Saturday, June 07, 2008

A Gorilla on the Road

There was this post for BADD, by Mary at This Is My Blog, comparing having a disability with having a gorilla living in your house with you. I find it a very apt description of the process of "taming" your illnesses and injuries until you're able to cope with them in a practical way. Anyone interested in a vivid illustration of what it means to cope with a disability should read that post.

I think in the past year I've come along way in managing my life. It's helped that I haven't been putting pressure on myself to go out and get a regular job and fit into a regular life; in some ways getting the Voc Rehab people to admit that I'm not rehabable has improved the quality of my day-to-day life. I've been able to allow myself to slow down and take all the time I need to get places and do things, but more importantly, I've changed the things I try to do.

And now it's summertime, the time I feel the best, and I'm contemplating taking my new openness to life onto the next level. I've written here before about my desire to travel, and about my poverty due to the VA's denial of the reality of my condition, and now these two things have come together fortuitously. My husband and I will soon be out a place to live due to various factors, and my tentative plan is to start a grand journey, camping out of my car and exploring the world a little bit at a time. My gorilla and I are going on the road.

First stop will be my parents' house outside of Seattle, possibly for several weeks, and then I hope to head south. The trip from here to Washington will take me several days; its my trial run to make sure that I can actually handle sleeping in the back of my VW and driving around strange places without getting too stressed out. Maybe the trial run will fail and I'll be stuck living in my parents' attic or something, but I have high hopes, and faith in my hard-won coping skills.

I also hope that this may help my husband. Quite frankly, while I have made friends with the gorilla in our house, he hasn't. It would have never occurred to me, before, that the person with a seriously life-altering physical event could adapt to the changes in their life better than someone who just has to sit and watch the person affected. But a gorilla in the house fixated on your housemate is still a gorilla in your house, I guess, and he's had a hard time. I hope that giving him some time where I'm not sitting around being sick at him may help him out.

I realize that all my high hopes may be a little foolish, brought on by sunny days and a desire to choose to be optimistic, but even if things go horribly wrong, I'll still have a nice visit with my family and some neat photos to share when I get onto a computer again. My sister's cat had kittens like two days ago, so when I get there they'll be a week and a half-ish old. Honestly, I'm about as excited to see those kittens as I am to see the rest of my family, how sad is that?

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