What Happened While I Was Away?

There have been no posts on here for a while for a number of reasons, none of which should have been enough to have held me back from the keyboard this long. Let’s just say that I don’t know that I would be able to maintain any flow of thought or subject matter. Enough about our world has changed that I’m sure none of you feel like you are where we were at since last anything showed up here anyhow. That being what it is, please allow me to begin again and share some thoughts from the mind of just another sojourner trying to make sense of a world turned upside down. Hopefully some that were with me are still here. Let’s begin again, shall we?

It wasn’t so long ago that we were chanting about a fight for our right, and the funny thing is although we chanted for that right, I am sure that we never actually lost that right at the time or at any time since. There is evidence of that all over the place. It seemed like the entire society we lived in was more concerned with going ahead and doing what they were chanting to maintain than they were a about losing their right to do it.

I’m talking of course about fighting for our right to party. The Beastie Boys catchy tune was a way for all of us to cut loose and have fun, but I am very doubtful that any of us were actually concerned that we were losing that right. Fast forward out of 1987 and take a rocket ride to 2022. The world we face is not the same kind of world at all. The reason they could chant and sing about so frivolous a right to fight for back then was because it seemed to all of us that we had progressed into an era where our society had instantiated our personal rights and freedoms so firmly that no one could lose them. Here in Canada, just 5 years prior to the brash and screaming music of the Beastie Boys, if you could call it music, we had all breathed a sigh of relief as our personal rights and freedoms as citizens of a free nation were folded neatly into the Canadian constitution as a part of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Now, it was thought, no government either Provincial or Federal could change them at a whim. It would take real effort and significant time and convincing to do away with any one of those rights. Those rights were what Canadians valued most about living in a free and democratic society where each human was seen as equal and deserving of equal treatment. It would be a shock to the system of any good Beastie Boy fan to find out that in 2022, fighting for rights has taken on significantly more gravitas!

With the continuation in the year 2022 of what has been called a global pandemic, a fact that some have come to question due to limited supporting data, the politicians in some countries seem determined to strip citizens of their lawful and hard earned rights and freedoms for the sake of some ill conceived end. For those like myself who were more than familiar with those rights it is almost beyond belief that we would be seeing this absurdity play out as it has. Why am I as familiar with those rights and freedoms as I claim to be? For many of the recent years of my life I have been teaching adults with disabilities about their rights. With a capacity and concern different than most Canadians, part of my duty as a support worker was to on a regular basis pick a right, any right, from among all of the fundamental rights every citizen has, and teach it to the individual I was working with at the time. There was no exception to who was entitled to these rights. However it knocked the wind out of me to experience the swiftness and callousness that were connected to the stripping of my own personal rights as a citizen as I chose to carefully consider whether or not I wanted to get vaccinated with the experimental MRNA gene therapies that were being administered to citizens in order to fight the virus that is going around. To be sure, the virus is real, and it has a significant and sometimes deadly effect on those that contract this strange new illness, but at a contraction lethality rate of less than 1% that of small pox, to say the least it is difficult to understand why so disproportionate a response has been unleashed upon it. Let’s return to the issue of personal rights and freedoms.

If you are unaware that rights and freedoms are being stripped from citizens, maybe it is appropriate to revisit what the rights and freedoms are that have been taken away during these insane times. Maybe it is time to actually revisit the Charter of Rights and Freedoms so that you are aware of what has up until now been considered something that was yours and was not to be taken from you.

Both you and I have a right to the following freedoms at all times as a citizen of this country.

1 The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

Fundamental Freedoms

Marginal note:Fundamental freedoms

2 Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:

  • (a) freedom of conscience and religion;
  • (b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
  • (c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
  • (d) freedom of association.

In addition to the above fundamental freedoms, the following also applies in this case.

Mobility Rights

Marginal note:Mobility of citizens

  • 6 (1) Every citizen of Canada has the right to enter, remain in and leave Canada.
  • Rights to move and gain livelihood

(2) Every citizen of Canada and every person who has the status of a permanent resident of Canada has the right

  • (a) to move to and take up residence in any province; and
    • (b) to pursue the gaining of a livelihood in any province.

