(Stroke recovery update and one year at home since rehab anniversary.)
One year ago today on Sept 15, 2018 I got home from rehab from the Bay Area. I remember that day well, we had practiced getting me into the car from my wheel chair — it took a lot of help as several staff accompanied me and there were a number of tender goodbyes with staff I had gotten close to.
There was a path through some trees in a riparian area above Santa Rosa Creek that had played a profoundly mystical role in my recovery that I had to say goodbye to.
On the appointed day my very much loved friends Gary Pace and Margaret Howe came to help Samantha drive me home. We loaded me up and I began my return to this world. It was an overcast day, the world seemed to me full of beauty and mystery. I knew it was the same world, but there were some things I just had not noticed as deeply my first time around. It all seemed strange and wonderful. We stopped in Cloverdale for coffee, and picked up Highway 128 and dropped into Anderson Valley. At Peachland Road I needed a break so we pulled in there and started up the road. We found a little turnout to stop for a rest, and very very slowly I extricated myself from the car. We propped me up next to the van and I could see the length of the Valley rolling away upstream, I started talking to the mountains and told them it was so good to see them again. I started sobbing and sobbing as the realization of how close I had come to not seeing them again washed over me. I just kept sobbing. I was so happy to see them once again.
Eventually we got me back in and proceeded to Albion. We got to my house where some very kind men had made a wheelchair ramp for me. Everyone wanted me to get in my wheelchair so they could push me into the house.
Of course, Inyo and Kiara were ther. They had made a sweet “welcome home papa” sign, but I refused to let them get me in that chair, I was not going to let that be the first picture my girls had of me getting home, I was going to walk, as horribly slowly as that might be. I was absolute that I was going to walk into my fucking house. It was slow, it was horrible, but eventually I got up the ramp and once at the door of the mudroom, I let them put me into the chair.
Later that day, as I fell asleep in my room, the sounds of the adults talking while my daughters laughed and played with Gary is absolutely forever etched in my soul.
And now my days are filled with my attempts to recover.
I still mostly need my cane to walk, I am still waiting to regain function in my left arm and left hand, although on good days I can sometimes wiggle my fingers a little bit.
I have begun doing some public speaking about the experience. Thank you to all of you who have supported me in that. It turns out that almost dying and making it back over here is a rather interesting experience, not just for me but others as well.
Thank you to all of you that have supported my family through this, and continue to hold us in the cocoon of your love. Some of you have no idea how much you have meant. Just by having the courage of being yourself and living your life, just being who you are, you have carried me through some dark times. Thank you for that.
Ok everyone, I will see you around. Whatever Great Power it is that decides these things has apparently deigned we are not done with each other. Hopefully next time I write something like this I will tell you that I am walking well and even dancing, driving my car and perhaps chopping my own vegetables.