We finally ginned up the courage, after last summer’s setback, to return to writing our (newly expanded) insider’s view of Hemiplegia, the condition which affects my left side. As we’ve made our way back from that warm season disappointment, at first timidly, despite the admonitions of our rehab therapist Heidi Engel, and, lately, more aggressively, we feel the confidence return that we exhibited when we made our way to southern Burgundy last May, and daily walked the steep ridge upon which the village of Ameugny is situated.
We realize that, while, indeed our body suffered from the brain swelling episode, the real problem has been a loss of confidence. There are lots of daily actions – able-bodied me never even thought about them – that are daunting to the hemiplegic. Stepping off curbs is one – it took 18 months of carefully planned and heavily repeated rehab exercises before I could confidently, and reliably, step off a curb without risking a fall.
In any case, we returned two weeks ago to the aggressive strength-building program that Heidi had started us on last April (and which she’d been pushing us to resume), a little fearful – we had been lifting some, for us, serious weights before departing for France. Upon our return, some 12 pounds lighter from muscle atrophy, and, with a left arm that would barely move, we could lift only a fraction of our previously-set goals. Six months of near-daily exercises later, we have managed to surpass, by a small amount, our previous sets.
Confidence, however, lags strength – we’re still gun shy. So much so that, two weeks ago, we not only managed to fall, but knocked down a dear friend who was trying to help me navigate a curb late in the day. I am lately realizing that my left side will do more than I’m asking of it and I need to seize the opportunity to counter the brain’s natural tendency to work around the damage. We are so trying to get back to April, strength and mobility-wise…