Friday, February 13, 2009

The Power of Supportive Positive People

It truly amazed me how many people showed up when my family needed help. The North Shore running and triathlon communities have some very special people. The hospital staff were also great. When they first found I was sick, there was a meals on wheels set-up to help my wife keep all of the balls in the air. Running the house, making meals and visiting me in the hpospital for three months was a tremendous feat. The tri-club really helped out. Another angel on our team was Denise Morbey who is a physio in West Vancouver. She would come and visit me and helped me retain range of motion in my left arm and leg until they started to work on their own. Talk about service, straight to my hospital bed. One of those people who can never really thank enough. When I first started coming home from the hospital on weekends, I had members of the NS Tri Club carry me up and down the stairs of my house in my wheelchair so I could be at home. These people have been incredibly encouraging throughout my rehab and seeing their accomplishments as triathletes and runners has kept me motivated to continue pushing for improvement.

It took me almost 16 months to realize that it was unlikely I would fully recover. What kept me going during that time was focusing on total recovery. In July of 2008 I began to realize that I could no longer rely on total recovery and I had to start facing what activities I was no longer able to do. Jennifer Allen, the Social Worker at the lions Gate Out-Patient Rehab Program helped me to see that although I could no longer do things the way that I used to, it didn't mean they couldn't be done. She helped me to realize that I couldn't cycle anymore on a typical upright road bike, however, a recumbent trike was quite possible. That is the attitude I try to continue to maintain. Now I look at how I have to modify things in order to participate rather than what I can't do. My friends continue to help me by inviting me along on their activities.

This melding of my old attitude of try anything once, with the need to find new ways to participate has been the turning point in the emotional part of my rehab. This is also what has led me to be a volunteer Co-ordinator for the Young Stroke Survivor's Group with the North Shore Stroke Recovery Centre. Hopefully I can draw other stroke survivors along with my new attitude.

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