far too much writing, far too many photos

A few days back, the weather here began heading in a less wintry, much more user-friendly direction. After two or three cold, rainy days, the sun returned, the air felt markedly milder — the kind of mild that suggests a change of seasons. The kind of mild that means walking around with jacket undone. The kind of mild that means birds singing, grass slowly turning green. people practically skipping along sidewalks with joy. After three days of that, each afternoon a bit warmer than the day before, flowering trees suddenly began popping, producing clouds of pink and white blossoms. The kind of weather that gets one hoping an early spring is on the way.

It’s not the real thing yet. Today’s been colder, more late-February-like. But the days are growing longer — it’s just a matter of time now.

A couple of months back I wrote here about my brother, the only other survivor of my family of birth. Substantially older than me, not close (geographically and otherwise), and as of Christmas day, a person dealing with the effects of a stroke.

We’re six timezones apart, enough of a difference to make getting in touch with him by phone (first in hospital, then rehab) wicked tricky. I made it through the day after the stroke — too soon, it turned out, for him to be able to talk comfortably. Every other time I called, he was out of the room. I finally decided to leave him in peace, stop pelting him with voice messages. (We’re not, after all, very close — it could be that me trying so hard to connect was just more source of pressure for someone already dealing with huge matters.) Once, several weeks ago, I received a cc of a brief email from him to his wife, forwarded to me at bro’s request — providing a brief snapshot of how he was doing. I sent a thank-you for being included, heard nothing more.

But he’s remained in my thoughts, and a week and a half ago I decided to send an email to let him know that. Four brief paragraphs, ending with:

“If you get this and if you ever feel like it, let me know how you’re doing — in as much or as little detail as you like. I’m thinking of you.”

Two days later, en email from him showed up in a different account from the one I used to send that note. Not a reply to my email, not referencing my email — sent, apparently, with purely coincidental timing. And a relief to receive. And I have to say, given what he’s been through and is currently going through, he has got some serious acceptance going, some serious patience. ‘Cause he talks about it with a kind of calm objectivity that feels the teeniest bit zen to me:

“it’s been eight weeks since the stroke. i’m at the point where i can walk by myself with a cane. however my hip is still weak and needs to be more stronger and stable. the therapists aren’t confident enough yet to let me trade in my wheelchair for a cane. soon though. at [the previous rehab facility] we were strapped into our chairs, only allowed up to use the toilet or go to bed. now i am in [a different facility] and they are less controlling, no seat belt. so i take advantage of my relative freedom to do things i couldn’t before. for example there is a long grab bar in the bathroom, by the toilet. i use it as an exercise bar and do about 80 knee bends a day. have been doing it for about two weeks now and my knee being so much stronger and stable has greatly improved my walking. it’s been unusually warm this week, over 60 yesterday, so my therapist let me work on walking outside. i went about 300′; it was really nice. my arm is recovering much more slowly, as arms do, but this week i was able to lift my arm to waist height, very satisfying. can do a few other movements in the arm ad some movement with fingers as well. I’m getting there. i met someone i know who lives in the independent living side of [this rehab facility]. she had a stroke three or four years ago and you would never know it to meet her. she said her recovery took two and a half years. so, i’ve got a ways to go.”

Fine, ‘zen’ may be overstating it. But still. I’m not so sure I’d have that kind of level attitude going were I in his position.

[this entry in progress]

EspaƱa, te amo

One Response to “”

  1. vec

    Really warm pic- what a great weather!! I have to be there! Thank uoi for sharing :)

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