around vegetating. After all I did that exceptionally well when I was in hospital in my coma.
I am constantly accused of being impatient, but I just reply that patience is for people in hospital. I know that sitting around will do absolutely nothing for my rehab and I feel I am obliged to do everything I can possibly do to get better. Whilst there’s still something to do I feel I cannot relax.
Yet at the same time I need to find some way to rest, because it is not normal to keep on the go literally every second of the day, every minute of every day.
When I say on the go, I mean that while I’m planning what to eat, for example, I think about what is good for my hand. Which means that I eat a lot of vegetables, because chopping up my vegetables for my supper allows me to practice using my left hand. Now I am most certainly not a vegan or a kiddy torturer(as I prefer to call the vegans – I mean what parent takes their kid to a beach and does not let them have an ice-cream), but this is how I think these days. For instance when I go for a run or a walk I hold a sweat band in my left hand, just so that I can practice using the bugger and holding an object. I am constantly trying to manipulate the objects in my hand, trying to move the object in my palm or around my palm so that I am using different aspects of my hand. All to try and increase my dexterity.
I do think about other things as well, of course. I am not a robot as much as I must sound like one at the moment, because I mean just think about it: who in their right mind would design a robot as fucked as me. So this morning I went for a run and it was another cracker of a day in Falifornia as I like to call Falmouth. And whilst running I made sure was still manipulating the object in my buggering hand. But at the same time I could at least appreciate that it was a glorious winter’s morning, and the sun was slowly rising above the horizon which was the sea, an azure blue in the distance with the glorious sunshine a bright yellow -orange slither separating the brighter blue of the sky from the more moody blue of the sea in the distance.
I just need to be able finally to sit down and relax, to rest with someone who I can enjoy these infinitesimally small victories with, like when I beat one of the scarers at chess or my son…
At the same time, it is this sort of determination that I am very thankful for because otherwise I would just be proving those buggers and supposed experts correct, who all wrote me off as being a vegetable or worse, in a persistent vegetative state. One of my colleagues said to my wife that there was only about a 30% chance of me ever being able to dress myself independently again: I mean what complete load of rubbish! I mean 30% -where on earth did he get that statistic from! Well I can answer that for you: he got it from a place where the sun does not shine. I use my colleague’s statistic every time I am struggling to do up my buttons on my shirt to spur me on.
My life is so difficult now because of all the extra work I need to do just to give the appearance of functioning normally. But I feel I have not been left with any choice, I have to be hard on myself. Even I can see that my rehab has almost come to an end but I would argue that I am far from the finished article – as much as any an Australian can ever be a finished article, unless of course you are referring to me when I was lying nearly dead by the roadside in St Mawes … I could certainly have been described as being almost a finished article then, but I am definitely nowhere near finished now.
I don’t want to be ungrateful but the other thing is I guess I am getting slightly sick of all the compliments I am receiving about my recovery. I just see a body that is still buggered. I am better now, no one can dispute that, not even me, but I want so much more than what I have now. I just want to be like any other adult who just gets on with their day.
This is the hand that I have been dealt and I have just had to do the best I can with it. I had no choice; it was deal with it or give up and die, and in many ways, I was too selfish to die.
I am one who has possibly defied the experts – but what is an expert when their field is one so poorly understood, do thrtyv might as wel, b consuidered experts in majic or in levitating g in which so little is known how far one can recover? Yet perhaps my experience will give people a little more knowledge about brain injury or some greater hope. And the key to it, as far as I can see, is just perseverance and determination.