This is another essay from my book, “Run, Run Because You Can”. You can read the first essay from the book that I posted in this blog at: https://www.girlwiththecane.com/brain-avm-story-20/
On my first day on Penetanguishene General Hospital’s rehabilitation floor, I woke up thinking, “I can’t do this. I don’t want to do this.”
Decide whether or not to get up after we’ve been knocked down is like standing at the foot of a mountain and deciding whether or not we’ve got the stuff in us to climb it. Mountains are huge and craggy. They often rise through inclement weather. Often, what’s at the top isn’t even visible from the ground. Your safety isn’t guaranteed when you climb a mountain.
So why do it?
Because we must. Because the human spirit hates to be grounded when it can climb. Because we’re meant to go without fear and strike a trail that we can be proud of, right to the top of our mountains.
An elderly gentleman on my floor at Toronto Western was famous among staff and patients for repeatedly trying to escape from the hospital. He could not understand that he was too frail after his surgery to be even walking on his own, let alone living in his own home. He promised he would sit quietly in the wheelchair if they would let him get out of bed, but the nurses soon learned that he would hop up and make a beeline for the elevator as soon as he thought no one was watching.
He almost made it off the floor one night. One of my visitors mentioned to one of my nurses that he’d just seen an elderly man in a hospital gown heading for the elevator…did she want to know about that?
She dropped everything and ran from the room.
Never Give Up
I never met this fellow. I never even saw him. I did, however, hearing from my family about his escapades, and the stories delighted me. I do love people who go after what they want, and this man seemed to concoct a new escape plan every day. He became so hard to keep seated the wheelchair that the nurses were forced to belt him in it, for his own safety. He’d sit by the nurse’s station, as he claimed it was too lonely in his his private room, for which he paid. He would plead with my sister each time she walked past his wheelchair, “YOU will let me out, let me out!”. Dad once caught him trying to saw through the belt restraint with a plastic butter knife.
Faith, Hope, or a Bit of Both
Deciding to get up and try again needs that passion and conviction. It’s a decision made in the soul. When it’s made, heaven itself shifts, though we don’t always see the action that we want here on the ground. “Whew, that was easy!” you might say when it’s done. “This is what I have decided.” That’s how these decisions are.
When there’s no choice but to hope that getting up is going to be worth it, everything becomes very clear and very easy. It’s making that decision again, everyday, over and over, until you breathe it, that’s difficult. Because you won’t make it once, twice, ten times…you’ll have to do it as many times as necessary, believing that it is going to pay off. You can call that faith, or hope…personally, I think it’s a bit of both.
Whatever you call it, as long as you hang onto it, in whatever way that you can, you’ll be okay. I believe that.
To Brighter Tomorrows
That first day, after I asked myself if what I did want was to be flat on the back for the rest of my life, powerless to look after even my most basic needs, totally forfeiting control of my body and my life, I decided I had no choice to but to get up. And, as hard as it’s been sometimes to trust that whatever is at the top of my mountain is worth the climb, I’ll never regret taking that first step.
I am glad that I can still have faith enough to keep trying, and that I can dare to hope for brighter tomorrows.