If you care to actually read the whole Charter, it is free and readily available online and there are wall hanging posters that you can buy if you are into that kind of thing. For the purpose of this conversation I believe that the difference lies not in what the charter affords us as rights and freedoms, but whether or not the situation we find ourselves in merits the denial of these rights and freedoms. When it really comes down to the meat of the matter, the primary discussion could have and should have been around the very first emboldened and underlined statement. If this situation were truly about a global pandemic and our government was truly looking out for the best interest of the citizens of this country, why wouldn’t they have had immediate, open and rigorous debate in the houses of parliament both federally and provincially? In order to be subject to the reasonable limits contained in the law there could and should have been open and fulsome debate and discussion for all to see what was going on in where those who had a particular reason for denying those rights and freedoms could DEMONSTRABLY JUSTIFY what they were deeming necessary and they would have put reasonable limits on the suspension from the very beginning. This is what we expected of our constitution and charter from the beginning. There are mechanisms in place to have fast tracked this to judicial review almost immediately. Why then were none of these things actually protected by their original intent and why too was there no process to make sure that we honored our law and our freedoms? It leaves those who have been pushing these agendas right from the beginning wide open to the charges of conspiracy theorists and those who would enact civil disobedience. These are no small matters of minutia to dispute. These issues are the fundamental core of our societal values. That statement alone leaves me to wonder why the Prime Minister of our country would have recently uttered the words that there are no Canadian values. I hope all of us realize that we are well within our rights and in fact charged with the duty of questioning the validity of all that is going on. It looks like our government is working quickly and diligently to make sure we are unable to do that.

I for one as a citizen would be willing and able to be satisfied with the measures that were decided upon by effective leadership if and only if the fundamental laws and procedural mechanisms that had been put in place to protect us were being followed. But they are not! Where does this leave us? We are dividing and putting more space between tribal groups of citizens and are quickly seeing the fabric of our nation being torn asunder. We are pitting neighbor against neighbor, friend against friend, family member against family member. And the media and pollsters gladly feed that because it gets more clicks and attention than when neighbors, friends and family simply ignore the media and defy the insanity to come together as community as we once did. Why are you afraid of a 99.5% survival rate? Why are you afraid of community and civility? Why do some seem to want to repeat the horrible bits of history that generated all the work of making laws and charters and societies that valued the individual?

This is all able to come to a screeching halt right now. All we have to do is say NO. Say no and move on. Ignore the news, the polls, the negative things that are dividing us. The only thing that we should not ignore is the fact that our government is not assisting with building society in any constructive way. The government is not assisting with the greater good by providing directives that help more people live healthy and productive lives as citizens of our once great nation. Ignoring that would be to our further detriment. We need to rise up in force and number and say a resounding NO! If you’re willing to join me, let me know. I’d be happy to provide encouragement and resources.

For now…

This is Darcy the Campfire Philosopher.

You people

In 1997 Don Cherry said “you people” should be wearing a poppy. What changed? 6 million new immigrants in Canada in the last 21 years.

Posted by Politikal Memes on Saturday, November 16, 2019

 

You people who come here… to read a blog listen up. I have something to say.

I don’t watch hockey. I’m not sure whether that qualifies or disqualifies me from making a statement on the latest imbroglio by someone of the right wing persuasion. So I guess taking a page from the Grapes book and speaking my mind all the same is fitting. If I’ve got half a mind to share with others, that’s all it takes.

Much has been made about the fact that Don Cherry had his freedom of speech trampled upon. Yet more hay has been made over the fact that this very concept of “freedom of speech” is uniquely American and that we only have “freedom of expression” in our Charter of Rights and Freedoms. And I say that to the average mind, that sounds pretty much the same with the few words “expressing” it with the slightest of variation in order to occupy the most unengaged California lawyer around. In other words, it’s the same thing!

