Saturday, September 20, 2008

Today is the 4th Anniversary of Mike's stroke. I've been back to the Caringbridge site to review the journaling I did and all the wonderful comments that were posted by encouraging angels. It helps to remember all the blessings that came from that terrible crisis.

Journaling about our ups and downs regarding the stroke and recovery from the stroke was the impetus for starting this blog. All it took was a few friends telling me they missed getting "Updates on Mike," and I was off and, typing. Some of you are probably sorry that you encouraged me.

For those of you who still wonder about Mike's progress, there is progress still being made. Currently his physical therapist is concentrating on getting him out of his leg brace altogether. His occupational therapist has him working with a Saboflex gizmo that looks like a medieval torture device, but has enabled him to grasp, lift and move objects from one side of a table to the other. This week he actually used his left arm to hold a box of Jimmy Dean De-Lites while he opened it with his right hand. First time in 4 years he's had any practical, functional use of his left arm.

I still believe he would have made more progress had he left off all alcohol, yet, if I'd been through what he's been through, I would probably drink all day long. It's been a horrible roller coaster ride of emotions to deal with the reality that I live with a disabled alcoholic, who at times can be hostile and verbally abusive. I promised my therapist on Monday that I would go back to Al-Anon. My conscience will not let me leave him and my worn-out psyche tells me I must. I've discovered ways to refresh my spirit, but I need more. Maybe Al-Anon will help.

Helping him is easier when I think of myself as the manager of Mike's Assisted Living Facility. I help him approximately 12 hours/day, which means I'm "on call" to assist with whatever he needs, and the rest of the time I'm free to do as I please, and not officially "on call," even though he can reach me in case of emergency, but it has to be a real emergency, not just an episode of anxiety. (Most of Mike's anxiety stems from "a loss of control.") It's an arrangement he approved, not totally kosher, according to some people's standards, but it works for us. I have begun to feel compassion for him again, more than resentment, and I actually appreciate his company when I need a Democrat or an Episcopalian to reinforce my thinking. Platonic friendship between us still remains, and for that I am grateful.

He's gone again today to eat lunch with friends who, in the past, have allowed him to drive back home drunk, so drunk he falls in the floor when he gets home. The idea that he's been on the road in that condition really worries me. I just put in a call to "Bub" to please monitor the situation more closely, and to call me if he needs a ride home. Other than calling the Ridgeland police to pick him up, I'm not sure what else I can do.

Obviously, your prayers are still needed.

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