Will’s Birthday

On the 2nd February Courtney came in early to spend some time with me. She wrote this in the family diary: 

“I came in at 9:30 to find all the curtains closed around you. You were with the Neurologist and his team. I find it hard not to think the worst when the curtains are pulled. They pulled back the curtain and …. SURPRISE … you  have gained some small movements in your left leg. GO GIRL! What a wonderful present for Will. The movement only started 10 minutes ago.” 

Apparently I was very pleased but also disappointed that there was no movement in my left arm.

Since being admitted to hospital, I had worn only nighties. Mum had bought a bunch of nighties, cut them open in the back, and fixed press-studs in place. These were easy to get on and off, but less depressing than hospital gowns. Mum was adamant that I wore colour.

Now that I was starting regular sessions in the stroke gym, I needed to dress in proper clothes. Mum had gone out and bought me some elastic waisted shorts and baggy t-shirts. The nurses dressed me that morning. I wrote in my diary, “Shirt looks good. Pants are tight and it was a comedy of errors getting them on.”

After my gym session, the physiotherapists mentioned I could get flexing, extension and abduction in my left leg (I can’t remember what any of that means now, but I guess it was good news). They also felt flickers in my left shoulder but no movement (this means they could feel the muscle turning on. Although the muscles weren’t able to cause any movement in the arm, there was some connection between my brain and my left shoulder.)

It was hard to position me well in my chair when transferring me using a sling and hoist. On this day, the physios brought me back in a particularly strange position! One look at Courtney and I burst out laughing. I felt so bad for them because I laughed hysterically and couldn’t stop. Awkward!

On the stroke ward I was having a session with the Occupational Therapist everyday. We were working my right hand and arm hard. My movement was definitely improving slowly.

Today was Will’s 11th birthday. The Rehab ward (ward 12B) where I would be moving next, had a nice big grassed courtyard. Dawn had organised for us to use the courtyard to have a family BBQ in the afternoon to celebrate his birthday. My brother, his wife, and 2 kids, had come down from Brisbane. My sister had come over from the coast with her 4 girls. And my Mum was still down from Brisbane.  Birthdays had always been special in our house so it was important to me that he had a nice day. It meant the world to me to have everyone here.

Ali brought KFC for everyone, a rare treat in our house. Someone organised a cake, a piñata and some party treats. It was a lovely afternoon. What’s not to love about the sound of 10 young kids, on sugar highs, swinging a baseball bat at a piñata?

Mum came up in the afternoon for a while. Tomorrow was the first day of the school year. It would be the kid’s first day at new schools. I was already feeling very sensitive that I wouldn’t be there to get them ready and walk them in. Ali was at home covering the remainder of their school books. She called Mum to ask a question about covering. A switch flicked in me. That’s my job! I lost it. I started hitting my head with my right hand, banging my head against my chair, screaming  (as best I could) ‘I want to go home’. I was beside myself. Being a Mum meant everything to me and not being able to do it the way I wanted, broke me. Steve was called in to try and console me.

Steve must have felt sorry for me because he gave me a strawberry frog. Just as I took a bite, a nurse came in. I was sprung. When they started talking about how naughty I was, I started laughing hysterically. And with that, I spat strawberry frog all over Steve and the nurse. 

Ali came up later that night. We watched a movie together. She reminded me that it was natural to have days like this and encouraged me to use it as motivation in the gym tomorrow. Motivation to get home.

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