This summer has been a banner year for travelling and socializing for Ray and me. Not just since the stroke, but in our whole lives. We have been so many places and seen so many far away people. I finally have a few weeks ahead with very little planned, and I'm going to do my best to keep that way. Hopefully we will be ending up the summer in a mellow mood, able to look back and be grateful for all the fun we have had. I'll write about it in bits and pieces over the next few days: We do have a brand new friend stopping by later to help us finish off the last of my cannelloni and meat sauce, sort of an extreme happy hour, but that seems like a breeze to me right now.
Our latest adventure was a four day visit from a priest I became friends with on the internet, not through religion but rather food. We have been talking for at least five years now, so when Ray had his stroke he said daily Masses for him and was very understanding since his mother also had suffered something similar, ending up in a nursing home. I always felt that was part of the reason Ray's recovery was a bit better than originally predicted. Father Dave is an enthusiastic devotee of cooking (and eating well of course) and we are always egging each other on. He is the one who is encouraging me in my foray into canning jams, and getting back into baking breads. We had a very "foodie" time, comparing notes and ideas. Ray wasn't thrilled but why would he be? He did get to eat well though, both at home plus when we got treated to an exotic meal out the last day. Lots of sightseeing, beaches, shopping, we did it all. It was something different, which can never be all bad.
Anyway, just before the priest arrived, I was frantically trying to cook and clean in advance, as usual. Ray was being crabby about the impending visit and wanted something, but the usual "drink? pills? bathroom?" were all angrily rejected by him. So I said, whatever it is, you can do it yourself, I'm not supposed to be waiting on you hand and foot anyway, it's holding back your recovery. Then I went upstairs, before I said anything worse. I hear him get into the wheelchair and move across the house, which he can do fine but usually prefers not to. So I was curious and went down to see what was up. He had gotten into the bathroom and was sitting on the toilet! This was like a miracle to me. I even told the visiting nurse, sure she would chastise me for not being with him, and she said, you still help him in the bathroom? That's crazy! He can do it himself!! Stop enabling him!!
So I'm telling the priest, and he told me an interesting story about his brother. He was totally paralyzed from the neck down in a car accident. They were just going to send him home after he was stabilized, since there was no therapy they could give him at the time. Then the day he was to leave, he moved one of his fingers, so they sent him to a rehab place instead. But he was depressed and wouldn't cooperate. Then they found the solution. If they got him mad, then his adrenaline kicked in and he would suddenly give it his all, as if out of spite, just to show them up. Guess that's what happened to Ray too, he forgot he supposedly "couldn't" go to the bathroom himself and just did it, in a fit of anger. I said to my friend, maybe we should patent this idea. "Mad" therapy, a new psychological direction in modern rehab!