Let’s look at the actual wording though and see what it says. Section 2(b) of the charter actually states: “freedom of thought, belief, opinion AND EXPRESSION…”. I like that. It opens up the scope of all of our freedoms. It seems to give license for saying what’s on my mind. I have gone outside the law at times in my life and done things without license (cue the memory of driving to town in my father’s farm truck at the ripe old age of 13 with no adult supervision) but the proper authority is always nice. I don’t think thats where the weight of the document is. Let’s go back to section 1, the opening line of the Charter.

“The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limts prescribed by law as can be demonstratobly justified in a free and democratic society.”

This opening line makes me think that it’s not exactly what we say, but what we say as judged by the ruling mindset of the particular day we say it on. Why else would Don Cherry be able to say nearly the exact same thing in 1997 and get away with it? Let’s face it; some things change, like the times we live in, but some people (maybe not you people) don’t. For me, and maybe yourself, you’ve realized that it really is a matter of what you are willing to say out loud in public… and stand by it. If you speak “your truth”, it had better be THE truth and be worth every consequence associated with standing by what you’ve said. Where the charter of rights shrinks to the background, courage of conviction has to step forward. Maybe this is just me talking, but I for one am willing to make bold truth statements in public and stand by them. You can show me where I may be wrong, but you won’t be able to tell me that what I’ve said offends you. It just doesn’t work that way for me.

Now wear a poppy and honor our troops.

#Best Life Ever.

Trending as of late is a catchy hashtag notion of doing the activities that you love and fulfilling the desires you’ve stashed away in your heart. Don’t deny yourself. Life is truly too short to abstain from anything. You wouldn’t want to lose out on all life has to offer. #bestlifeever! What’s more is you should not let yourself get away with slumbering through the best opportunities you may get. Push yourself by asking more of yourself, and asking more of life in general.

It’s difficult not to notice the first world ostentatiousness dripping off this fad from all corners. The stereotypical picture to go along with this hashtag is the trim bodied fitness nut donning lulu lemon yoga pants in the most impressive yoga pose possible while holding a Starbucks Unicorn Frappacinno at sunrise on the beach. When I see this proposed picture of a “best life”, I begin to wonder if these things are truly part of a best life… for anyone! Many of the preachers of this gospel are in fact those that have suffered a major setback, injury, loss or challenge. Why would these things constitute the best this world has to offer?

Not to be outdone by the gurus of this new way of thinking, I can be seen in the picture in my comfortable stretchy pants, doing an impressive made up yoga pose I call the discharging dog while holding my blueberry mochachino at the crack of 3 in the afternoon. Sunrise is completely looney to shoot for!

Because I heard a famous speaker refer to the movie Chariots Of Fire some time ago and heard the story of Eric Liddle recounted, I think of it often. The segment of the movie referred to is the line where the Scottish Olympic runner tells his girlfriend, “I believe that God made me for a purpose… for China (as a missionary). But He also made me fast, and when I run, I feel His pleasure. To give it up would be to hold Him (God) in contempt. You were right… it’s not just fun. To win is to honor Him.” Purpose and pleasure don’t seem to make very good partners. Balance often eludes the best of us; this is a club which refused my membership before I applied.

Instead of spending our hard earned cash on yoga pants and lattes, we may be able to find pleasure in the ordinary and mundane, revelling in simple actions that we accomplish well at any given moment in our lives. Things that give us pleasure through simply accomplishing them are the prizes we take in a normal and real life. Not all of us are in a position to claim Olympic medals, Oscars or Pulitzers in highly esteemed activities. Are simple activities of everyday people as significant? I want to submit that they are even more important.

I haven’t written for some time, mostly due to the requests I have been receiving to do the things I was involved in prior to my accident. Although nervous and scared everyday, I get phone calls to come back. Hard earned abilities acquired over the years served others well and those I worked with recognized their value. Thank God! I will not understate the toll my battle with medications has had on me during this recovery process. All the same, I choose not to dwell on it. Suffice it to say it is the second great loss of my whole ordeal beginning last September. All my midget mind needs as cue to stand up and fight is to be knocked down. Even when the energy to fight reads empty on the guage, I cannot seem to muster the will to budget my efforts for the long term. It is full throttle until the energy to keep going is completely gone.

