teal's Blog

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cheater + thief + whiner = friends



one of the best thing about rehab was the people i meant there, the nurses,aids,therapists, etc - and the other patients - i had two great roommates - and there were a few other standouts - when they finally decided that the only reason to send me to speech therapy was to get me to talk less, they sent me to a speech/rec group instead, basically it was 4-5 of us playing board games, along with a speech therapist and a rec. therapist, the idea being that people would need to practice thinking, processing, speaking, etc wrapped in a fun activity- we were an eclectic group, there was ray, who didn't speak much, when they'd ask him the rules of a game, trying to get him to, he'd say my name, figuring i could do it easier, one day i looked up and noticed him looking at me with his eyes twinkling followed by a blatant cheating move, after that, whenever id see that twinkle, id tease him about it.... a couple weeks ago i saw him at the pool, didn't recognize him at first, he was upright, using a walker rather well, when id last seen him, he barely could move the wheelchair himself, anyway, walking up the pool ramp, comes this man i didn't recognize, with a big smile on his face, and says to me "i don't cheat anymore" was a very cool thing to see... another member of the group was june... one of the ots had put my laundry in the washer for me one morning and later in the day an aid had moved it to the dryer, when id asked someone to pick it up for me, my favorite purple dress was missing, i was a little upset;but what could i do, during the next couple days, a few people periodically would check the laundry room for me;but there was no sign of it, then on the way to group one day, there was my dress, wheeling in front of me, on june... not wanting to accuse, i waiting till we were seated around the table and i asked "where'd you get the dress?" despite her speech problems, she grinned and said "its yours", lol, it seems that when the aid went to pick up her clothes, she couldn't find any of them, and brought back my dress, thinking it was june's, since she had nothing else to wear, she put it on, the aid kept saying "but, if its not your's.." and june just replied "it's ok, i know who's it is" - she returned it to me after the next washing;but the rest of her stay id refer to her as "the dress thief" and shed reply "looked better on me" - and then there was brenda.... the kind of patient that made it hard on the nurses, constantly depressed, moaning and keening all night, not wanting to do anything, always complaining, etc... then one day she asked to be brought to my room, the nurses were surprised that she was showing an interest in anything;but she just sat there watching me, even though my roommate,charlotte and i tried to draw her into the conversation;but had no success, the nurse came in to get her for dinner and she looked up at me and said "teal, i wish i could be more like you, you make a stroke seem like fun" now, i'm not sure id go quite that far;but it did put things in perspective... unfortunately, brenda never made it home from the hospital, the day she was supposed to be discharged her living/caretaking arrangements fell through and before they found a new one for her, they discovered a recurrence of cancer that had been in remission, unfortunately she had neither the strength nor will to fight anymore; but she taught me the importance of attitude and frame of mind in this fight - it can have a great affect on both our own healing and on those around us - when people say "i don't know how you do it" i just reply "you do what you have to do" - sure i get depressed and frustrated like everyone else;but then i try and not think about what i could do before the stroke;but cant now and instead take joy in all the things i can do now, that i couldn't do right after - all in all, despite it all, i feel really lucky...


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