Bob & I spent 4 days on the island of Provodenciales, Turks and Caicos. He has business there and I got to go since I am all unemployed.
We rented a car - a Daihatsu Charade. It definitely was a charade of a car - it looked like a car imitation at best. When closing the doors, it sounds like you are closing the lid of a tin can. Driving there is interesting, it is the only thing which escapes "island time" (the "relaxed" view of time as unimportant). There are tons of roundabouts which is probably the only reason there aren't more accidents and driving fatalities. The upside-down triangle that reads "Give way" is loosely translated as "we view yielding as a judgment call and leave the call up to you". Yow.
The beaches were beyond beautiful - white sand, emerald ocean near the beach and incredible sapphire blue in the deep part. We went scuba diving. I was nervous and accidentally touched some fire coral. I tried so hard not to touch anything to preserve the reef for the next diver. I didn't ruin anything but my skin truly burned from where I touched the coral (their only defense) and I made it my only mission through the rest of the dive NOT to touch anything. I was so focused on this that I missed just how beautiful everything really was - colorful fish, reefs, the clear water. A lot of scuba diving relies on your breathing to stay in a neutral float. I would get so nervous, that I would take a huge deep breath and start floating upward (bad). The instructors were very patient and helped to stabilize me easily. It was a really neat experience.
While on the island, I spent some time alone while Bob worked and just relaxed by the water. I had a realization and am on the brink of another. I not only understand why I had the stroke when I did but now I truly appreciate the timing of it. I was at my most fit and that helped me to recover. Although I have known this all along, I didn't appreciate it.
I also think that to some degree, we don't think we will grow up. It happens so slowly that we realize how lucky we are that we don't have to experience our teens any longer. Or, we realize how much we have grown in knowledge and wisdom. Most of all, the physical age doesn't normally hit us as quickly as the stroke does/did.
One of the biggest problems is that I felt as though I aged 50 years overnight. I could no longer be energetic, walk with ease, be graceful. I was in a wheelchair and graduated to a cane and then to canelessness. While that progression was relatively fast, it wasn't like recovering from a broken leg - once you no longer have the physical reminders of the incident (cast/crutches/cane/whatever), you can pretty much use it just like before. Stroke recovery doesn't work like that. It is so slow, painful, and demoralizing.
I can't wait until I can look back and appreciate the recovery. I already know that I am speaking too soon for that, but I am more hopeful now that I can appreciate the timing. I am hopeful that I *will* get to the point where I will appreciate the recovery.
I already feel like the kid in the back seat "are we there yet?" "are we there yet?"