Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Weather and Work: The Best Medicine

Forest fall in the seeded area (above) and the driveway (below)

Today I tackle the three huge branches that require sawing.

What a relief! I woke up this morning with tremendous enthusiasm for the day. I’ll be outside all day and I’ve lots and lots to do. In fact, I have days of work to do on the yard and both today and tomorrow promise to be sunny, so I’ll be busy all of both days just as I was yesterday.

I had a true beauty of a day yesterday. After the walk, I spent all outdoors clearing up the yard after a quick trip into the village for supplies with which to make Prawn risotto—one of my favourite dishes. 

As soon as I got home, I was out in the yard. Now that my entire lot (1/2 an acre) is landscaped, I need to clean up all of it after a storm—and this was the second worst storm I’ve experienced since moving here.  I cleaned the newly seeded lawn (see above) and the driveway (look again) and some of the old part of the front yard. 

All that took three hours because first I had to rake it all up and then I had to burn it in the incinerator—and the burning takes a while. I stay with the burn when I’m incinerating to be sure nothing spills out, and I feed the fire slowly with all the forest fall I’ve collected into the wheelbarrow. I have to burn some, or I’ll amass too much waste in my wood waste pile that’s just outside my back fence. (Thereby attracting many huge Barred Owls who find food in the rodents that move into the pile to den.)

When I was done with that, I reinforced the parts of my tent garage damaged by a branch falling during the storm, and then I made the risotto. I was on my feet and active from 9:00 am to 8:00 pm and I don’t think I could have done anything better to lift my spirit.

I’d been depressed for about ten days due to pain and a serious decline in my speech.

Just before I am to talk to a clerk, nurse, vendor, my friends, I try to speak to get an idea of “where I’m at.” That’s how I assess capacity; it’s how I learn who’s in control, me or my affliction. I’ve been doing this kind of self-assessment for years, and usually my worst was being only able to say a single syllable. It sounded like I was saying “Uh.” 

I’ve been functionally normal with my dog walking friends for two years, thanks to spending three hours a week walking our dogs together. I really like them all, and deeply. Regina is a blessing. We, Judith, Di and Donna … the five of us are sisters. Being with them is the best part of my life on Gabriola (other than visits from long-time and dear friends). 

But these past ten days have had me barely able to speak to them. I felt a loss of control, that the affliction was increasingly in charge—a dominatrix. I couldn’t make a sound. It was like I was talking at 33 RPM instead of 78. (I’ll bet you haven’t thought about record speeds for a long time. I’m that old.) Plus, I started having seizures in their company and over the course of the week my speech worsened.

Now, if I try to speak alone, I have a seizure. I’m way, way worse than I’ve ever been since I went into the hospital at the onset of the C-PTSD crisis in April 2016. Some “spasticity” is back in my arms and face, again like back in 2016.

All this got me down. I sank low, but yesterday the fog lifted, and I credit the exercise and being outdoors all day in sunshine—exactly what I’m in for today and tomorrow and every coming sunny day. I feel saved by the weather. I still am locked solid mute and I’m worried about this decline, but in two weeks I can talk about it with Dr. Shoja.

Please pardon my kvetching.

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