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June 27, 2007
Flying Solo

For the past month — since the day before I went into the hospital in May — I've had either my sister or my mother visiting here. Nominally, they were here only to help me with the things I had to do but could not do for myself. In short, they were my chauffeurs.

Sis drove me to the neurologist the day I learned that what I'm dealing with is hydrocephalus rather than something more permanent and/or more lethal. Even though I was on my way to the hospital, we basically left the neurologist's office high-fiving; the news was far far better than anything I had expected or hoped for. I can be fixed.

There's much to be done before they can operate on me. I have to get my blood pressure under control (it is at the high end of the normal range... not quite "high blood pressure" but getting uncomfortably close.) We have to be 100% sure I'm not diabetic (we're 99% sure.) And I need to lose some weight... which I've needed to do anyway. I'm 6'8" tall... various sources disagree on the ideal weight, but my doc says I should be around 220lbs. I scoff at that. At my fittest, when I was in the Army 20 years ago, I was never less than 240lbs... and I was fit. I'll settle for 250.

250. As long as I'm fantasizing, I'd like to win the lottery, too. And have responsible politicians in D.C. And I want that pony I never had as a kid. And, dammit, where are the flying cars? We were promised flying cars by now.

So anyway... there are additional tests the medicos will have to do on me to make sure my nerves all still work. I suspect they do, but....

On good days I have some feeling in my legs now that I didn't have before, but many of the muscles in my legs and hips remain unresponsive to conscious control. Plus, the muscles I do have control of are weak weak weak, which makes standing and walking, even with a cane, difficult. I now have a pair of crutches I depend on for longer excursions afoot, meaning, any time I go out of the house.

This is not good.

The muscles are weak due to the nervous system signalling issues that have rendered other muscles totally unresponsive, but also due to lack of use. I can't exactly go out jogging to keep them in shape. My legs have always been pretty strong, but now I can see the major muscles have wasted away due to disuse — my calves are positively skinny now.

My calves and hamstrings are tightening up, too, to the point that when I am standing they want to pull my knees to a bent position; my quads (or, more accurately, the parts of my quads that actually work) when trying to hold my knees straight can't keep up with the exertion, so my maximum "standing time" with a cane is about two minutes.

I can't exercise my legs effectively, but I can do stretching. That should help the calves and hamstrings.

I am so going to need physical therapy after my brain is fixed.

My sister and Mom did much more than just chauffeur me around. My sister busted her butt and did a lot of the housekeeping I have been unable to do, which I had put somewhere near at the bottom of my priority list.

When my sister went back home, Mom stepped in, and took care of the cooking and day to day housekeeping. I've never eaten healthier, and the house has never looked so good.

Plus, of course, Mom provided ample proof of the adage "no matter how old you are, you're still their kid." She kicked my butt to get things done around here that I'd been putting off for the past year because they were inconvenient or too hard... or because I never thought to do them.

Mom, however, has her own life to live, and yesterday left to go back to California. For the first time in a month I'm on my own.

I have my meds, and I have groceries, or can get them delivered. I have a set of chores to accomplish which, though I can't do them all at once, I can tackle a little bit at a time, even in my current condition.

I think I can manage on my own for a while. I hope.

Posted by Russ at 07:15 PM, June 27, 2007 in Health

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Can you get someone in a few times a month to do the heavy cleaning?

Posted by: Ith at June 28, 2007 03:38 PM

Are you offering?

I mean, I know it'd be a long commute and all....

Posted by: Russ at June 28, 2007 04:54 PM

Hey - maintain the discipline to make positive steps every day (pun intended). Look you-who-lacks-self-control, if you aren't doing soemthing RIGHT NOW to fix it, you doing something wrong. Get on it, get it done!

Posted by: Brad at June 29, 2007 12:21 PM

I know you can make it to the goal. You are an Emerson! Do not forget the strengths that your parents taught you as a child - and yes, we are still someone's child (Thank's Mrs. E. for the interim help!) and we are someone's brother (Thanks Cara, thank you too for the interim help, & Brad for your support and encouragement!) and we are someone's friend (way, way too many to thank for the encouragement and prayers!)

Family, in any way, is a great thing!! The best thing about family and friends - all you need to do is ask!

Posted by: Robert at June 30, 2007 10:17 AM

Just a bit of a commute, yeah.

Posted by: Ith at July 2, 2007 06:49 PM

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