Yes, the brain story is continuing to be interesting and educational. As I was reading along today though, it reminded me of a Daniel-related incident from quite a few years ago. I’ve just finished the part in this book where she has her stroke. Being a brain doctor, the way she processes the event, and observes herself, is fascinating.
On the second day, after she finally gets to a (second) hospital, she starts thinking (as best she can with the damage that has been done) about her recovery. Before we got Axel, and Dan became a K-9 handler, he was a patrol deputy. At the end of his shift one night, technically the early hours of the morning, he responded to a wreck on a rural highway. A large truck had crashed and was resting at a severe angle on the side of the road. Because he was the first one on the scene, and by himself, Dan needed to make sure everything was okay.
He walked across the traffic lanes and climbed into the cab of this big rig. There was a fuel leak, his boots, and the blacktop, were wet. He slipped, slightly, but continued with what needed to be done. After he had secured the driver some medical attention, and had his tow in route, he asked the volunteer EMTs to take a look at his arm, which was fairly painful from his earlier tumble. They gave him no useful information, and could do nothing for the increasing discomfort in his back, so he went on with the paper-work portion of his job.
Once another officer had arrived Daniel started thinking about maybe seeking some treatment for his own injuries. Eventually he drove himself to the emergency department of our local hospital. Talking to one of the nurses he knew, he explained the situation and said, “it hurts when I do this, but my hand doesn’t seem to want to do this.” She grabbed him, uniform, gun, and all, and forced him to sit on an exam table. Practically shouting, “don’t do THAT!” And she promptly hollered for a doctor.
The first I knew of the problem was waking up to his face about six inches from mine. He was sitting on the floor next to our bed, saying, “uh, hey. Jule….” I squinted at him, trying to figure out why he was where he was and what the freaking hell he wanted, and why he would wake me up like this. He lifted a wrapped and padded arm that was fastened snuggly in a shoulder sling (looking distinctly like a broken bird wing), gently moving his encased and swollen fingers between us and said, “I can’t brush the girls’ hair, can you help me get them ready for school?”
It still took my a while to process what I was looking at, him on the floor, his arm in some sort of constrained medical garment, his hand making a swatting motion as he switched one of our daughters’ hair bands from the “good” side to his now “bad” appendage. “What the hell happened?” I was now much more vertical and he was slowly standing up. “I fell, at a crash. I’m fine, well I broke some things, and my back is pretty messed up, but mostly I’m fine. Are you going to get up and help with the girls’ hair?”
Yes, that’s right, his first priority was that his children’s school day schedule was not disrupted, and they got out the door on time, with brushed hair. Holy shit. It was the most surreal moment of my life (up to that point, there were more later). I don’t recall what all the medical terminology was, but basically he shattered his elbow, snapped off the pointy end, and busted up several bones. Oh yeah, as he’d mentioned ever so briefly, his back was severely “messed up.”
After a couple of surgeries to pin and bolt his arm back together (the story of the asshat orthopedic specialist is a whole ‘nother tale), and some “borrowing” of vital Somethings from his hip/pelvis for good measure, he was on the mend. Here’s where his experience reminded me of the brain lady and her stroke. She is, at this point in the book, just starting to consider her recovery, and what that will entail.
Daniel went through an enormous amount of physical therapy after the bone issues (and back situation) were dealt with. At one point he sat with his very helpful and informative PT woman (who turned out to be the mom of one of our witchling’s friends, this phenomenon is oddly common here in River City), and he expressed his frustration at the slow progress they were making. She told him that he was actually doing fabulously well! He disagreed, his range of motion and ability to use that arm and hand were NOT nearly back to where they had been before.
That was when she explained to him how most people who have suffered this type of extensive injury never regain full movement, they never are the same, and they never come back completely. WTF?! In Dan’s mind this was unacceptable. Why the hell not?! “Because,” she said, “it hurts. So they stop.”
The woman who lost her ability to speak, hear, see, write, and basically be able to tell that she was even an adult, must have felt the same way my Beloved did. It was unacceptable for her to even consider NOT making a full and complete recovery. Since I am reading a book she wrote, she obviously pushed herself, as Dan did. Put in the work, went that last painful mile, and came back from her incident, as Daniel did, to be MORE than she was before a life-changing accident shoved its way into her path.
I think, if I remember correctly, (and he can tell us later in the comments when he gets home from work tonight) he ended up getting something like 95 to 98% of his original capacity and physical abilities back on that side. It was a horrible experience, but it was the lesson we all needed to learn at the time. I’m not sure I know anyone else who would have pushed themselves that hard, nor exerted that amount of effort into their recovery.
Our card today is from that very cool Animal Medicine deck, and it is a long story, which I am not going to transcribe this time, I’ll just give you the overview. Because our message right now is not just what the totem stands for, but also what we are capable of, if we try.
Swan ~ Transformation and Grace
Swan tells us about facing our fears and looking into the Great Void of the future. She knows that, “we must be willing to accept whatever Great Spirit has planned for us.” She talks in the Dream Time, she leads us gently into our own future, the future of our own making, with all the help of the Universe at our side.
We must go as Swan does, fearlessly through our life changes, no matter what others see in us, our physical appearance is not what matters, but our inner strength. We all have a core of brilliance and personal power. Later in life this may shine through to others in how we look, but it is always there, inside us. Inside where we can draw upon it in our most needful moments.
She tells us to accept that we have the ability to know what lies ahead, we know, deep down, that we can relax in our transformations because we have all the grace we will need. Our bodies take care of us when we take care of our bodies. We have all the power and strength of the Universe at our disposal. All we need to do is use it.