Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sunday Stroke Survival~ Lessons Learned

Here lately I've been thinking of a mini vacation. The fact that Dean just got back from Italy really started the thought. Darn you Dean!

But then I remember two years ago I blogged about needing a vacation to get away from it all. I was actually planning a writer's retreat of sorts. The gist was to tie up all the loose ends of various books I'd planned to publish shortly. Eat food someone else prepared, no having to worry about housekeeping, to be waited on hand and foot, giving no thought to time, or my husband's care, you know getting away from my regular routine. The kind of pampering everyone needs or wants to recharge their batteries.

Getting away from it all for the first time in ten years. I'd planned for a Memorial Day weekend.  I was planning several months in advance because as any caregiver knows, there are a million things to take of. Spontaneity flies out the window as a thing long forgotten.

Well I got what I asked for. I had a stroke. Now, I can think of several hundred other things that would be more fun and infinitely cheaper. But I got what I asked for. No housekeeping. No cooking. Time away from home. No caregiver duties. Half the time I had no idea whether it was day or night or even what day it was and didn't even care. Waited on hand and foot by others. Every need was taken care of by others.

So these days I'm careful what I wish for. Yes, I would like to go shopping just because and take my time instead of rushing, but my ongoing pressure sore issue makes that a problem. I'd love to go swimming or to the beach, but wiggling out of a wet swimsuit and changing into street clothes is too energy draining just thinking about it. I'd love to take a trip anywhere, but the hospital and I don't mean the falling down kind either. I need a break instead of jumping every time something crashes. I just need a break and I don't mean breaking bones.

The days of my husband wanting me to go out and remember that I'm still living or not on death watch are over. My kids have moved on with their lives as they should. Finally after almost forty year, it's not Momma to the rescue. I should be happy, but I'm not. If not happy then relieved, but I'm not. I am truly an empty nester. Yahoo! Huzzah! I trained them well.

This is not what I expected it to be like. I pictured being free to travel. To be able to do what I want, when I wanted to. Didn't I deserve it? Didn't I earn it? To be honest, I traveled more in the first forty years of my life than the past twenty and that's with kids in tow. I had more freedom with five kids than I do now. My hubby that I was supposed to grow old with is now dying earlier than anyone expected. I'm trapped in a half paralyzed body that just won't behave.

But life is like a roller coaster with dips, turns, and loop-de-loops. It makes the journey less boring and never dull. Every turn brings something new. Lessons learned through pain and trial bring a hard won victory. If it was easy, how boring would that be? Yes, the dips, turns, and loop-de-loops could be less drastic, but then would victory or the triumph somehow be less?

At times I jokingly say to someone, "Want to trade lives?" They shake their heads vehemently in the negative. They walk away being grateful that they don't have my life. But then again, my life isn't so bad. It could always be worse. I could be sitting on the pity pot nonstop and regretting what is gone. I could refuse to see how enriching each twist, dip, and turn away from the expected is. I could stop looking at the glass half full instead of empty...NAH! That just ain't me.

As "bad" as my life is on the roller coaster, there's another one just another one a little farther down the strip that has more plummets, is twice as tall, and has mega corkscrews. On second thought, I'm happy and content with my own coaster. I could be that guy white knuckled, eyes wide with fear, the g-force pulling his facial features out of the norm, and too terrified to scream. While breaking away from what you know is a wonderful thought, there is the unknown out there to be afraid of.

Nothing is impossible with determination.


  1. Hi Jo - you deserve a holiday ... but at least you recognise you could be worse off ... and life could be much more difficult - troubling for us to think about ... you are an incredible role model for us though .. and the family are extremely lucky to have such a strong mother and wife.

    I can only offer my support over the net .. with many thoughts - Hilary

  2. Even a few hours could be considered a holiday break.
    There are those with worse lives. And those who will have far worse afterlives...
    Always thinking about you, JL.

  3. Tom once showed me a photo of a guy chin-deep in a flood, holding a five-pound bag of rice over his head. " He's gotta feed his family," he said. Now whenever he's unhappy, he thinks of that guy; at least he doesn't have that to overcome. On the other hand, when he reminds me of the rice-toting man, I think about all the people in the world who should have enough to eat, but don't - not to make me feel better, but to spur myself to do something to help.

    I want everyone to live life in my situation - not homeless, hungry, sick, and/or alone.

  4. Yeah, I'm extremely extremely careful about what I wish for now.

  5. WOW what a powerful post for me today. I'm in the middle of a pitty party and reading your words really makes me stop and think. Thank you so much. I hope you get a break (and not from bones) that you deserve. I too am careful what I wish for.


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