Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Surrealism or how miracles are wrought

Sixty feet total. 375 days post-stroke.

Just. Like. That.

In case you caught the measure of disbelief in my voice at the end of this clip, yeah, I was amazed. The whole afternoon is hazy like when heat rises off of pavement. Mirage or miracle? That's what I'm asking myself.

I posted another clip on Facebook hailing our milestone, and friend asked for explanation, since Mr. PNU's prognosis a year ago was that he'd never walk again. I was glad for the chance to answer. 

This is what I said:

Thing is, it's part dogged perseverance, part acrobatics. He's worked and worked to strengthen his left side, which he still cannot feel. The left side of his body "feels" as much a part of him as, say, the nearest object to your left that you wouldn't consider a part of your body. So since August we've come to Neuroworx three times a week for anywhere from one hour to three hours each session. His therapists are unrelenting, and Mr. PNU is a workhorse. He pushes himself to do more and more every time we come, and the therapists oblige. Matt Carter, the therapist working with him in this video is, himself, a walking paraplegic. He simply knew when Mr. PNU was ready and was the first to take away the cane last Friday. 

I purchased the quad-cane as a birthday present the second week in December. At home, Mr. PNU has utilized it for walking short distances—at first from his bed into the bathroom, then from our room down the hall to the front room—going a little further every day. At first, using the cane was completely disorienting, because each step on the left takes a measure of trust in something he cannot feel and that has taken considerable time to control. His gait has become smoother, more even, and his cadence pattern from cane-right foot-left foot to simultaneous right foot/cane-left foot. They've strengthened his quad and glutes with crazy squats and a seated exercise machine called the NewStep (something like a seated elliptical). He's acquired a little more control at a time over that left hip action since we began at Neuroworx eight months ago. And the balance issue, which was a huge hurdle if not the biggest, has slowly become less distressing and a more acceptable feature of ambulation. He mentioned that walking without the cane is quite disorienting. You probably noticed the bobble in the middle; something like that four months ago would have sent him into a literal panicked tantrum/meltdown. He's simply learning to make accommodations that most of us will never have to, and that none of us could possibly understand without experiencing a stroke ourselves. He is my hero. He just keeps kicking it—day in, day out. 

I did not believe we would ever be here. I didn't. It wasn't lack of faith. It was realism. 

What Mr. PNU is accomplishing is astounding considering the extent of his brain damage and the physical limitations that damage presents. If anything, I hope our determination, hard work, and team effort will better help people when they speak of "miracles." It's a word I've heard tossed around casually over the last year, and I don't think people have any idea how carelessly they are in their usage. Miracles do happen, but they aren't instantaneous. They take immeasurable amounts of courage, effort, persistence, grit, stubbornness, and work with which one is not commonly acquainted. And most importantly, miracles take time. Nothing happened here that wasn't possible. Miracles aren't the impossible coming about. Miracles are about reserves of power and strength that lie untapped. δύναμις is Ancient Greek for power/strength/ability, and in the New Testament "miracle." And so I would assert that miracles are an opportunity presented to learn the majesty and wondrous capability of the human. Miracles are an unmasking. 

And yes, I find the divine in that.

1 comment:

  1. This is so exciting! Thanks for letting us join in the journey.