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Friday Update: 07/06/07

Today was a much better day for me. Wednesday I was just in a funk…and I just couldn’t shake it. So yesterday, after a quiet morning at work, I decided to take the afternoon off and just spend some time with Matt. We talked through the afternoon, trying to get to the bottom of my funk. I think it was partly the fact that everything is so different now…the holiday was weird, and just the unfairness of our situation in general. Sometimes that unfairness seems unbearable, like there’s no getting around it. It can consume me, if I let it. We watched a documentary on HBO Tuesday night about people with traumatic brain injuries and it followed them through their recoveries…or lack there of. It was a very sad, but moving, documentary. Parts of it were so familiar to me, watching the families struggle with the unknown outcomes, hoping for a miracle and living in disbelief that their lives have changed so drastically. There was one couple in particular who touched me. They had only recently become engaged, when he fell and suffered a brain injury. He was in a coma for several weeks before beginning his recovery. He couldn’t talk, walk, etc…very similarly to Matt’s early days of rehab. His fiancé and parents were there by his side daily as he worked to regain some of his prior abilities, clearly devastated by his injury and desperate for him to return to the same man they had known and loved. Eventually he began to speak, but his intelligibility was low, his hearing was affected and he grew increasingly frustrated with his therapies. I could see so much of Matt in this other patient. Even though Matt always worked hard, always did was what was asked of him…he was also frustrated with the whole therapy thing. I could relate to that couple…in ways I haven’t had exposure to in our real life. I think maybe this movie really affected me…it stuck with me…and I think it brought up feelings I hadn’t really let myself feel for a while.

But, Matt’s been feeling good these days and was there to help me talk through my frustrations. We spent the rest of the night together, talking…and it was just what I needed. Matt and I talked about his future…the possibility of work, when he might stop therapy, how he spends his days…all good things to talk about. Matt was there to assure me that he is truly making the best of the situation…enjoying his quiet time at home, as well as the time spent with friends and family. He talked about how much fun he had last Saturday. We had gone over to our friends Jay and Stacy’s house to celebrate her sister’s birthday. We hung out on their patio while Jay grilled, and talked with their family throughout the evening. Eventually we were the only 2 left and we talked into the night out on their patio…it was great! We talked and laughed, and even talked about Matt’s early days in the hospital. It was good to hear them talk about things they had remembered, which I had forgotten. Jay and Stacy were there with me in the emergency room…they had taken our dogs home to care for them…they arranged for our living room carpet to be cleaned…Jay even spent that first night with us in the waiting room. I had forgotten that. I think it touched Matt to hear all these details from their perspective. He has no memory of it all, and I think it feels therapeutic to hear other people’s accounts, and talk about it. We had a really good time with our old friends and are looking forward to living closer to them in Ankeny. It was just another example of us taking another step closer to ‘normal’…even though we know it will never again be what we had once considered normal.
I took today off as well, to just spend time with Matt, doing something that we both enjoy. It seems like every time I have a day off it’s to take Matt to a doctor’s appointment, or something equally as unfun. And since I had been feeling down on the 4th, I decided today we’d do something fun...not work on home projects, house work, or sit around watching tv…I wanted us to do something that was very Matt and Emily. So, this morning we went browsing for furniture at a couple of places, looking at different things we might want to buy for our new house. It was fun to talk about our new house and think about how we want to set it up. Making plans for our future in our new home…it was so good. We’ve always enjoyed talking about the future and dreaming of things down the road. It may seem immaterial to get excited about buying a new tv stand, or dining room table…but it meant a lot to me. It was such a welcome reprieve to talk about something so normal as furniture. It doesn’t have to be specially designed to accommodate Matt, it doesn’t have to bend to fit our ‘new’ lifestyle…it’s just furniture.

After shopping we went to see a movie…another thing we love to do but haven’t done in a while. There’s really no reason why we can’t go. In fact, one of our local theaters lets us in free with the wheelchair…so there’s really NO reason not to go…except that we let the inconveniences of transportation etc get in our way. It is so easy at the end of a busy day at work to just stay in for the night. I think we had gotten in a rut…and I’m determined not to let that happen again. I want us to continue to do things we enjoy…even if it’s a little more challenging to do so, it is always worth it in the end.
Today we had a great time together…just being Matt and Emily. It was time well spent, and much needed. Time to clear my thoughts, get some perspective back, adjust my attitude, and just enjoy my husband.

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