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May 12, 2008

By:

Life Is A Journey

Three and a half years ago a tremendous change occurred in my life. While at the shore, I collapsed with a massive brain hemorrhage. I went from enjoying an active life to having serious, life-threatening problems.

I had to make adjustments in all areas of my life. It has been a long journey going from one hospital to another, staying in a nursing home for one month; having therapists coming to my home for months, using outpatient services at my local hospital, and now going through a maintenance program.

The most difficult part was my dependence on others.

All my life I have liked to play word games. I would often reflect on one word in thought. So for cognitive therapy, when I wasn’t able to read yet, I would take words like challenge, attitude, love, persistence, and humor and cling to them.

I set goals for myself. My early goals revolved around caring for my personal needs, challenging myself in conversation and reading, and continuing with my rehabilitation activities. My long-term goals included driving again, getting regular exercise, and fully realizing that a physical challenge may be my life challenge.

I have accomplished all my goals and more. I now drive again thanks to a rehabilitation driving course I took at the local hospital. I only drive during off-peak hours and I don’t drive at night. Recently I drove to the shore for the first time since my accident.

I’m getting back into organizations that were life-giving before.

I have been taking courses at a local college for the past year.

I get around on a walker or cane – but I get around! I water-walk 3 times a week and get regular daily exercise.

This summer I traveled alone by airplane to visit a friend. The airlines are very accommodating for people with disabilities. I made arrangements beforehand for wheelchair assistance and for help boarding.

For a while I may have been on a dark path but as I continue to heal and tune into life, I realize all the lessons I learned. Today I am filled with gratitude for the good medical help I received, and all the support from my family and friends.

I am not in charge! I have given more thought as to what are possessions and what are precious gifts. My reflective words lately are gratitude, patience, listening and joyful. I know I am fortunate to be alive.

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