Thursday, August 21, 2014

True Lessons I've Learned

It is only nine days til the one year anniversary of my illness with West Nile Virus.  I just finished my physical therapy last Thursday and had my last doctors visit today.  I feel like I have passed a major milestone in my life.

It was Labor Day weekend last year when I began feeling nauseous and had bad headaches.  That was the beginning of my 52 day hospital stay dealing with West Nile Virus.  It has been a long year of recovery and rehabilitation for me.  I had to learn to sit, stand, walk and strengthen my voice during this past year.  I have been part of a group that sings in nursing homes for over 20 years and will have to develop my voice to be able to sing again.

All in all I am very lucky to have survived this illness without permanent damage.  There were discussions by the doctors about brain damage if I recovered and I am happy to say that my brain has recovered fully.  My only remaining disability is damage to my optic nerve in my left eye, however, my right eye is strong and I can see pretty well.  Once again I am blessed.

I realize that a person can not go through something like this without it changing their life and so I reflect upon where I am today and the lessons I have learned from my experience.

  1. First be grateful for my family who stood firmly in the belief that I would recover.  They questioned the doctors and all the treatments provided to me to be sure that I was receiving the best care.  They were hyper-vigilant in caring for me and provided love and support throughout this time.
  2. Next I learned how important it is to have caregivers who were willing to do all the things for me that I could not do for myself.  I became acutely aware that having someone wipe my butt or turn me in bed when I could not do that for myself was an act of love and no matter how they did it, it was perfect.  
  3. I dropped all judgment of how life was supposed to be and became grateful for what each day brought.
  4. I realized the value of friends and family who were praying, loving and caring for me and my family.  I had cards from all over the country and friends brought food to my home for months.  I had never felt so much love from so many people.
  5. I learned that even though I had incredible support around me motivating me to succeed that in the end it was up to me to follow the therapy and rebuild my body.  Every day I do exercises to strengthen  and restore my activity levels and am in awe of the capacity of my body to recover.
  6. Little things like standing up from a chair, taking a shower on my own, driving, grocery shopping had all been monumental tasks but as my body became stronger they all got easier.  
  7. There is a new norm.  I may not ever be exactly like I was before but I have embraced all the abilities that I have with gratitude.  
  8. Another lesson is the recognition that we are not truly in control of our lives even when we think we are.  There is a flow to life and we can move within the flow or try to swim against it but going with the flow is much easier.  
  9. Weakness is a strength.  Being able to be rather than do is a high calling.  Most of my life was based on the success of what I accomplished and I now know than even though it may look like weakness to be in the moment not having to push forward, it is actually the perfect place to be.
  10. The last lesson is to be aware that everything is in perfect order along with your desire to improve upon it.  There is such a freedom in realizing that what will be will be and we can learn to appreciate things just as they are.  

No comments:

Post a Comment