It was in the mud and mess of an irrigation repair with a foggy medicated mind that a vision of #bestlifeever hit me. I could feel the pleasure of being able to make my hands dirty and tired as I fixed a broken irrigation part. There was pleasure in simply being able to accomplish the tasks that I had become familiar with. I don’t need a special drink or special pants or specific exercises at a crazy time of day. Value in ordinary tasks is there if we look for it. Finding pleasure in life can come from dirty hands in a muddy hole with the taste of sweat in your mouth and the sting of rocks under your knees. All of this could have been taken from me, so the taste is much sweeter as I drink it all in. #bestlifeever

Sunshine After The Rain

Some mornings I sit and stare out the window at nothing and let my mind wander. Sometimes I’m instantly warmed by the vision I see. It’s easy when the sun is shining, its rays warming me through the window. Other mornings, there’s an overcast sky and I see the dread on the faces of those around me and in the posts on social media. I’m disappointed hearing people use phrases like, “I don’t feel like Mondaying” or seeing pictures of someone in anguish with the tag line, “When you think it’s Friday but it’s actually only Thursday”. Before the stroke, I was amused at the sentiment, but since, I’ve found myself in a different space.

Today, while I write, it’s raining again. There’s a part of me that looked out the window as I got out of bed and whispered “more of the same!”, as though I should be bored with it and ready to move on. Fortunately the rest of my mind woke up and shouted back, “you missed the point, dummy! It’s MORE!” Mr. Shout inside my head is right, and thankfully, he’s there to catch me and keep me from lazy thinking. My near miss accident has made me exceptionally grateful for every moment of every day. Does that mean I should ignore engagement with the mundane and always focus on the bigger picture? I don’t think so. I can still be caught up in the news or politics or think about the future impact of using too much toilet paper every time I clean my turd launcher, but the fact that I have a day to enjoy is not lost on a man who has had to take stock at how close the axe came to his own neck.

I’ve been busy the last few days, involved in a project that has been stewing on the back burner for nearly 2 years. The results of the project, once complete, will be more than eye catching and attractive. It’s one of those projects that an aspiring designer would give anything to have in his portfolio. I like to dream of myself as an aspiring designer. The project could be astounding, if my designing eye was set loose. It certainly gives new meaning to the phrase “wandering eyes”.

The difference is dramatic. See for yourself.

Lately, for the first time in business, I find it difficult to engage in the race. So what if the rabbit is there; my chase instinct has been replaced with the desire to simply toy with it. But, as Dr. Phil would diagnose, “That dog don’t hunt!” I understand the need to chase after work and make an income for my wife and family. I just have no enthusiasm to deal with the urgency and stress of making it happen. The importance of everything has come up for question. Questioning the value of any endeavor should be ongoing throughout life, if our endeavors are to have any value, but that questioning gains strength if one has recently taken a severe hit. At least it has for me, even though I tend to be a terrible judge of what’s best for me.

For the first time in life, I find myself grateful every morning that I’m breathing and still have the functioning of the body God gave me. When a person’s had a life altering experience, the desire to make an impact with actions simple and complex becomes acute. Mindfulness is not just about being aware of your inner state, but also about being aware of how you’re interacting with everything around you. I’ve come to realize how many bits of my life I had become careless with, not recognizing their value and potential. When one isn’t living this from the inside, it looks intense, giving so much attention to every moment. A person may feel like they’re wrung out like a dishcloth at the end of each day. However, this is upside down thinking and does nothing to capture the essence of what’s going on. The dishcloth gets wrung out by external forces expelling every last ounce of what’s inside. You can be that force upon your own life. Here’s the startling truth; when seeking the value of every moment of every day, you transform yourself from the dishcloth to the sponge. A sponge can also be squeezed out completely, but in doing so the vacuum ready to draw in something fresh and new is created simultaneously. There’s room for more!

