I am getting increasing requests asking how I am. Since I’ve only written one blog in the past two weeks—which is unprecedented—it’s understandable.
After leaving Rome Center rehab against medical advice—well, hell, I hadn’t seen a doctor so there really wasn’t any medical advice, was there?—I returned home on Wednesday. My friend and ex-aide Amelia came and got me settled back into bed. John Terry at the county Long Term Care Resource Center got my regular aide service turned back on in a matter of hours. My new aide, Marilyn—who had worked for me one day before I was hospitalized with intractable back pain—was able to return to work the next day.
The first thing I did on Thursday was go to the eye doctor and get a new prescription for glasses. My close friend Steve took me to the store for some groceries—the refrigerator was empty—and insulin, thence to the optician. It took a week to get glasses, but my friend Kyle Roy in Oregon explained via Facebook that if you hit Ctrl and + it will increase the size on the print on your computer which was enormously helpful. So Marilyn set to work in my kitchen cooking up a storm—vegetables! you can’t get them in the hospital!—and life began to return to something better than normal.
I now take one injection of insulin every evening. My glucose has gone from an average of 380 to 130. That’s freaking amazing. My thirst—and therefore my drinking—is considerably less. The most remarkable thing is the amount of emotional healing that has taken place. I have long insisted that mental illness is not biological but sociological; it is your human relationships that make you crazy, not your body. It’s time to re-think that.
Diana Sponsler, my wonderful massage therapist, who also does reiki and various kinds of energy work, came to the hospital for a massage after I started the insulin. I have learned that chiropractors and massage therapists—people who do hands-on work—can tell you more about how you’re doing than can your primary care physician or your psychiatrist, so I asked Diana how I was doing.
She replied, “Your energy level is much higher, and there’s a peacefulness about it. Before, you were, um, desperate.” Boy, did she have that right. In the two years that my glucose was climbing uncontrollably, I became progressively more desperate. I was in despair and clinging to some semblance of life when, in fact, there was none left. When quality of life became nonexistent, I finally tried the insulin. I no longer had anything to lose. Had I not been in the hospital, I never could have gotten over the hump of taking drugs again. (Did I mention the morning they thought I’d had a stroke but it turned out to be a drug reaction? If I’d been home alone . . .)
So now I’m at home alone and taking insulin. The reason I’d been sent to Rome Center for rehab was because, in my words, I was totally wrecked and a sitting duck for some major injury. In Dr. Tucker’s words, I was “deconditioned.” At home, I looked around and realized that I had everything I needed to run my own rehab program: I had the bed-exercises from the good physical therapist at the hospital; the really teeny tiny stand-up exercises from my friend Pat VanBevern, the geriatric-specialist physical therapist who is the head of things at St. Camillus rehab, and the basic recovery exercises from John Jablonka, the regular physical therapist to whom I’ve been retreating for the past decade whenever things got bad.
So, as I told Pat, my plan was to do the bed exercises twice a day for a week, then do his exercises for a week, then start on John’s exercises. Pat replied, “GO SLOW.” Yeah, right. I didn’t do any exercises for nearly two weeks. Minimal activities of daily living took all the energy I had—not to mention that my body was busy healing from a couple years of high glucose in which tissue repair was not a primary activity. About ten days ago I finally started with the bed exercises—once a day—and I want to tell you that the pain in my lower back is extreme. But I am not a quitter and with the help of massage and chiropractic, I will continue.
Meanwhile, there is a life to be lived. I have started attending services at Isaiah’s Table, which is the remnant of the recently closed First Presbyterian Church. I attended the second half of a Syracuse University football game (not enough energy for the whole game) and we won. There was a harp concert featuring 48 harps, which was a special treat. And I went to see “Argo,” which is a really terrific spy thriller movie—and it’s true.
On the activism front, I did some research and wrote a letter for George Tackley, doing business as Aladdin Transportation, and getting screwed by Able Medical and the government (https://annecwoodlen.wordpress.com/2012/11/24/who-needs-able/ ). In return I got a kiss and a ticket to a jazz concert. Also, one day I made the rounds of city hall, starting with a meeting with Marty Mastropole, the auditor, regarding Sharon Sherman. Sharon does business as the Greater Syracuse Tenants Network. In fact, her current grant—$40,000 of your money—says she’s supposed to be working on resettling homeless people, and she has no right to attend Tenants Association meetings.
I also stopped in to see Shirley Rowser, the city’s ADA coordinator, to find out why the potholes haven’t been filled in in front of the curb-cuts in the Harrison-Adams corridor. The city spent tens of thousands of dollars fixing the curb-cuts but now they are unusable because you can’t get across the broken street to reach them. Then I dropped in to see Sara Wall-Bollinger at Health-e-Connections (see also https://annecwoodlen.wordpress.com/2012/10/14/how-you-lose-control-part-i/ in three parts) but she wasn’t in and I didn’t have an appointment, so I moved on to Joey Lipari, administrator at the Citizen Review Board (CRB).
His first quarterly report was due out last week. The CRB was previously a morally bankrupt organization so Joey has had to start from a negative position to rebuild the board, get the Common Council to amend the law authorizing the board, and start to hear the citizens’ complaints. The Syracuse Police Department is not yet cooperating but, given the history, it’s going to take some time. Check out the CRB at http://www.syracuse.ny.us/CRB.aspx .
So, my friends, I am doing well. Thanks for asking.