This glacial till manifests plenty of ups and downs, over and again. I meant to record more highlights in the past few months. Today brought me back to the friendly therapy pool. Simply phenomenal to experience this current state-of-being in aquatic solace. Mighty fine and challenging workout, too. I trust in the timing of each element and variable of this recovery. T1-T12 on April 22, 2013.

Exceed expectations by working with time.
Cast doubt and discouragement aside. What actually happens constitutes the possible.

Thankful for the journey: all the in-between.

At some point, the shift in perspective turns chronic illness into a focus on _chronic healing_. This is to be welcomed. With the choice, why would we not choose to view and fuel how we think and talk about living: in a way that orients us to receive and accept healing? (Make no mistake about it, what we accept, we also share in return.)

It no longer matters how rapidly we regain functions. We must devote our energies to the tasks at hand–not to just conventionally attending to presentation of self. (Many times, we are discovering and refashioning self, forging new paths.) This area of freedom from rigid expectations, no doubt, propels toddlers through their development. Exploration, familiarization with body and mind, and social influences are all essential.

It pains me to witness from afar, but I respect the interpersonal processes in motion. I am still learning how to alleviate a shared suffering that is particularly born where patience must learn to dwell. Respect and boundaries are important. I have erred on the side of advocating for my brothers and sisters, yet always with a profound sense of empathy for caregivers.

Truth of experiences

There’s so much more going on than can be observed or measured. How can “attitude” be assessed from point-of-view of individuals not dealing with the series of moments and circumstances, let alone the physiological underpinnings? Anyone thrown in to a pit, and constantly tested and assessed, without a release from scrutiny, needs moments when their loved ones are there, and elated, for existence. Our facial expressions and movements — many not even under our control, most others much more muted, possibly conserving energy for work sessions — are not the dependable, taken for granted mood indicators they used to be. Yes, it is out of love, concern, hope. We can acknowledge that, affirm those qualities, while channeling them in ways to empower all involved.

It just streamed out in this form, with these examples, when I composed an email reply. The basic premise and practices are more generally applicable. Chalk it up to the always present, but humble empathic reservoir comprising inner peace. Lest we forget how important it is to keep feeding virtuous cycles of socially shared thoughts and behavior.

“Well, I figure it doesn’t hurt to try to keep up on what we can with our senses. I’ve been dealing with eye and vision issues all my life, so it’s always been a priority. Nothing’s guaranteed or a given–just doing the best I can with what I have.

My balance is more dependent on vision than the other way around. But, I notice my balance in poor lighting and with my eyes closed DOES improve as I practice more–even if it is just the time I am leaning against the sink counter with my eyes closed. Or, the way I pay attention to what it feels like when I am getting dressed, leaning, or picking things up from the ground. Always a work in progress! I think having to retrain to walk so many times, while vision was poor or double after surgeries, helped me to tune into gravitational pulls, and orient to the surface and incline directly under me AND to the center of the earth. When we have slow recoveries, paying attention to the parts that feed into the whole, and not getting fixated on speed or appearance, probably open up how we perceive the potential of improving. I’ve always been receptive. Never perfect in execution, but it does pay to keep trying and NOT use labels or characterizations that are limiting and discouraging.

We do very well. We are fortunate because we always have much to lose and gain. We decide which angle to focus. I LOVE the feeling every time I sit or stand on my own. When I couldn’t, I didn’t get down because I couldn’t do those, because I was happy I was breathing and had some feeling, and so on.

I hope you don’t assume there’s only one way to go–decline and loss. It may take time and attention on aspects of daily living that used to be automatic, but every bit adds up.

Hugs, Jamie”

* I would edit “never perfect” in another context. We are often perfect in a moment, without awareness of that perfection. (Revert back to main point.) Every little step!

Arms and Hands!

And so it begins again. Another voyage of discovery, prompted by experience and unanticipated convergence. Compassion paired with analytical distance.

I gave him tennis balls and showed him some basic things he can do to regain strength and dexterity. I also predicted he would be able to juggle all three while riding his unicycle the next time I see him. ;-) His wife demonstrated the massaging potential before I suggested it. Keep moving. He is receiving PT at home, and they will probably give him thera-putty and show him a lot more he can do with soup cans, playing cards, coins, and similar household items. A lot comes back just through increasingly taking on one’s own self-care, and I still use my sheets from inpatient and outpatient speech/language, occupational, and physical therapy. His therapist will tailor his program to him, so I didn’t bombard him days before surgery. We should not do too much too soon. Everyone is the same in that we are different in our perceptions, reactions, and micro-level trajectories.

After another challenging steroid taper, I had great difficulty trying to lift and fold hand towels a year ago. Then, some starts and stops, and then all-of-a-sudden, a switch flipped, and I was maintaining my household again and passing the neuro rehab driver’s evaluation. Strength and energy continued to build. I ventured, and continue to reclaim my repertoire. I am amazed everyday at how much has, and continues to, come back for me (for the fifth time, from scratch, in this lifetime). Truly humbling; actions are grace. It wasn’t expected, let alone guaranteed. I honestly believe (still, after all these years!) everyone has a similar level of healing capacity–the time line and specific outcomes are just a giant question mark (and socially dependent, I must add). Survive the backsteps, and keep returning to what we are called to do, in whatever form possible. And plans propagate reality–the positive uncertainty. Fill that space. In flux of an influx. (I am on the cusp of bringing out M-word references coinciding with other movements, past and present.)

In what capacity do we serve best? Here, now.

I continue to think about many of our friends who need strength right now.