Sunday, October 28, 2012

a Plateau

I've recently attained another milestone. a Plateau

1. An elevated, comparatively level expanse of land; a tableland.
2. A relatively stable level, period, or state: Mortgage rates declined, then reached a plateau.
intr.v. pla·teaued, pla·teau·ing, pla·teaus
To reach a stable level; level off:

it's been just short two years since VA doctor walked into my room and asked me if I wanted to get back out of that bed and start living a life again. In that two years I made some remarkable strides in regaining strength and movement of all four of my limbs. But last week in a session with my physical therapist we discussed the fact that I had reached a plateau in my progress, and after further assessment she had determined that my goal of "walking again" was unrealistic. And the consult written those two years ago would be closed. She said "it would not be safe for me or my wife if I were given a prosthetic leg and attempted to use it with my current level of skills". She began talking about all the many things that I had accomplished and this time frame, things such as becoming mobile via a motorized wheelchair and a van designed to carry it, receiving a determination that I was fit to go back to work. These are all very important things, especially in light of the fact that my diagnosis still quadriplegic.

It's a little bit hard for me to not be disheartened by this. I have never failed at anything my life and when I told this to my therapist she tried to remind me that I did not fail and that this was not a lack of trying. It was simply that my body have been so devastated by the chemotherapy, it should be considered a miracle that I'm able to move at all much less be discussing why I can't get up to walk away. I really don't feel very miraculous today in fact I feel pretty shitty. I have no intention of giving up fact the opposite is true. You see I believe that if I cannot continue working to get stronger I will get weaker that is something I'm not ready or willing to accept again. I've been a fighter all my life in every sense of the word, and this is just a continuation of a long fight I've been in for a while and if the goal is unrealistic, rather than give up on the goal, I'm just going to set a new goal. 

The thing I need to figure out now is; what is a realistic goal? I still have a Harley Davidson in my garage that calls my name constantly. I think I miss that most of all. Having been a fighter I'm forced to assess the tools that possess. The hands that used to crack walnuts are now barely able to hold the cell phone and dial properly. The fists they used to put my opponents on their butts are unable to clinch anymore. The legs that used to run effortlessly for miles on end are now a stump in a scrawny stick. There is a distinct possibility that after all these years of misusing these tools that my God has made them useless for that purpose anymore. 

As an example,
Last night we were at Hometown buffet for the first time in six years and while I was sitting there enjoying my meal the man at the table next to us begin asking the children seated by him about how much money their mother was making. When the kids asked about it he replied, "if she's making money now, it means I get paid her less". I was stunned but when I saw the look of joy on the children's faces flush out and become pained expressions I got so angry that I actually said to my wife, "I wish I could stand up right now, I'd kick his ass". So maybe that's why I can't stand up. I still have lessons to learn and angers to control. Also last night at Hometown buffet I paid the seniors discount price which means I've had 60 years to learn those lessons and those 60 years I'm still a hardheaded man who would settle first with his fists than to sit idly by and watch somebody get hurt.

So I'll work on this, finding a new goal probably something that includes becoming more Christian in my actions and reactions and less of a knucklehead. Either way I'm not ready to give up.



Mike Kuzan said...

Sir you are a wiser man than me in so many ways! God bless you for this post because it sure made this 58 year old retired vet think long and deep! God's strength to you fellow vet1

Red Shoes said...

For the record, you are a much stronger man than I...

I respect you more than you will ever know.


Blue Ridge Mountains said...

Don't give up, you still have a great mind.

Ms. A said...

What Blue said!

Karen said...

Kurt.. that idiot deserved your wrath - to think he is bringing his children up this way!

Don't give up, the fight in all of us is what keeps us going. I'd say get rid of the anger.. that's always only poision to your own soul. Look how far you've come in two years... that what you focus on, and move forward in the direction of your dreams. It's the only way to go. What about teaching a course on motorcycle safety? All these young kids getting bikes and not really knowing how to ride them... Contact your local DMV, see if they are interested! Just a thought...

You inspire us all - just read those comments!

Spockgirl said...

Haven't been over for a while, and I stop by for a visit to find this. Hmmm... Timing.

No, your mind will not let you give up.

As for hitting a plateau... When people (even in the medical profession) tell you things about yourself... your body... your condition, these are in essence observations, a diagnosis or prognosis based on years of study as well as what they see in front of them and what they have seen and learned from countless individuals before you. To this I say... nothing is set in stone until you die.

Now that all being said, if I had your inner strength and resolve, I could probably conquer the world... well, maybe my world.

Wife of a Wounded Soldier said...

I am so sorry. I've seen my husband reach plateaus and it's very hard. I pray that you continue to fight and strive and in turn knowing the limits and being OK with that. I am praying for you.

nj physical therapists said...

Thanks for the post. I had been looking for something related and found your web site in the process.. I will definitely be back for more.

Cloudia said...

Keep sharing your spirit with we who appreciate you!