Thursday, July 12, 2012

Unexpected Progress

It feels like all I’ve been doing is go to work, come home, have dinner & go to bed. It’s not a rut per se, but it has been an ugly cycle.  I have desperately been trying to shift my paradigm back to the more active always-productive Sarah.  Try as I might, I on a plateau with a massive vertical wall in front of me. I’ve searched for a finger & foot-holds. I found some, but when I would climb, but no matter how much progress I made, I lose my grip & slide back down.  People constantly grow & build on skills. When we are tested, it may feel like we’ve experienced a setback, but we’ve actually made progresses because we are a stronger individual than we were prior to gaining the new skills.

Looking back on the enormous energy I expended after surgery to do simple things like get out bed & sit in a chair or shower by myself, the me of today is proud of the me from 18 months ago. But, today, I would not be satisfied with such a mundane existence. I now look for other ways to push myself. Despite these humbling benchmarks, in the day-to-day & week-to-week of living, seeing progress is difficult.

Last week I took advantage of my office closure & had a follow-up appointment with my neurologist on Monday. She administered the standard neurological tests. We started with fine motor, then it was on to gross motor. I walked a straight line, then walked heal to toe. She followed up this malicious examination by having me walk on my tippy toes & then lean my weight on my heals & walk like that. She proclaimed since my last appointment I improved remarkably. I thought she was being kind & even joked when I wobbled on one of the tests that walking a straight line has always been tough & my friends tell me I can’t pass a sobriety test sober. She qualified her remark by noting I had better over-all balance & body control while having a more steady gate. Still thinking she was full of shit, I thanked her graciously had some girl talk about weight loss & then confirmed I my 6-month follow-up.
On Thursday, still thinking she was full of shit, I went for a bike ride. Despite having tires that were a little soft, I noted how much easier cycling was since the last time I road, (which is pushing 3 months ago). I rode to the Chandler Bike Path from my apartment & then the entire path.  (This is a round trip of 10 miles.) Like I did on my first long bike ride, I passed Buena Vista & gave a wave to Providence St. Joseph Medical Center & my caregivers there. I road to the end & & enjoyed the accomplishment as I drank my water.

On my return, I was tired & unsure if I could make it back. I figured more air was in order. I found a NAPA store with a mechanic. He did not accept my offer to purchase air; he just gave it to me. He even got fancy & took out his tire pressure gauge.  I thanked him profusely & road away. Filled with air for my tires & confidence in my heart for my accomplishments, I knew I could make it home. I’m still not setting the world on fire, but my Garmin Forerunner GPS tells me my speed has increased, & I know additional speed will come.