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Wednesday Update: 08/16/06

I had a thought the other day…by the time Matt comes home from his stay at Omaha, he will have spent 6 of the past 12 months away from home. It just really hit me, how much time he’s spent in some sort of rehab/hospital setting in the past year…and it’s no wonder that I’m going crazy waiting for him to come back. More and more I am just feeling desperate for us to get back to some sort of normal life together – to have lazy Saturdays in our own home, to eat together on our patio, or in our family room, or at our dining table, to go to sleep together in our own bed, and wake up together as well, to have that quiet time at the end of the day together, getting ready for bed and talking about the days events…we always have our best talks right before bed. It seems unimaginable to me that we have spent so many nights apart…it is hard to grasp the fact that nearly a year has passed since our lives took this unexpected detour. I think of all the changes, all the things we’ve learned…the various stages of grief, frustration, and acceptance. The waves of emotions keep changing all the time. Lately though, I feel that our focus has changed somewhat. While we still look forward to the somedays in our future…we are also looking at our daily challenges in a different way. I see us both enjoying our time together more these days…just enjoying life more. For so long I think Matt was unable to enjoy things. He was so sad about his physical changes and so worried about what the ‘end result Matt’ would look like, talk like, act like. But now, I think he is realizing that there may never be an ‘end result Matt’. He may always be a work in progress…he will have daily challenges for a long time to come. And since there is no ‘end’ in site, we might as well enjoy the things we can along the way. While you and I may take our abilities for granted, Matt has realized that it may never be ‘easy’ for him to get up and get himself a drink of water. But he is also realizing that this shouldn’t stop him from doing it. He will get better at it, no doubt…but I believe he will always be keenly aware of how lucky most people are to be able to do things with such little effort.
This past weekend we talked a little about the early days in the hospital, and those few weeks at the nursing home. He has very little memory of the early parts and often asks questions about what it was like. It is still very surreal to us. It is hard to imagine we went through that…to remember what he was like in those early weeks…unresponsive, unable to move or talk, or control anything. It is nothing short of amazing…all that he has accomplished in this past year. He is amazing to me.
Tonight he called to tell me that he walked outside with his physical therapist and the walker, from one building all the way to another. While I’m not sure exactly how far it is…it is easily the farthest he has walked at once to date. His therapist challenged him to walk over to the other building where a group of massage school students were giving free massages. Matt was apprehensive…he hasn’t walked much outside, and the thought of not having anything there to sit on should he need it worried him a little…but he accepted the challenge and he succeeded. He walked all the way over there and had himself a free massage. He said the walk went fine and the massage was so-so…he thinks I give a better back rub! Of course, he tried to downplay the importance of this milestone, because that’s just the kind of guy he is…but I know he felt good about it…good enough to call me up at the end of a long day to tell me about it.
I just can’t wait until we can lay in bed together, at the end of a long day, and talk about things until we fall asleep…safe and content in the knowledge that we will both be there the next morning to do it all over again.

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