Rainy days, the first day of the new week, having to work one more day before the weekend, can sap the life out of you if you’re a dishcloth. But you can also be a sponge! Seeking the value in every moment of every day can create the vacuum within you to draw in something new and fresh. The point really is that IT’S MORE! Replacing duty with opportunity makes it so that even more rain is welcome. Take that opportunity for what it is. Rain is beautiful, even if it is followed by sunshine.

The Big Bounce

Back a number of years ago when I was working as a counsellor, terms like resiliency and support network were huge buzz words or phrases.  For all I know, they are still popular phrases that counsellors use. In fact, every profession seems to have pet terms and jargon that they religiously spew out every time their mouths open. If a person were to purposely try to avoid using those terms, they would just drill in deeper like earworms and find their way out your pie hole anyways. Inevitable. Like water in the mouth of a swimmer that makes you ill if you don’t spit it out. I need to let you know right now that I have no real objection to the words or concepts. It’s just that they were at every turn, to the point of overuse and nausea. Used correctly, they were full of meaning and impact. But in the mind and mouth of someone who just wanted to be on trend and “current”, they also had the potential to fall flat and sound empty. Almost like eating a cardboard picture of a really delicious looking juicy burger.

I always marvelled at how some people seemed to so flippantly use the concepts and not really show a solid grasp of their implications. During my time as a counsellor, I honestly tried to offer solid help for anyone who came to me and asked for it. Some issues were much too complex for me to work through and were referred on to someone with more letters after their name; still others were so intriguing that I persisted in giving them a shot with potential future referral if I saw that they were truly too complex. It doesn’t take long in counselling to start to recognize those that have a great chance of moving through an issue fairly quickly. Let me return to one of those buzzphrases. “Support network” is the one I’m thinking of right now. For me, I always envisioned it like a trampoline. Mad and crazy bounces were not an issue if you were confident in the springs and the bed of the tramp.

Sometimes it takes quite a bit to get used the idea that the tramp will work for you in order to really let go and jump like a pro. Using the tramp to it’s maximum potential could only happen if you let go and trusted in the bed and springs. Our oldest son was just such a person. When he first tried the tramp, he was as stiff as gumby and would hold his rigid pose on every bounce. There musn’t have been any comfort in it, but he persisted in jumping as if to limber up all the stiffness by simply pushing himself past the fears that held him in that pose. On the one hand it was amusing…on the other it was inspiring. We never took any pictures of it because those were the days where digital cameras were just coming into use and the camera we had still used the rolls of film. Memories were much more personal from that era. We may be losing our memory, or the use of it because we have so many pictures of everything. I value those things that only I have seen in the privacy of a non photo era. But I’ve gone off the rails. Lets get back to the topic at hand.

When it comes to the trampoline of life, what kind of things do you look for to help you bounce back? What are the springs? What are those resiliency factors that should be developed and built into your life to help you bounce back when things go south?  I used to work with 5. In no particular order they were Physical, Mental, Social, Emotional and finally but most importantly Spiritual.

 

It’s not common in this era to actually visit the spiritual aspects of your life. For those like me who do include the spiritual in their lives, we have come to realize how essential it is to the overall process of bouncing back. Some things that people look to for the kind of help that will get them bouncing back are actually anchors and chains that pull them down. Wealth of money is a chain that seems to be a good source to sustain you. And sure enough, it will be connected to the frame, but it is not a spring. Fame is another of the anchor series that mislead people to believe they have something to bounce back on but it is anything but.

