Sunday, May 24, 2015


Soon after my release from the hospital in February, I visited home for a few hours during the late deeps of winter up here, to get an early start on the domestic personal Everests.

Primarily I wanted to scale the escarpment of steps to the distant second floor, my first stairway attempt; it loomed in the subjective mists like the Stairway to Heaven. I used a lateral approach without crampons or pitons, going sideways both feet on each step, a long, slow tedious process reminiscent of efforts toward the traditional afterlife.

Got to the summit at last - this was where I'd boarded the comet - caned my way around some rooms, debotted the PC, got out some clothing for Spring, realized for the first real meaningful time that the bathroom was downstairs, now a distant place involving serious rapelling time and reverse footwork logistics - gone the days when these same feet barely touched the steps flying down taking two or three steps at a time - but I have more careful things to do now, more to be hazarded, so it would all balance out nicely, as soon as I got to the bottom...

Endless list of other new tasks to master while my hand and leg are finding themselves. Good thing I love puzzles. The topological problem of putting on a long-sleeved shirt, for example: how can the outside of one side turn behind your back into the inside of the other side? It's literally beyond me. To think that all those stroke-hindered people I've seen in my life underwent and overcame all those same challenges, with so few complaints!

And what a range of them! What? No stair railing on the left-hand side going up? No hand rails in the toilet? At the entryway just one big smooth log? How can even a one-dish meal kinda guy do anything here of the cook-and-carry type while using a cane, with the other hand still in early training and the slow foot without a leg to stand on? Spend a lot of early time eating at the sink, I expect. I've been there, that can be good. I'm also learning to use scissors again; that's always a thrill. Handwriting and chopsticks, on the other hand, are frissons of a higher order.

In any case there's little point in complaining, since you're all alone with the Stairway.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015


Finally I have the time and mind, ability and space to begin to try and respond collectively to the uplifting communications so many of you have kindly afforded me over the past several months; please be assured they were of great support to me in finding uplift for my new wings. It has been interesting to take on the challenge of mobility again at my age. I just wish I could remember more of how I did it the first time; toddling seems so effortless, in retrospect. Of course, back then I had all the time in the world, and falling was a key learning tool.

Finally left the hospital six months after sufficient recovery from what turned out to be a relatively contained left-brain cerebral hemorrhage (not "massive," as was first announced here). I attribute it partly to stress (zipping around like a 40-year-old) but mainly to my last two motorcycle accidents. I have foresworn use of vehicles other than my good leg, until perhaps such time as I regain pedal-to-the-metal capabilities. Went through the two-month recovery period (lot of great people and good stories there) and then the 4-month limit on rehab (ditto for stories there), then moved to a private rehab center much nearer our house to polish up on my Fred Astaire moves and cane-wielding skills. I finally returned to the house for the first time on a bright Spring Sunday, nine months after I had been carried away on a comet.

Spent a good part of the initial you-can't-go-home-again time figuring out how to get from car door to house door across the formerly beautiful rugged stone driveway with just a cane and then open the heavy rugged door with half the pull power, then how to take my shoes off while teetering not-quite two-legged in the genkan, then how to ascend the Gibraltar that was now the step that had always led to the beautiful - but now primarily slippery - oak board floor level, where at last I stood looking gingerly around at the spacious residence where once I had jetted so easily updownstairs and from room to room with my eyes closed, if I wanted. When we'd designed this place I sure hadn't had me in mind...

What a difference a difference makes.

(To be continued)