Sunday was a perfect Sunday. I did diddly squat after our morning walk. The walk was incredible, again largely due to the forest fragrances. It wasn’t as cold as it’s been, and the sunshine was so wonderful on my skin. The walk was fabulous, and I was reminded of how fortunate I am to live here on Gabriola Island. It’s paradise. And my speech was very strong. I talked comfortably with different people as we walked. That powerful decrease in capacity is gone. I thought that I’d never recover. Silly me.
I read the afternoon away and then took Her Highness to the park to play fetch the ball. I wanted to tire her out so that when we went to Nancy’s for dinner, she’d be pooped and happy to just rest while we ate and gabbed together.
Just before 5:00, we left for Nancy’s. As expected, it was a great night with good food and lots of chatting. It was great, but getting home was a bitch. I got almost home on North Road, my usual route, and then I came upon an accident of some sort, and I had to drive all the way back to the south end and come home on South Road.
Today will be soft. It’s brilliant and clear outside, and, of course, cold. ON Wednesday the rains and warmer temperatures return. And I’m one very happy camper because my speech is very good now and the second coming is history. Unbelievable!
Monday began with a walk with my small walking group. I was full of energy so I found myself consistently way ahead of the pack, so I stopped often so that we could re-group. But what a wonderful uplifting morning walk it was. To be able to walk, in 3 minutes, from my back door to engulfed in raw unspoiled nature, is a big part of my love for life on Gabriola.
I lived in Vancouver my entire life, and I felt blessed to have been born in the city. During the last decade of my residency there, I walked 4-5 hours every lovely day. I walked some routes several times, but every other walk was different. The average length of my walks was 10.7 kilometers. I covered a lot of ground and really got to know the city. It never once occurred to me to leave—except for extended vacations.
The onset of FND made me move here. The curse of the condition led to me making one of the smartest decisions of my life.
Twice, lately, at our local grocery store, people have signed, ‘thank you,’ to me. I deeply moved me, both times, because it made me that I was part of a remarkable and welcoming community. The island has a very small town feel because our village is so small. But it’s excellent, between the village and Amazon, I can get everything I need. I go to Walmart in Nanaimo for toiletries and pet supplies, and because it’s an adventure—and sushi.
The Nesters clerks have also asked my name and told me there’s. That never happened in Vancouver. I can’t think of how to describe the feeling, but it’s an intense feeling, it makes me tear up, and it seems to me it’s because I’m overwhelmed with joy and gratitude. It’s those things, plus nature, that makes me wish I’d come a lot earlier. That said, I had a great life in Vancouver.
Now, when I ponder things past, I understand almost everything differently since my diagnosis and the explanation of the cause. I see things that make me believe in the diagnosis, and it’s been very painful to see them in this new light. I believe I’m grieving that past and feeling the pain of understanding. I have a lot to talk about with Dr. Shoja. I’m thinking of this visit (or visits) as a ‘tune up.’
Every day, when I fetch wood, I am grateful for the splitter. I burn less wood, but I’m toasty warm all the time. And why do I have the splitter? Because of sciatica. Just as FND made me move to Gabriola, sciatica made me buy the splitter. Ying, yang. I think it’s magical, that every bad thing I endure, leads to something wonderful, and that keeps me happy and moving forward. It’s something I’ve known for a long time: I am blessed with relentless optimism. It’s a magnificent way to be.
Every day, at some point, I speak to a pet. But I don’t say much, and I’ve only not been able to do that during the second coming. I can do it again, so it’s not until I Zoom or engage with someone, do I know at what level I am functioning with speech.
After the pets, the people I speak best with are strangers on the trails where I only need 2 – 5 words, and with my small dog walking group with whom I walk three times a week. I’ve been with them for 6 years. Then there’s with my friends on Zoom or in person. With them, I’m dreadful at first, and then quite fluent for the duration of the time together.
And all that changes, depending on where we are, or what we are talking about, or environmental aspects—any number of things can change my fluency. It’s constantly in my head to monitor my speech to learn the patterns. It’s been reassuring to realize the where once I was obsessed with my feelings about my condition, I am now focused on management of my condition. Progress.
These are the things I want to talk about with Dr. Shoja. It’s not about her giving me insights, like I saw as I grew up on television and in movies where the doctor is the source of insight. The closest thing I can think of to describe my relationship with her is to say that its like defending a thesis with your advisor in college. I relate to her like a teacher, not a doctor. And the thesis I am working on with her, is my life story. She is the objective, voice. She provides a lot of insightful vocabulary.