A few hours home and already I begin to doubt everything.
I wake up in the dead of night and realize a trip to the restroom is in order- and that my body has let me sleep too long.
But I've got this, I've got it down to a science.
But... that was in the hospital. I desperately try to maneuver my wheelchair around the boxes stacked next to my bed. After a few false starts I make it, launching myself through the too-narrow-for-a-wheelchair doorway, and hopping, using the alarmingly wobbly new walker bought earlier today, towards my goal. I just barely make it.
Once I've wheeled my chair back to bed, I see the beds other occupant, Lucy, eyeing me, her tail starting to wag once I meet her gaze. She starts for me, and I hold her off until I've climbed in. I no sooner have pulled the covers up over me when she wiggles up and plops herself on top of me, lying fully on my body, her face less than a foot from mine.
I pet her, murmuring to her as my thumbs stroke along her soft cheeks and jowls to the downy underside of her ears, rubbing behind them. I talk all the while, telling her what a good girl is, and how much I missed her, but inside I can't stop thinking.
I was so anxious to leave that place- they helped you with just enough that you believed you didn't need help, and now, after just half a day home, I see how untrue that is. Already I've faced the harsh reality that I can't do anything for myself here. I can't get inside by myself, I need someone on the other end. I can't carry a beverage or plate or bowl of food. I can barely maneuver. I admit to myself how unsafe I feel, how absolutely out of control. I'm scared. At the rehab place, I knew that if I fell I had help- even if I caught crap for it, the fact is, I was safe. But that's not true anymore.
What happens if I'm on my own, as I usually am here, and one thing goes wrong and I fall?? What happens then? I remember too well how easy that is, and that was in a handicap friendly facility.
I am still petting Lucy, and her eyes drop shut as I hook my fingers under her harness to rub her there. She, for her part, doesn't seem to care for anything but the fact that I am home again.
I feel tears in my eyes and something like sadness tugs at my heart. I'm surprised when the thought comes- that I actually will miss the occupational and physical therapists. I will miss working with them every day. I wish that could continue. I think that as insufferable as some of the other people were, I'd put up with them again to be able to work with that team on my recovery.
Crying now, I want to turn to someone and grab them and tell them to take me back, please take me back, that I'm not ready to take these risks and fight this stupid uphill battle for the next six months on my own. I'm not ready to be afraid of what will happen when I try to do something, anything, alone. I'm not ready for the unkindness or limited patience of strangers in public or people around me in general as I struggle to do the smallest things. I'm not ready to have to ask for so much from my family and roommates and friends. I hate it. I hate being helpless and powerless.
As I lie here, on my comfortable bed in my own room, my lovely sweet dog now curled up between my feet, I think to myself that I am not ready to be home.