We have come a long way since last year. Jitish was still bound to the wheelchair, barely walking or talking this time last year. Today, he can walk on his own (but is still at a 99% fall risk). Today, he can talk his mind (despite his repeated fixation on the same topics and evident lack in knowledge). He fortunately continues to spark intelligence, with greater awareness of his surroundings.
Jitish was very aware of the holiday season, understanding very well that I would be home on holiday for a long time. Exhilarated by the prospect of having me home all day. He understood that after the 31st of December, 2016 comes January 1st, 2017. It seems a very trivial piece of data. But trust me, this is a big leap in his development! From the time that he only uttered the words “speed”, “engine”, “53”, “35” over and over. I had a tiny celebration in my head.
We also celebrated 9 years of being together (since the 1st of Jan, 2008); most of which have been full of giggles and glories (and will continue to be, damn it!). I am not sure if he remembers the day we so met, or anything from the past for that matter. But we celebrated. Altalee, a dear friend from work, was so gracious to find us a Christmas Tree. Lots of love to you, Altalee. My family loved the lights and colors in the home on Christmas day. Jitish wrapped all the tiny gifts and laid them under the tree. He was so happy and excited. Christmas, the 25th, is also the day we got married in India. We had to celebrate in our own way, didn’t we?
Jitish’s parents arrived on Christmas day, and it was a full house with all our parents. We had planned to get our parents to the US, on a vacation. Travel around the country, show them the Grand Canyon, Smoky Mountains, Big Sur and so much more. We had hoped to watch them and just sit back relax. This is like nothing we planned. But we celebrated. All six of us went to the Cheesecake Factory for the new year! I was sure Jitish would love being in a busy and crowded restaurant that served big portions of food! He attributes busy with good and popular. I am just grateful that he has shown signs of critical thinking and drawing intelligent inferences from observation.
New Year’s day was peaceful, relatively. Definitely better than the last!
And here comes the time when I have to say, “but”.
Jitish had a fall in the bathroom yesterday. It happened. He fell. And unlike the many times before, when I would rush to his side and assess the situation, this time around I just froze. As soon as I heard a loud thud come from the bathroom, I just cowered against a wall and sat myself down. Holding my hands to my ears and screaming for my mother. I realized in that moment that I don’t have the stomach for it anymore. My nerves are giving up. I realized that I cannot handle another panic attack. Another rush to the emergency room. I just cannot! So universe, don’t make me. Don’t provoke me. I am done with that chapter of our lives! Please. If that means that I would have to pad up the bathroom from floor to ceiling or make him walk with a helmet on his head, so be it. He has to be safe. Period. He can make all the ruckus he wants to, and yell and scream and bring the roof down. But there is no letting the guy be by himself in the bathroom. Not yet!
I spent the first (official) new year’s day back in the hospital, meeting my medical savior and his team. Just to follow up on my Acetabular Fracture and some discomfort from a scar on my hand. Turns out, my body is growing more bone! Yay! After having lost a few pieces, I was only relieved to know my body was growing more. Eh? Wrong! Heterotopic Ossification as it goes, is bone that forms in a location where it should not exist, getting in the way of soft tissue, muscles, ligaments or other tissues. We finally found the culprit causing all the pain I have been increasingly experiencing. In order to return some freedom to the hip joint and ease some pain, it is recommended to surgically cut out the extra bone. Or wait until it is absolutely necessary to; that is if the pain increases. So… I am choosing to wait! For now, I am going to welcome and cherish the bonus bone.
I still carry scars of the accident, and apparently a few shards of glass as well. Not a memento I want to keep. Certainly a painful and unwelcome resident. While my body has been great at pushing out these unwelcome guests, some have decided to pitch a tent. The surgeons finally got one of those glass shards out today. Thank you very much! Two other tiny ones remain, with a few more in my leg. Taking them out after more than a year is quite a task. Our bodies “wall in” the foreign object with scar tissue, often making it very difficult and painful to cut out. My foreign objects can have a home as long as they abide by the tenant rules!
After 11 months of taking care of us, my parents return to India on the 5th. God knows they need the break! But as the days draw closer, I just feel a huge hole in my stomach. Two more days with Amma and Atchan. They have been such a big support system for me, that I had taken so many things for granted. I just can’t think of them leaving yet. They have been such a big part of Jitish’s recovery and new life, I didn’t quite get enough time with them. Hopefully, we are moving closer to the life we left suspended back in time. And we can all have that real vacation and family time together!
I hope you had a wonderful new year! There is nothing more important and priceless than time with family.