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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

On rehabilitation

It's been three years, today, since I returned from the hospital in North Austin with my new hip.
...and a year since I set the first post of our funky cabin in the wilderness(tm).

Soon after I arrived, the PT Guy showed up, and helped me get my legs back enough to walk.
Most folks seemed to think that I was now cured...and would soon be back to being a Kitchen Ninja.
Even the PT Guy, at first.
But I knew that it was not so simple.
20 years of compensating for the original damage, had furthered the extent of the damage.
(lift with yer knees sounds nice, if one has decent knees.)
The eight to ten years(including the six and a half spent wrangling the dysfunctional system to get to the hip) of increasing pain meant more and more sedentary behaviour, interspersed with brief bouts of intense activity, when shit needed doing. This all took it's toll.
The anecdote, learned from my paraplegic stepdad, is that it takes three days to recover from one day in the bed.This is more or less accurate.
Nevertheless, I soldiered on.
After less than a year, I realised that I needed something to do...housework was simply inadequate as a poor man's rehab.
The Serpent gave me that needed Project.(
I endeavored to rehabilitate my dilapidated trailerhouse in the hills enough to house my books, and give me a place to escape(and get drunk, usually), and write.

Sans approaching cold fronts, or too-near Hurricanes, I determined that I could do non-sedentary stuff for about 4-5 hours at a which point the Pain would re-assert itself.
Depending on the activity, some days it was longer,--others, shorter.
I learned rather quickly what I could NOT do...and what I needed to be extra careful doing.
Then at Thanksgiving, 2014, we all had a serious bout with the Flu...and it almost killed my Mom.
I found myself camping out at her place for weeks.
That's when I decided that we must move back to the Farm.
I scoured the options...pre-fabs of one degree or another, log houses, metal barn houses, rock houses...and determined that stick-built would have to do.
I knew from the get-go that hiring someone to do it was out of the question.
Hell, even hiring help for a day is above our means...
So I threw my own style of building into the task...essentially, post and beam, learned organically and spontaneously from our various fort-building exercises from my youth in the woods.
No blueprint, save the one in my head...and I think I've done wonderfully, in the year since I began...98% of it is me, alone.
It has been rather effective as physical therapy...and that's the main way I think about it.

After the Wreck, now some 25 years ago, it took more than two years to get back.
...and I never came all the way back.
I was always in Pain, but I grit my teeth, and got drunk after work.
I was driven, from the moment I got home from the hospital, to not let this ruin me.
In many ways, it did...that Wreck is still the most influential and consequential event in my life.
When things started going awry, finally, I was not surprised...this particular sword had been perfectly obvious, up there, on it's thread...I was, however, somewhat disappointed that the thread had frayed so soon.
The difference between then and now, as far as rehab goes, is that I had no illusions, going into the surgery in 2013, that I would be back in a Kitchen, any time soon...and that it was unlikely that I could ever do that kind of work again.
In fact, upon consideration, there were no jobs out here for which I was/am qualified and that I could/can physically do.
Hence, the Library, Monastery, and now the House..(..and , soon, the Vineyard,Apiary and Grove.)
I am able to sit down...or even quit for the day...whenever I deem it necessary.
I can...and have...taken as much as a month off, due to weather-pain.
I push myself, sure...that's much of the point...but I am not forced to push my body further than it needs to go.
The biggest issue in all these years of Cripplehood has been Boredom.
I am always crestfallen when I reach the point where I must go home and repair to the bed...
The Pain really sucks, too, of course, but one gets used to that, after a time.

Any way....
Here's Joe's Physical Therapy Lab, Art Project, and soon to be Dwelling:(in no particular order, randomly selected, over a year)

1 comment:

amfortas the hippie said...

by the by...I am inspired this morning by episode 4 of Ken Burns' PBS documentary, "The Roosevelts"...which is about FDR's polio, and his perseverance.
I recommend this program, as it is timely, given the current politico-economic situation.