So we’re at that stage of life that many would, and have, described as “dying.” True enough, we’re noticing some of the icky stuff – creeping paralysis and numbness on the left side, and the weakness and reduced mobility that go with it. We have less stamina, particularly late in the day and there’s creeping fatigue – I’m napping and sleeping more. Things I used to do relatively easily are getting harder – dressing, getting in and out of cars, walking, especially late in the day.
That I’m able to do these things at all at this point in the progression of my disease has a lot to do with my “Heidi muscles,” the legacy of three years with trainer and rehab specialist Heidi Engel. She’ll be the topic of a post in the very near future, complete with her exercise regimen for dying people (yes, it makes sense!).
We have been able to compensate for some of these issues – dear, sainted Heidi brought us a hemi-walker, a device that gives hemiplegic moi more stability while standing and walking, even if it slows my already pathetic pace to a crawl (at least I’m not falling – a really major drag) and Linda just ordered a heavier-duty wheelchair – the first, lightweight chair was hard to get over lawns and bumpy streets. And thank God for the brain’s constant, automatic compensations – I need every one I can get. My death is so full of life that we’re having scheduling problems.
This past week I took a dozen photos for InMenlo, went to see the film Salt with Scott, kept coffee appointments with friends and neighbors, cooked my version of Daniel Boulud’s chicken provencale for Heidi, Linda and cousin Thomas, attended Menlo Park’s downtown block party with Linda, Thomas, Julie and Grace where I had a pretty good cassoulet and a glass of Cotes du Rhone while sitting in the middle of Santa Cruz Avenue, courtesy of Ali and the crew at Bistro Vida.
We dined with friends at Mike and Cathy’s house, where Linda and friend Jacob Levy somehow managed to get me, in a wheelchair, up a hill and over lawns to a very special dinner featuring my favorite dessert (thanks, Kathy!). Tonight I’ll be a guest at Lauren Levi’s wedding, black tie and all.That I can enjoy these days so much is testament to the work I’ve done with Heidi who is now making house calls – long drive and long day notwithstanding…