There’s a point in the recovery from anything, injury, illness, a broken heart, when the patient begins to get restless. You feel immeasurably better, in fact, you don’t feel at all. That constant nagging pain which reminds you you’re alive, but also that you’re ill, has vanished. You feel strong, fearless, confident … well, ok, maybe that’s pushing it, but you no longer feel denuded, weak, delirious, fearful. This is a dangerous time.
It’s the time when you are at greatest risk, of re-injuring yourself, of allowing the illness back, of ripping your heart just that little bit more. It’s that time which cats use so well … the knowledge that the mouse will think itself safe before the cat has thought the situation hopeless. The problem, of course, is recognising it. For the past ten days, I have been sore – there’s been little in the way of what I’d call pain, just a soreness. This soreness has kept my arm quite immobile. Now, however, I seem to be able to sneeze without undue discomfort. This sounds like a pretty pitiful state of affairs, but when one thinks that a mere sneeze is ripping the internal stitches and tearing the mended flesh, the mended, rended, so to speak, that’s a pretty unpleasant experience.
When the pain stops, the wound becomes a battle of the mind. Control is ever important. Writing chapter eleven yesterday (not bankruptcy protection) and my arm started to fall by my side in its sling. Two or three times I caught myself on the verge of using it. Not, not, not cool. By the time I was done, it was back to being sore. Just a little: just enough.
Vigilance is the order of the day. Frustration the most visible symptom of recovery.
And yet the base level I return to is one of illness. This whole sorry business is bringing home just how important exercise is with PD – and a lot of exercise. My left hand is the most affected limb. As it spends all day on the end of a limb which has had its free will removed, it is gently atrophying.
This, then, is what keeps things ticking over. The exercises I must do constantly to keep my arm from being useless when it has finally healed.