February 27, 2017 by mamacravings
I focus the next several days defying whatever doctors say I am capable of doing. They are a phenomenal team of doctors, armed with years of research and experience. But they had yet to deal with me. They rarely cared for a young mother who needs to be home with her children. It is a drive that cannot be matched.
The doctors say that I will be in the hospital for several weeks which will be followed by at least a month of inpatient rehab for physical therapy. I listen intently. I smile politely. Then I make my own goals.
“Today I will use the bathroom on my own,” I declare one morning at breakfast. My mom raises her eyebrows curiously. It’s an odd statement, certainly one I have never made before, and certainly one I didn’t think I would make at a meal or on a morning when only minutes before I had to use a bedpan to relieve myself. She nods in agreement as if it is a fine goal to make. She doesn’t balk at the goal or challenge it.
The next time the nurse checks on me, my mom asks for a “potty chair” to put next to my bed, as I still cannot walk or even stand on my own.
That day I used the bathroom on my own.
The next morning at breakfast, I declared that I would be standing on my own by the end of the day. And so I did.
Tasks that used to be so mundane, actions for which I forgot to be grateful, suddenly became my greatest feats. New goals are made: taking a step, feeding myself, walking with a walker, holding my baby, pumping without someone holding the bottles to my breasts… Every day there was a new goal. Every day there was a purpose. At breakfast each new declaration is like looking at a mountain. I work. I do not give up. I struggle. I persist. With that drive and with the support of those surrounding me, I recover at a rapid rate.
Before the stroke, I would strive for perfection. Now I strive for authenticity. I celebrate each step towards healing. I am grateful for those who surround me, for a body that is intent on healing, for a God who chose to spare me, for a purpose that is bigger than me.
There is still a long road ahead of me. In the middle of January, I went home. However, I am writing today (27 February) from a hospital bed. I’ve been here nearly a week. Again. My recovery had a bit of a setback. It certainly was not in the plan. I certainly am disappointed to be back on the 6th floor of this hospital, in the familiar hallway of the stroke unit. I am facing this stay in the hospital with the same resolve as the last one, with the drive to get home to my family.
The road is long. It is difficult. I am weary. I am grateful for the journey. Without a doubt I know that along the way, I will learn to be me again.