Developing your spiritual life is essential. You can only go so far with the things of this earth. When things get critical we always look beyond. I hinted on the details of a situation I experienced while in rehab with 3 other roommates. If it wouldn’t have been so serious on the one hand, I would have laughed out loud at my roommate. He would talk pretty crass all day long and on a number of occasions he would badmouth God or belief in God, or the people would bring that topic up. It was very clear from his language and attitudes that he didn’t hold any of it any kind of esteem, let alone have any common respect for those things. He complained bitterly about the hospital food because there was far too much vegetable matter and the meat portions were not at all tasty. Although I didn’t disagree with him on the meat part, I wondered how long until all of this went south and caused a stalemate. At one point in time, his injuries and medications, and lack of physical activity and that marvelous diet he had (his son would visit and bring him Mary Browns fried chicken and gravy and potatoes, of which I partook at one point in time through his generosity) finally came to a screeching halt. All day he spent in huffing and puffing agony as his tennis ball sized diamond in the rough knocked at the door but couldn’t make it a slam dunk. Without any success, the skies grew dark and the lights of the room went out in our room. All night long he cried out saying, “Oh God, please help me.”

I get the fact that he may have been calling on God in vain, so to speak. He probably used His name in a phrase that was common but had no meaning to him personally. It got me thinking though. My roommate was unable to honestly and earnestly call on anything greater than himself in times of real anguish and struggle. And there are times when the circumstance goes beyond mere human capacity. I accept this reality of my transcendent anchor and have the ability to call out to God when things are beyond my capacity. That is one mondo huge spring to bounce back on. Seemingly, I have had a swift recovery from my stroke so far. That is what I hear from the doctors and physio people and the friends that have had a chance to connect since the stroke.  Although I have a lot of work yet to do, I am well on my way. I for one am very sure of the fact that there is power beyond me and as I tapped into that power for hope and courage and persistence to bear the load on the rocky road I had to walk, and am still walking, God has indeed done the heavy work of bouncing me back from the big fall I took. There is a peace and assurance that I am well taken care of in the hand of God, my transcendent caretaker and provider. Maybe that looks cavalier or overconfident to some, evidence of personal determination and drive to others, but I truly know how much that part of my life really comes into play. And that it has nothing to do with me other than the willingness to look beyond myself for the strength I need on a daily basis. If anyone who reads this is struggling with the sheer magnitude of the fall they have taken, I would be more than willing to share.

The Deep Dark Hole

For a couple of months now I have been feeling like I’m falling into a deep dark hole. There was a feeling of optimism and I was on a real strong trajectory forward before Christmas with steady daily progress and the return of what had been lost. And then the doctor started playing with my meds. Since he has been jacking around with the dosage levels, things seemed to be going downhill ever so slowly but surely. I know right? Those of you who have been keeping up with the blog and/or facebook have seen the picture evidence of my 6 kilometer hikes, my family excursions up mountains (more like molehills in comparison, but mountains nonetheless) and numerous other things that don’t fit into the tale I’m trying to tell you right now.

The truth of the matter is I was feeling like I was on a constant downhill roll with my body giving off more aches and pains every day. My muscles were cramping or painful and my joints were constantly feeling like I could not move them. A couple of days were even spent in bed because I felt so terrible that I didn’t want to get up and move around. It’s not that the bed felt any better though. I may as well have shat myself and rolled around in it for as much relaxation and comfort as I got out of the bed on those days.

I shared my feelings and concerns with Sharon one day, telling her that I was feeling weaker and less able to do things, like I was losing coordination and strength in everything I was doing. Anything that I took on I was forcing myself to do. I was able to accomplish much more than I used to, but still the strength felt like it was slipping away. I’m used to aches and pains because I’m getting old enough to be suffering from my less than stellar judgements as a younger man. But these were no regular old people aches and pains. This was full on misery in a five gallon bucket and it was dumping out right on the top of my head! Sharon patiently listens to me through all of the daily grinds that I go through. But what is she supposed to say? She can’t know anything different than what I tell her I’m going through. And I’m no expert either! This is the first time in my life that I’ve recovered from a stroke, so if there is a problem, I don’t even know if it is or not because I have nothing to refer to in order to make sense of it all. So I have just continued falling into this great big deep dark hole and feeling like everything I have been pushing for has been slipping away.

