It was a daunting task for Barry. I wanted out, I was determined and had blinders on to all the opposition we were getting. He on the other hand was realistic but oh so ready to go home. I trust him with my life and I knew he would make it as comfortable as possible while taking as few risks as necessary.
Just leaving the hospital environment and going out into public was a risk of infection, and infection in a wound that leads to the spinal cord has too many repercussions to ponder. We were warned, educated and had a plan to avoid at all cost. That plan was to just get me home without any interaction with the public at all. Then there was the task of avoiding a bump in the road, a sudden move or God forbid a fender bender. We crept along through the city was such caution we surely looked like an elderly couple on a Sunday drive. Once on the 401 the cars whisked by us and Barry drove with his eyes in all directions. Finally we hit the 400 and it felt like home. It was the way North and we both breathed a sigh of relief. We were really going home? It felt surreal.
It almost felt like when we left the hospital with our babies. It is as though you've pulled something over on someone. And you had better hurry before they find out. When we left the hospital and the doors closed behind us I couldn't resist but to yell "Start the car!"
During the four hour drive, I was in pain but relatively comfortable with the seat all the way back and pillows stuffed all around me. We were hitting a good stride when it became apparent that I wouldn't get much further without peeing. We both we leery. Wasn't this just the thing to avoid? There wasn't much of a decision to be made, we had to stop. A public washroom on a highway stop. The nurses had given Barry some heavy duty wipes for disinfecting our bathroom at home. He dug them out, went into the handicapped washroom and cleaned it completely before I entered. If I didn't love that man already that would have done it. Who says a girl needs diamonds. A clean bathroom can have the same affect.
We got back on the road and I soon fell asleep. The rest of the trip was uneventful. We made it home and were just amazed at how beautiful everything looked. That sense of comfort, love and relief we both felt a year ago, I can feel it today. I suspect I will feel it for a long time to come.
It was the hardest thing I had ever gone through, and I had neurosurgery before followed by inpatient rehab but this was much harder, and it was over. Or so I thought.
Today I woke with a smile on my face. I remembered immediately how happy I had been this time last year. This year I was happy for other reasons. Progress. It was incredibly hard but I did it. I persevered and it has paid off. So many days the pain was so great I didn't want to push myself. Most days I did. It has been the most disciplined I have ever been, in my entire life. It feels good. I have gained so much. I can walk now without any aids, and my balance has improved greatly. I know what it feels like to have pain and do it anyway, although there are days it is so bad I honour it and stop. But stopping today doesn't mean I will not try tomorrow and that is the difference.
I won't say I can't, but I can say I had better not today.
I'm going to sleep tonight with the same smile on my face I woke up with. I'm content I have given it my all and by doing so I am much stronger for it today.
Happy Canada Day everyone, enjoy tomorrow.