I Will Keep Doing Things I Can’t
I was supposed to have a C-section. I delivered the baby in the usual way, 6 weeks premature while I was still hemiplegic. My left side was totally paralyzed from a severe stroke I had at 26 weeks into my second pregnancy. My older son was 22 months old.
Throughout the 53 days I laid in the hospital, pregnant and paralyzed, at age 35, going into labor naturally and having it progress despite being given drugs to arrest it was the first major surprise of my recovery. Until I gave birth, I’d been given drugs to stop labor several times in order to give the baby’s lungs a more optimal chance to develop.
No one was sure I would walk independently, drive or otherwise enjoy life again. But, I would have none of that. I was young and had two babies who needed their mother.
I struggled with depression for about a year with a powerful mix of organic brain damage, horrible life circumstances, and being postpartum.
I stopped taking antidepressants through mostly sheer force of will after a year. I was lucky I could make up my mind to focus on being happier and grateful to be alive and for everything I still had in my life.
I have a permanent disability. I limp, carry a cane and have limited use of my left arm. It has certainly slowed me down, but it never stopped me.
I took a driver rehabilitation course and in 7 months had an adaptive steering knob on my car and a permit to use it.
I’ve been lucky to travel even after naysayers said I couldn’t. I figured out how to go on safari in Kenya with a company that specializes in tours for the disabled.
When we were in Costa Rica, the hotel offered zip lining tours. One of the guides assured me it would be fine for me to go even with my limitations. Up until I took off on the zip line in tandem with a young man, my husband was sure I couldn’t do it. He kept asking how I was going to climb to the top of the starting point.
I was sure the guides would have advised against my going if they didn’t think I could do it. I walked up many steps and was put on a quad by strong men who carried me in order to get up the steeper, rough inclines.
My psychiatrist suggested I look into therapeutic horseback riding as I lamented the loss of so many physical pursuits I used to enjoy. In two weeks, I’ll be competing in my sixth horse show. I’m making room on the wall in my office next to my ribbons from past shows. I rode a two hour trail ride in the Canadian Rockies this past July.
I swim regularly in the lake in the summer with the aid of a flotation device. I walk the dog.
I don’t think I was supposed to be able to do any of that. But, I think my life has been much better because I tried and was determined to succeed.
I plan on continuing to do things that I can’t. So far, it’s been fun.