No Recovery Manual

If you’ve been keeping up with my Stardate Instagram/Facebook posts, you have probably seen that I had a frustration cry again on Sunday morning. Lots of reasons for that. I am taking the loss of my independence, going and doing on my own hard. Having my parents take me everywhere is exhausting for them as well. This week alone, needed to get to the BMV (my license expires on my birthday this week, plus handicapped placard), today I had a pedicure scheduled (it is important to keep my toenails in line because I cannot feel when they dig in), tomorrow I see urology (very important) and of course I am getting my place ready to sell. It’s been a lot.

If you search spinal cord injury recovery or transverse myelitis recovery, most recovery articles begin with some form of “Because every spinal cord injury is unique, there’s no exact time frame for recovery.” This is super frustrating, I don’t know what milestones I should or should not be hitting, what I should or should not be doing, how far I should or should not push myself. If this were a normal ankle surgery, or knee replacement, or gallbladder removal, recovery benchmarks are very much known, and fall within a well-defined spectrum.

My PT/OT says I am doing great, because most people 6 weeks after injury are still mostly bed bound and/or just getting used to dressing/bathing themselves. I have been doing that since week two. I suppose that is somewhat because I didn’t end up needing/having surgery. I am also currently mobile around the house with a cane, if I am feeling good and not too tired, or walker, or like last night and tonight because I have been going a bit, using the wheelchair. A lot of that depends on my muscle spasms and nerve pain level. I know nerve pain is a good sign, but damn if it doesn’t bloody hurt. The gabapentin is mostly working on the nerve pain, but the muscle relaxer I may need a changeup, as the robaxin is no longer working well for me. I also don’t want to be heavily doped up.

Tomorrow I see a psychiatrist that I hope will help me with some of this. This is a massive life change, and will be a massive lifestyle change going forward. I am currently selling my place, building a new one, living with my parents, on FMLA from teaching (goal of returning in August) but I will have to give up some of my supplemental duties, and there is no real recovery manual? For those who know me personally, I am driven, and goal-oriented, and this bothers me. Blogging here helps, and I don’t want to be drugged out of my mind either, but still this is very, very hard.

Observing the Squirrel Mafia

Something that is going to help my recovery is I have been reunited with Lorraine and Marty! They moved on Saturday, and so far so good. Lorraine is currently snoring next to me all curled up as I type this (yes she snores!). Marty is being his usual aloof self, but ultimately he is a giant Mama’s boy. They are both getting spoiled with their cat tree in front of what is probably the best picture window ever for critter TV, and things with Dixie so far have been going well, though Dixie and Lorraine try to constantly vie for my attention.

Part of the agreement with the parents is that I buy a litter robot. Yes I named the litter robot Shitmeister, and I am happy to say that at least one of the cats is using it. I witnessed Lorraine use it on Saturday for the first time, and while I am not sure if Marty has ventured into it, eventually I will be taking the old box away and just going with the litter robot. It will be a few weeks before I do that though. OT is going to work with me on making sure I can do that, which is nice. It will help take some pressure off of my parents. Plus my Dad as we know and have covered previously, is not a huge fan of cats in general.

I suppose it is the not knowing is the hardest. Not knowing what my ultimate “new normal recovery” might be. Will I be able to teach a full schedule? Right now I’m not even close, a pedicure, manicure and lunch out today meant I was done for the day, so maybe three hours and that didn’t involve teenagers. Will I be able to ambulate around my parent’s house or my house without relying on a walker at least part time? I think so but the jury is still out on that, I might need to use a cane frequently around the house. Will I be able to drive? Survey says yes, but I don’t know when or if I will need hand controls etc. I do plan on seeing a specialist OT that deals with driving only eventually, but right now I have no knowledge on when I might be driving again. Here is the one no one likes to talk about, will I regain my former bowel/bladder control? Let’s just say that journey has been “interesting”. I’ve had my period over the weekend, and the one blessing I guess is I didn’t feel any cramps. Urology appointment tomorrow might be able to give me more strategies to help, but I don’t know how to tell if I have a UTI now. I might have to learn how to catheterize myself to make sure I am emptying my bladder to prevent infections.

Anyway- I promise more cat photos soon 😉

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