Sunday, December 19, 2010

My Jeep

Recently, we discovered that the engine in my Jeep had a crack, either in the head or block. In trying to decide what do, we almost traded it in to be sent to auction somewhere. I didn't expect the reaction I had to 'getting rid of it'. When talking to the people at a dealership I began to tear up and couldn't even talk about getting rid of it. After all it had been through with me I have this strange attachment to this silly 'hunk of metal'.

While at a friend's 30th birthday party in downtown Albany someone broke into it to steal Nate's cell phones.

That was just the beginning of our journey. I was driving this very vehicle when my aneurysm burst sending me over a bank. I know it was the Hand of God Himself that allowed me to land safely in that clearing. But, my Jeep was there! It was also the vehicle I was in to relearned how to drive in snow (poor Nate)! Of course, in typical Nate style, he chose the worst snow storm to try it in! But we survived, and even laugh about it now!

Our first experience driving on the beach near the ocean in the Outer Banks also was in the Jeep. We treasure our times on the beach with our wonderful friends, the Krause family !

So, while most people would welcome a newer, fancier vehicle (one that had a working seat heater) I prefer, "my Jeep". It is also familiar to drive and takes way less brain power to get places! While my Jeep was getting a 'new'(used) motor, my father-in-law graciously let me drive his Saab 9 5. It was fun to drive a stick again and know that it was "just like riding a bike". I was very nervous that, I would have to be taught how to drive stick again. Then ,I was worried that I might forget to shift or forget the steps of pushing in the clutch before shifting while remembering what gear I was in and which was next. . While all this definitely took deliberate and conscience attention, I was able to do it. To my surprise the biggest challenge was physically pushing in the clutch. Being cold makes my left side very spastic and shaky . I also had to be careful taking my right hand off the wheel to shift. You can only imagine what a spastic left arm would do....can you say, DITCH? I had to make sure I got the car good and warm before I could drive. YAY for working seat heaters in the Saab!!! I still was encouraged that I was able to sequence and coordinate driving a 'new' vehicle, it wasn't easy but I did it!
So my Jeep got a 'new' engine and seems to be running very well again! I am happy we could keep it even if it is "old"!! Hoping it lasts a few more years so we won't have a car payment :)

Monday, December 6, 2010

My Life Without Me

Maybe it is just me that finds it funny; on TV, as I write this is ,"Rudolph and the Island of Misfit Toys"(that is kind of how I feel sometimes, like a 'misfit'). Anyway, I filled in at the library today and was shelving some DVDs when the title "My Life Without Me" caught my eye. It got me thinking that it was the perfect way to describe my early stages of recovery especially, though it still feels like this even 7+ years later!  I felt like I was living my life but without the girl I knew as 'me'. I used to be asked daily, "how is everything?" or "how are you feeling?". I'm not going to lie, I dreaded these questions. The answer was too complex and I felt like all people really wanted to hear was a "happy" answer. While I had so many things I was truly thankful for my real answer is "I am exhausted". I really wanted to say "I am so exhausted I don't even know how to answer your question". If I was asked this question in a crowded or noisy room, I had to restrain myself from just bolting out the door to a quiet, less confusing place. Most of the time I literally felt like a 'fly on the wall'. I felt like all I could do was watch life as it happened but always felt very removed from actually being a part of it. The pace of conversation and life in general was far too quick for me to process. Most of the time my way of coping was just a empty, blank stare hoping people would just ignore me and not try to engage a conversation of any kind. I am not sure if this has actually gotten better with time and medication, or if I have just learned to live with it, and have actually forgotten what it was like 'before'. I am also better at simply avoiding situations where it is very noisy and impossible to filter out extraneous distractions. Of course, these situations can't be avoided entirely so I often escape for brief moments of quiet! So, that is 'My Life Without Me'. I like how the song "Where I Belong" by Building 429 describes the feeling:"Sometimes it feels like I'm watching from the outside
Sometimes it feels like I'm breathing, but am I alive??....."

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

One of those days.................

Today is one of those days when I seem to be extra slow and rather disoriented. Must be some sort of reverse "Midas Touch" where it feels like anything you touch just crumbles instead of turning to gold!! These days sort of sneak up on me and I feel like it is impossible to stay encouraged and keep a smile on my face. I once heard it said, "You never see bad days in a photo album, but it is these days that get us from one happy snapshot to the next."- Unknown I think this is usually true and I know from experience that at the time we don't want a visual reminder of 'bad days'. When I was in the hospital after my aneurysm rupture my parents wanted to take pictures so I could later see how far I had come.The thought of having to remember that horrible time in my life horrifed me and I refused to let them take "too many pictures". I thought if everyone just ignored it and pretended it didn't happen then maybe life could just go 'back to normal'. I hated that my life was going to drastically change and I hated that it wasn't 'just a bad dream'. In my drugged, damaged state I really thought if I just denied it enough times it wouldn't be true. Now I realize my family was right, I should have let them document more of the 'bad days' because they are now part of what makes me the person I am today! Even still there are 'bad days'.Days when I don't take a shower because I simply don't have energy. Days when I just wear the same thing I did yesterday so I don't have to make one more decision about the day. Sure there are days that I back into a stationary retaining wall that I know is there. These are all pictures I will spare you from. But, even if I burned dinner, again, because I forgot it in the oven, AGAIN I am reminded of the 'happy snapshots' to come and I am thankful that being alive also means all these silly mistakes that I choose not to put in my photo album. So I will leave you will my 'happy shots' from last week!