After my rehab ranch resignation, my goal was to find normalcy, equilibrium, and balance in my new Floridian life. Unfortunately, in my newfound existence, I have yet to experience anything resembling physical peace and harmony, which I felt was in need. My life in Florida was wildly chaotic compared to what seemed like bumpy rainbows and butterflies in Ohio. However, my absolute happiness here trumps all the physical difficulties that had appeared since arriving in Florida.
The rehab facility had an accessible van, and Karen dropped me off and pushed me into my house as the ramp was still too steep. So, after my fifteen-day stay in the incredibly confusing medical nightmare called the hospital and rehab center, I arrived home. I wanted to return to normalcy, though I had experienced nothing in the realm of normal since coming to Florida. As Karen pushed me into my kitchen through the garage, I looked around, seeing everything I had only briefly experienced before the ER visit.
My office desk continued to be my uncomfortable sleeping space, which caused unexpected medical troubles. Sitting in a wheelchair twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, is terrible for the human body in various ways. My legs were swelling like balloons at a kid’s birthday party, making me fearful of blood clots, which a doctor told me was the worst-case scenario. It was time for me to contemplate options for reducing the swelling in my legs and finding a better bed to rest my heavy head.
I am unsure what caused my muscles to weaken drastically, but I began periodically plummeting to the floor. These falls once again required me to call for that triple-digit rescue I dreaded and tried to avoid at all costs. My weakness was exhausting, making me fearfully hesitate and contemplate my every move. Again, I was overthinking every movement, making every transfer more risky and a fall more likely. I eliminated the idea of doing anything quickly wholly from my brain bucket, giving a new meaning to think slowly and move cautiously.
Another side effect of sitting in my wheelchair all day and night was that the muscle spasms in my legs became more frequent and violent. These vicious muscle jerks would thrust me forward painfully, slamming my chest into the table I was sitting at or even nearly throwing me out of my chair. The muscle relaxers my doctor prescribed were ineffective against these powerful leg convulsions. I found a strap that I used as a seat belt tying it off, making it unlikely that a muscle twitch, shift, or jerk would throw me from the chair again.
Thankfully, both physical and occupational therapy from the VA arrived a week after my return from my hospital horrors. First came an evaluation to test and find my abilities level, not wanting to push too hard or fast as that would be terrible for my MS. Next, they began asking about my overall goals for the sessions, and finally, pinpointing transfers of all types was my paramount priority. So we set a schedule for me to see PT and OT twice weekly for six weeks and then reevaluate.
To my readers, things may have appeared impossible, like the struggle was not worth it, as if there is no light at the end of the tunnel, but your thoughts are wrong. All tasks are a challenge, a big deal, and a significant struggle that I contend with daily, but these difficulties are manageable. You may not realize that for me, friends and family can take the wind out of the sails of this monster called MS. Camaraderie, togetherness and fellowship make the damage-causing MS beast impotent in its ability to ruin happiness and joy in my life. It does not matter where you are geographically, emotionally, or physically; strengthen and solidify your relationships. These individuals are your support system, which is essential as you will need them often for a healthy life. Family and friends are crucial weapons in fighting a chronic illness.
I needed things to get better, but life made things bitter.