An Open Letter: To Me
Subject: Things that Need to be Remembered, Or Else! And Some Positive Lessons in Stroke Recovery
Hey Salt! Remember the conflagration that swept through Escondido last month and burned down several of you neighbor's houses. Remember thinking, "I don't have to worry about cleaning the rain gutters until mid-December since it never rains before then in San Diego!"
That sound that made you snuggle under your covers and grab an extra 30 minutes sleep early this morning was rain. And remember the loud sound of a deluge coming over the gutters and splashing all over your walkway that made as you tucked deeply into the blankets?
I certainly know that wild lands fire fueled by Santa Ana winds deposit a lot of ash, and I'm old enough to remember that rooftops collect huge amounts of ash.
All of this is to explain why at 8:30 AM I was up on my roof, getting drenched in a pouring rain with my handy dandy water canon cleaning out rain gutters, which were completely blocked with a thick slurry of muddy fire ash. Nothing more enjoyable than being completely rain soaked, trying to maintain your balance about 12 feet up an aluminum extension ladder cleaning out rain gutters.
The good news is that the task took less than an hour and I now have sparkling clean rain gutters on three-and-half-sides of the house. The last little section can wait until the rain lets up since even I know that the fiberglass deck of a fishing boat is not a good climbing surface. Particularly if the last time you used it you caught a bunch of stinky, greasy squid.
Use your boat to get high enough to muck out rain gutters? Yup, that's my super secret way to clean out the gutters on the side of my house with the boat port. But for once, common sense seems to have overcome my zealous need to clean rain gutters in the middle of a rain storm.
Chores that require me to climb a ladder to get up on my roof make me nervous. Two of the things that were seriously compromised when i had my little brain accident a few years ago were: my balance and my ability to perceive spatial relationships. All of this prefaces why I spent about 15 minutes squatting on my roof in front of the ladder.I reasoned that if I turned myself into a quadruped and backed towards the ladder keeping my fat ass low, I could probably make the descent. Scuttling backwards with my right foot in space over the ladder, i was pretty confident that I had solved the problem.
Just then the rain really kicked in and as it did I heard the sharp crack of lightning, which I saw strike a tall palm tree over on Citrus Avenue. I distinctly remembered that aluminum sitting on ground is an excellent electrical conductor as the same time thunder roared over my hill. "To hell with reason and logic!" I thoughtas I flew down the ladder and retreated to the safety of my garage.
The lesson here for recovering stroke patients is three-fold:
1. Don't be afraid to push your limits, there's a lot that does come back, even if its years after you've had a "brain accident."
2. Fear is a great motivator and therapeutic tool. You'd be surprised at what natural instincts come back when a huge lightning bolt strikes and cleaves a nearby palm tree, leaving you the second highest object sitting on a direct path to ground on a mountaintop skyline.
3. Don't quit believing and don't stop pushing yourself. Do be a Do be and Don't be a Don't Be.
Heh,heh, did I say "Do Be?" I think it's time for some Musica de Los Hermanos. And I'm not talking about men's' choirs singing Christmas music. I need some "kick start the Harley Into Life on a Cold Morning with the Choke Full On" rock and roll.
Jim Forbes drying out with my tongue in the corner of my drooling left cheek on 11/30/2007.