I had an appointment last week that left me rattled. Upset for days – which is why I’m writing this. I’m hoping to get it out of my system. It actually really helped me to read 431. When the Journey… It hadn’t been posted yet, so I read the “draft” form I had loaded into WordPress. Remember when I said I’ve started writing for myself? I wasn’t kidding.
I spend a lot of time and energy acting like everything is fine – I project that I’m up for the challenge, mental, or physical, since this sort of behavior invites the kind of treatment I think will take me to the next level of wellness. (Side note: Since this isn’t a pretense but the result of studied effort, it’s totally working. Thanks, guys!) But the undercurrent I try to forget about is that I routinely feel unsure of myself and vulnerable while I adjust my public-facing game face and my private ruminations.
What do I mean? Well, I often have discussions that go like, Did XYZ really happen? And more often than not the answer is No, that didn’t happen – that was a dream. Or, maybe the answer is Yes – that happened while you were asleep. Either way, there are mental hiccups in my awareness that blur the line between reality and imagination that are confusing for me. There is also a sense of uneasiness around questions like, Will I return to this place? Will I see that person again? Will my leg take my weight? Will my hand do what I want it to? This is on top of the monumental confusion that accompanied the growing understanding that this really happened when I woke up. Back then I was very passive as the medical professionals around me treated me. As I get better I’ve started seeking treatment as an active participant. Sometimes I strike gold. At other times I walk away feeling utterly helpless and exposed to the elements.
I’ve been told I used to be extremely controlled and I always presented a polished professional exterior. And then my brain bled and everything I had kept under wraps for 30 years spilled out. Hey, at least it’s entertaining. Maybe not for me, especially at first. It’s better now since I obviously love to laugh and find plenty of fodder in RecoveryLand, but I still find it galling to undergo the scrutiny that comes with Disability paperwork reporting and giving my health history at new places. In a lot of ways my life is an open book now, but some things I still have trouble verbalizing.
But I’m getting stronger and am learning to manage my own health outcomes more so than when I used to show up at a medical office or rehab hospital simply bc my last Rehab Team told me to. (Or told my parents to.) This results in some trial and error, e.g. when I did some phone screening for Team Tanimal and talked to that person who made me so mad I had to air my grievances in 370. Sizing Up the Competition. After that experience I came home and talked to Coach R about “running” more and doubled my time at The Running Gym. I am SO happy about that decision and am grateful to Coach R and my parents for making it happen logistically :).
After that rattling appointment I went to see Gen, who made it better, but was still rattled enough to talk w Coach R about it a couple days later. His line of questioning indicated that he was, like me, expecting deeper answers, but by then I had synthesized my thoughts enough to summarize it succinctly within 30 seconds and he understood. He wasn’t pleased, mind you, but he understood.
Aaah, well, I dismissed it. I’ve spent the last year putting the right people in place so I wouldn’t be wholly dependent on what the healthcare system is serving up that day.
It’s true – as I’ve improved I’ve had some medical encounters lately that have left me with the feeling, Hey – glad you’re doing well…. Good luck with that. (Side note: There are exceptions to this – and I’m grateful for true interest and help when I can get them. Also, I’m not referring to the end of my Outpatient Career. Getting discharged from Rehab, despite my verbal bluster, is a good thing.)
But it’s also not true in that I didn’t really “put” these people in place. I might have done a little research, but I found Trainer D, Coach R, and Gen on my first try. CMD was a referral from my cousin (thanks, JE!! Xo). A month+ ago I had one of those experiences that left me feeling terrified and vulnerable – I referenced it in 411. Watchful. It took a few days but I reached the tipping point – I realized that God didn’t bring me this far for nothing, and I felt the pressure release from my heart as I remembered that I’m on the winning team here.
But even though I know God’s on my side and that’s enough, He has generously given me human proof, too. Although that situation stressed me out to the point of psychosomatic symptoms it was worth it to hear Team Tanimal’s professions of support. These people are a hardcore combination of skillfulness and kindness.
Okay, I think it’s out of my system now. I’m just trying to do my duty and go get checked out officially as I encounter well-people problems that are new to me. But the bottom line is that this is a new phase of Recovery that God has prepared me for. A couple of weeks ago Trainer D said simply, “You’re ready for this.”