(This will be my last post about my experience with Guillain Barre Syndrome. If you want to know more about my rehab experience and years following, you’ll need to wait until I finish a book about my entire experience.)
I never liked playing checkers. My game growing up was chess. Knowing how to play and often winning at chess I thought checkers was boring. So of course the first thing I was expected to do in recreational therapy was play checkers. The recreational therapist had a large checkerboard mat that cover all of one of the square dining tables. If you’ve been to Cracker Barrel you know the kind i’m talking about. Everyday, shortly after lunch I was wheeled into the dining room to sit across form Lee to play a game of checkers. Since I couldn’t move anything below my neck, I would need to tell Lee what piece to move where. It was quite tedious and boring.
I asked myself if this was what my life was going to be. Playing checkers with someone else moving the pieces. Having someone else feed me; having someone else dress me. Was this as good as I was going to get. I know now that I gained so much more function beyond that, but I never knew then when progress would stop. Each time I was able to do something more we celebrated it as a victory, but it was also a reminder of how far I was from where I was before Guillain Barre.
Many have asked me how I did it. To be honest, I don’t know. During much of the time I was dependent on medical professionals, family and friends. But even they couldn’t stop the progression of Guillain Barre or speed up recovery; they could just do what was possible at that moment.
Maybe that’s the point here. I’ve heard it so many times, it does sound cliche. But some cliches are true. We need to live in the moment; not worry about the future; not be obsessed with the past. Observe the moment; smell it; taste it. Be immersed in the moment.
Please stay on topic.