55. Progress

Ai Ai's ganache tartlets from Saturday

Ai Ai’s ganache tartlets from Saturday

My sister had a nervous moment a couple days ago:  she feared that she did not have enough food to serve at Tea on Saturday.  So she did what any normal person would do – she called Baker Smurf.  Mommy recounted the list of things Ai Ai said she had already made for me.  She hadn’t even gotten through half the list and I was like, “Oh yeah, that girl totally has enough food.”  Then Mommy said Ai Ai made curry puffs and I said, “She knows how to make curry puffs?”  Yes, Mommy confirmed, my sister has apparently been making them for years.  I just haven’t been around to enjoy them.  I was deeply impressed by that girl’s skill.  Since if she can do it, maybe there’s hope for me (provided I eventually go back to OT, Le Cordon Bleu for disabled persons).  We have made major progress since the early days of my sister’s marriage when cooking was more of an involved process.  She’s come a long way, and Baker Smurf didn’t raise no fool.  Neither did Mrs. R.  She has completed the “raising” phase of parenthood but since she is geographically near to K she was able to help her out as K prepared to host Tea.  The results were fabulous.

I’ve made some progress, too (although some areas have seen regression lately).  Last Thursday was my Eval day at PT.  Like The Place, Planet Rehab does evaluation testing every 30 days.  In my 6-7 months at The Place I arrived in my wheelchair and walked out on my two feet (with the aid of my rollator).  We did part of the last test (my exit eval) without any assistive device, which was huge for me.  In the middle of the evaluation I was lying on the mat and then asked PT6, “Is this the part where I beat you up?”  No, it wasn’t.  Well, I was just checking to see if anything had changed since last time.

I tried to hand Leo the Cane to PT37 last Thursday but she suggested I leave Leo behind with Mommy instead.  “Are you sure?”  I queried, feeling like Linus being robbed of his blanket.  She was sure and then we did the whole test sans assistive device.  She had to catch me a couple times, but she knows how to do that sort of thing and I’ve been in rehab long enough to know which activities I should warn her might be more “exciting.”  I then went to the pool, which I was nervous about since I got sick last week and my walking went downhill, but everything was fine – I was just pooped after.

In other breaking news I’ve made enough piano progress that I convinced J to let me be the accompanist at Tea at K’s house. (“J, this is the perfect opportunity – the bar is set really low for me.”)  It really is good for me since I’ve been told from the beginning that playing the piano is a fantastic therapeutic activity.  I’m still managing only one note at a time with the left hand (with an occasional octave thrown in) but I try to put enough distraction in with the right hand that hopefully people won’t notice too much.   My practice time has been limited by 1) the length of time I can tolerate sitting on the piano bench (my back gets really sore since getting sick), 2) The fact that I am exhausted by 5.30 pm and must therefore play early in the morning, and 3) my eyes.  I have long “pretended” to play by ear (told you I was a good faker), but I lack the skill to just sit down and play, or to play with my eyes closed, which is what my body really feels like doing.  So I asked Tanpo to print some song sheets for me and I “tabbed” (like on a guitar) my carols then highlighted the lyrics in 3 colors to help me keep my place.  When I’m reading I often can’t make it from one line to the next without mistakenly jumping around, which is very disruptive to my piano playing.  So we’re going to see how it pans out.  Thanks for letting my try, J!  (Update:  it went okay – I’ll write more about it tomorrow.)

I’m going to go take Ed out of his pumpkin suit.  That is a sign of progress, too – it’s now December!  My recovery is no longer the exciting story of me waking up and being able to do lots of things people weren’t sure I’d be able to, now it’s the story of me trying to regain more things I lost.  To quote Tanpo, sometimes it’s like watching grass grow.  Since I’m impatient, watching grass grow is not my favorite activity in the world.  Right now I have some real things to celebrate (e.g. my no-cane testing and my piano attempt) but doing things like dressing Ed in a pumpkin from October to November helps me create reasons to celebrate the mere passage of time.