59. “I’m not doing that.”

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When we flew home to MD I was still going through my curiosity phase, letting events unfold just to see what would happen next. I let Mom and Dad roll me around in my chair as we met my new doctors and visited my new Rehab Hospital (“The Place”) for the first time. As we sat in The Place’s cheerful waiting area I snagged some candy to suck on from Mom’s purse.  I found that one of the most difficult things for me to do was to use a public bathroom (esp. a new, unfamiliar one), so I avoided drinking when out of the house and sucked on hard candy instead.  Don’t worry – I don’t do that anymore.  I have been pronounced cavity-free by my dentist and now drink more water than I thought possible.

Anyway, we were sitting there when an aide (25) rolled a Light Gait by.  A Light Gait is a harness kind of thing that you put over a treadmill.  I’m using one in the picture above.  I saw the LG roll by and I leaned over, pointed my finger for emphasis, and informed Mom, “I’m not doing that.”

My prior experience with the LG (although a helpful piece of equipment for other patients, I’m sure) had not been something I wished to repeat.  I probably tried it about a week into my stay at Therapy Boot Camp (3rd Hospital).  This was a good thing, PT2 assured me, since it makes it impossible to fall off the treadmill.  At that point I discarded his reassurances as irrelevant since I was confident that I could still walk.  When the appointed time came, PT2 recruited PT3 to be in charge of moving my right leg while he moved the left one.  I was puzzled and distressed that moving my legs was so difficult because I had been hoping that once my PT saw I could in fact walk he’d let me out of that place.  But that’s not how the situation panned out.

Instead, they stuffed towels into the harness to make it more comfortable and I hung on for dear life.  I once watched a video Dad took and my head is bowed at a 45-degree angle since it was still difficult to hold it up normally.  Actually, Tanpo took an entire series of videos, and near the end the LG somehow malfunctioned, or maybe it was the treadmill that had the problem so 23 came over to help as I pushed the harness thing up and down the hall.

When I started lobbying to return to Physical Therapy this summer I told OD31 something like, I’ll do anything my PT tells me to do as long as (s)he knows what (s)he’s doing.  I had been in RecoveryLand long enough to be able to tell who knows how to help me, although I still have no insight into the mysteries of how they actually do that.  So OD3 and OD31 sent me to The New Place where I struck gold again with PT29 and then I got transferred to Planet Rehab where PT37 is proving similarly effective.

A couple of weeks ago PT37 told me she appreciated how I don’t refuse to do anything.  I suppose that’s good since we both know that even if I protested we’d do the activity anyway, so why make it harder?  This turn of events is heavily ironic given my “I’m not doing that,” statement at the beginning of my Outpatient Adventures.  I suppose it speaks to the evolution of my attitude – as my understanding of the fact that parts of this might be permanent my willingness to try anything that will help has grown exponentially.

PT37 also remarked a while ago on how I tell her a lot of jokes.  The thing is they’re not jokes.  They are completely serious statements (e.g. “I want to lie down.”), or true stories about what has happened to me since my brain bled.  I also told her she should be thankful to be treating me at this point in my recovery as opposed to earlier, when I was still subjecting everyone to my special brand of reality testing.

The only time I said I didn’t want to do something was when PT6 told me I was going to “play soccer” with M (21).  “Playing soccer” really meant just kicking a ball back and forth – the challenging part is that you have to stand on one foot in order to kick a ball, hence the therapeutic benefit.   I was terrified and said “But I don’t want to,” rather meekly.  PT6, however, just maintained a good grip on my gait belt and kept on moving me in the direction of M and the ball.  Soccer only lasted a few minutes, thankfully, and I survived.

When K & J came to see me at the 3rd Hospital they saw some of my first Therapy sessions.  Among other things I had to roll a big rubber ball across the table to OT2, or J, I can’t remember.  K & J told me later that they had felt so sorry for me since they know how much I “love” sports.  Whenever my 1st boss used sports analogies on me I’d be completely lost.  Oh, well.  There’s a first time for everything.  And since this injury has put me in a very adventurous mood I’ll try anything.  As long as I can wear a gait belt.  And someone is holding it.