Enter the physiotherapist. It’s been quite some time since I went to physio as an outpatient. They had told me that they were going to do a follow up assessment of me after a while out on my own, just doing my recovery thing. It just so happened that today, Pi day (March 14th) was my appointment. What would they think and what would happen when they found out that I was weakening and slipping backwards in strength and mobility? Would I be sent in for more tests and assessments to find out if something else had gone wrong and I needed to return for more intensive interventions? All the thought of potentially having to deal with more hospital stuff was enough to make me worry. I don’t know if there is an expression strong enough to tell you how much I hate hospitals. May it never be that I have to spend a great deal of time in a hospital ever again. It’s a psychological load I would rather not have to bear. Speaking of psychological loads, the longer I am in recovery, the more I realize that compensating physical weakness with mental determination and willpower also takes a toll. Walking on one leg instead of 2 would be a good analogy. If you are bearing a load normally shared by using something that doesn’t normally carry the load, it has a tendency to wear out a whole lot faster. And I have felt like I’ve been wearing thin lately. Back to the physiotherapist.

I sat down in her assessment room and waited to be interviewed and checked out. The dread in my head was growing with every second that I waited for her to arrive. There she was. I didn’t know what to say. I made some feeble attempts at humoring my dread and fear. She listened and reflected back to me what I was saying to make sure she understood what I was telling her. It all came out. I had to tell her what was going on. And then the worst happened. Out came all of the measuring devices for grip strength, and the stopwatch for timing how long it took for me to walk down the measured section of hallway, AND THEN RUN BACK! The sweat just about started simply by thinking about the whole mess! I didn’t even want to try. So I didn’t. I grabbed the grip strength device and squeezed quickly but put no extra effort into it. Next came the pinch strength device and I grabbed it and flippantly pinched it together and handed it back to her. Pride was completely out of the picture. I remember the last time I was holding these devices I concentrated and put every ounce of effort into my pinch and grip motions. The numbers got written down as quickly as I handed the devices back to her and then she grabbed the stopwatch. One does not look forward to performing a timed walk and run in the hallway of the hospital if you know everyone will be watching and judging if you don’t expect that you will be able to do better than you did the last time. I complained the whole way to the starting mark and made excuses for why I thought I was going to be slower and oh my aching joints and muscles and pity me.

The tests were done, and we went back to review the whole thing………I sat and waited just a few seconds and expected to get the bad news that I would be sent for more tests.

Reveal.

Grip strength up. Full range of motion, no encumberances. Walking was stable and the stroke was visibly undetectable. Walking was quicker. And running was faster as well. But the real change was in my pinch strength. I gained 8 kg of squeeze pressure on my left hand. That is a significant difference. One that is worthy of note. This was confusing news! I had become smoother, faster, stronger….not at all what my mind had conjured up.

After all of the information sunk in, I finally was able to accept that this was all good news at a time when I was falling into a deep dark hole. I had been going on feelings. And my emotions were wearing thin just as my mental endurance was growing weaker and weaker.

Back in the day when I was counselling kids who were facing challenges and needed someone to talk to, I recall a young lady coming to my office in tears because the teacher had taken some points from her for not having her notes and assignments in order as she was supposed to. She sat in my office and decried the fact that she was so terrible and unorganized and a total failure at being able to do these “stupid” task that the teacher had required her to do because she just didn’t have it within her to do it. Except the thing was, the whole time she was almost yelling with her upset voice and rantings, she had been organizing her notes and assignments in one of the most tidy binders I had ever seen. Right before my eyes, she was doing the very thing that she was ranting about to convince me that she couldn’t do it. I must have had a dumbfounded (and knowing me an idiotic grin) on my face because she stopped all of a sudden and looked at me, only to say, “What?” When I told her that I watched her do in front of me what she was telling me she couldn’t do, she stopped her ranting and just looked at her newly organized binder in silence. Then I asked her if what she had just done was something that she could find 5 minutes every morning to do before class started so that she didn’t have to come to my office and be so upset about it. Her response was a fairly quiet, “yes”.

I have been thinking about today’s physio appointment fairly quietly all afternoon. Feelings……they are really a deceiving thing to build truth around. I can relate to the young lady who “couldn’t organize” herself. I’m glad for a moment to have an objective observation done for me. I’ll be quiet now.