Tuesday, February 5, 2013

An Open Letter to Memphis Mojo, Who Asked Me How My Rehab Was Going

First of all, thanks for asking. It's nice to know that some people out there still think of me.

To answer your specific question, my rehabilitation is proceeding apace. There were certain things that I can do just as well as I could before the stroke, and there are things that still give me a bit of grief. I still can't play my guitar with any degree of ability, and my penmanship is changed. It hasn't gotten worse, exactly, because it was never good to begin with. But it's a different kind of messy now, and the act of writing is still a little bit unnatural.

My legs are really where I'm finding myself most affected. When I left rehab, the areas where I needed most help were related to balance; walking up and down stairs, showering standing up, and the like were all things that I could technically do but not without some difficulty. My neurologist asked me to walk heel to toe and that was surprisingly difficult as well. Now that's licked but I find my legs stiff and tired almost all the time — both of them in fact. The vacation that I took in December to visit my wife's family put a strain on my legs that I still haven't recovered from. Now whenever I am upright, walking or standing, it's a safe bet that I'm in some sort of discomfort.

I find myself with an overall lack of strength and stamina; if called upon, for example, to move some boxes from hither to yon (my dictation software interpreted that last phrase as "from Hitler to yawn"), I would need to stop and rest way earlier than I would have before.

I tend to look at things philosophically; from a nuts and bolts perspective, I'm in no more discomfort than, say, someone with a chronic bad back. Given the universe of potential outcomes of the stroke, I'll take that any day of the week and twice on Sundays. And, without getting too metaphysical about things, I think that even though calling my recovery from the stroke a "wake-up call" is paying short shrift to the work that I put in and trivializing the whole event, there's something to be said there. I might not wish to admit it, but it really was a wake-up call of one kind or another. I made it a practice to ignore matters of health, and it bit me square in the ass. If I had made a 100% full recovery from this, maybe I would have no reminder of how bad it was before it got better. Maybe I had to lose something for this lesson to sink in to any meaningful extent. Would I have chosen to lose my ability to play the guitar? No. The lesson was a sharp one, I guess; all the better to remember when I feel like not taking my pills in the morning.

Anyway, that's how I'm doing. I hope you're doing well, and everyone else in the blog world, you wacky sons of bitches. Thanks for thinking of me.