31 August 2011

Back From The Edge

Back From The Edge
by Ensley Hill
08/29/2011, 8:20 PM #

Sometimes not knowing what the future holds is a bit of luck in itself. If I had known just over 4 months ago that diabetes, a heart attack, and a blod clot would have taken off both of my legs just below the knees and almost cost me my life, I would have been much more despondent and much less cheerful and optimistic than I now am.

When the doctor told me that in his opinion saving my legs would be impossible and that he was at present trying to save my life. "Let's do it, then," I replied; what else was there to say? It certainly wasn't welcome news, by any stretch but really, at that point I was pretty depressed, and in pain, and I was thinking, "What difference does it make, my life is over anyhow." For the first few weeks many people, including me, had doubts about whether I would live, and at that point I didn't even really care.

For the first 3 weeks or so I was receiving a shot of morphine every 3 hours and sometimes arguing for more. I had never experienced such pain nor for so long. The drgs caused occasional halicinations and weird dreams. But shortly thereafter my body kicked in and fought back, beginning to become actively involved in the healing process in a way I could feel and appreciate and the care and medicine added to that to greatly slacken the frequency and severity of the pain and speed up the healing and stregthening process. My mood and comfort dramaticly improved and I was quickly advanced to rehab in Halifax and trained to become proficient with the wheelchair, to the point where I now live alone in my new wheelchair-accessible place in privacy and confidence although the medical and home care people still check on me to monitor my general health and transitional progress.

Some friends, relatives, and health care professionals have made serveral comments throughout my healing and readjustment process about my courage, and good spirits and attitudes, etc, and I certainly appreciate the compliments, but really I was just accepting what I could not change, trying to keep the suffering and dispair to myself as much as possible, and then when the pain abated, little by little, and my healing and strength improved, I was really in good spirit and feeling upbeat, realizing my luck in being alive, relatively healthy and able to enjoy my life and life independently with few discomforts apart from havinf no legs and being confined to a wheechair. I have a decent place to live, an electric wheelchair and a hi-speed internet connection. I sometimes tell people that most times now I don't feel handicapped, I feel privileged. So many people in the world, even healthy people, are not nearly so lucky or so comfortable.

And now that I've finished making homemade bread and homemade soup and am settled at the computer here to whine and dine, indulge me a bit further while I count my blessings. Thank my lucky stars that I live in a fabulous country, Canada, with an awesome universal healthcare program filled throughout with professional, compasionate people from the abulance attendants (paramedics) to the doctors annd nurses, to the interns and student nurses. These wonderful people were amazingly helpful patient and supportive throughout my 4+ months in the hospital. I think that a civilized society is measured by its treatment and respect for all its citizens and that Canada is the champion by leaps and bounds. I realized the cash-crunch problem and the need to pay for the social net and administer it prudently and efficiently but our system is 2 notches above great and I hope we can save it and keep it sustainable.

Of equal importance and relevance to me, is the value, loyalty, and compassion of my friends and family. I had lots of visitors throughout my stay and they continue to do so even now. This is also true of my online, specifically Fray, friends, whose emotional and material support was so unexpected and heartwarming that it actually brought me to tears, and I'm not one easily moved to tears (a weakness prrhaps, I'm not bragging about it). I could say more about those Fray friends but they wish to keep the matter private and I respect their wishes. My family ans lifelong friends continuously exceeded my high opinions of them and were a bastion of strong support. I am exceedingly blessed in the quality of my friends and family, beyond anything I can verbally express. They were my tower of power in times of trouble. I have better friends and family than I deserve. I feel sorry for those who don't.

So, as for me, I am doing well and feeling fine. I'm a stronger and more grateful man than that guy who went to the hospital in an ambulance some 4 months ago. I hope all is well with you and yours.

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