Preparing to Leave my Atlanta Cocoon

It was a good day at Pathways, and as I wait to leave for a cookout for patients (if it isn’t stormed out), I’m contemplating life after rehab.

As most of you know, I’ve been in Atlanta since mid-April. First in-patient at Shepherd Center, then outpatient at Pathways, Shepherd Center’s rehab facility. I went home one weekend and was strangely relieved to be back to the studio apartment I share with Mom. All three locations have been like a safe cocoon, and as I prepare to “graduate” and come back to Columbia, I am getting a little anxious to leave my safe places.

I’ve made remarkable progress. I’m talking and walking again – stairs even – and talking again.  I’m shopping, cooking and even working a little. I have been through a lot of intensive rehab,and I should feel confident about coming home.

But today, I have noticed a lot of little things that worry me. I still get fatigued fairly easily. I haven’t been able to resume my workouts. Every so often words come out funny. When I get tired or sit too long, I walk like a zombie. I get winded easily. I still have my full-day neuropsych test and three-hour driving evaluation. There’s also the follow up with the ENT doctor, the one who did my trach and vocal cord surgery. What if one of those indicates additional issues? What then?

What if they missed something? Or I get back and find there were more issues from the aneurysm that I thought? It’s nerve wracking. I’m trying to take it one day at a time, but it’s hard not to think ahead.

Here, I’m one of the more advanced patients. At home, I’m afraid I won’t be back on my A game. I’ve gotten used to being here and comfortable in my rehab routine. In July, I’ll be staying with Mom the first couple of weeks because her house is all on one level. And she’ll taking me to various follow up doctors appointments. Once I get to my house, I’ll be returning to animals underfoot, rooms without grab bars and getting around on my own. That both thrills me and terrifies me!

I still have nine days here in my cocoon, so I guess I need to enjoy them. And take them one day at a time. On that note, I’m off to the cookout at Shepherd’s Secret Garden.

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