I’ve been at a complete loss for something to write about for the last week. That lasted until mid-day Sunday when my best friend as well as fellow childhood East Fork San Gabriel Canyon explorer Chuck Woerner called.
Know the saying that a good friend “is someone who’s right there beside you when the authorities come.” Well, there we were playing a game of Clue when the juvenile detectives knocked on the door. So yes, my buddy is that kind of friend.
Chuck is one of the readers of my blog and when I write about my deep feelings about nature he’s always been in my mind as I compose a post.
Our lives have paralleled in many ways. And now we face some of the same issues, including having come through a stroke.
I take a lot of pride in the fact that when my buddy had his CVA he called me from his hospital bed. From reading my posts on stroke recovery he understood that it’s something I’m passionate about.
So how do you translate your thoughts on stroke recovery into tangible deeds?
There’s no question that sometime in the next week I’m going to drive up to his home at the top of the grapevine on I-5 and spend as much time as I can with him.
The overwhelming emotions that ruled my life post stroke was a combination of fear and uncertainty. Sensing that in my friend, I’ve recommended that he look into an at-home rehab program, such as the one I used and recommend, Gentiva health Services’ Rehab Without Walls \www.gentiva.com.
Looking back at my life immediate post stroke, my fears were: being unable to care for myself, losing my drivers’ license and losing my career. The word “uncertainty” encompasses all that I felt in the first 11 months after my stroke.
Then there was the small matter of my useless left hand. Rehab helped me restore basic mobility but fine motor skills are still absent in my left hand.
One of the things that helped me regain some control was an unusual series of exercises I did in an adaptive PE class in San Mateo and more recently here in Escondido.
I smile at the simplicity of the exercise: drop pennies or dimes on the bottom steps of a pool and pick them up. My success at performing this simple feat was a major personal accomplishment.
The whole adaptive PE program at the College of San Mateo was a big help in restoring my confidence. And, I’m not ashamed to admit I rode “the short bus” to that class. Another of my best friends, Dr. Andy Sobieski, suggested I take the class, which for me was equal parts basic physical conditioning and self-confidence building.
One of the points I want to make with my friend who had a recent stroke is not to isolate or become overly self-conscious about a stroke related disability.
So, I am about to practice what I’ve been advocating here: and In the process I’ll spend time with a lifelong buddy that’s going through a shared experience.
Dive into life post stroke, Chuck, I know you can do it and you’ll smile (perhaps lopsided) at your accomplishments—Jim Forbes on 06/06/2010.