Sept 7, 2019
Three-month update by Danny Aldham.
Progress is slow. My medical team tell me to judge progress in weeks, not days. And I do have a team. Three doctors: My GP, a Physiatrist, and the Neurologist. Two Physiotherapists, a Rehab assistant and an Occupational Therapist. I visit Lionsgate hospital three or four times a week.
My walking is pretty good, only a little wobble. My stamina sucks, I can barely make it around the block, and only once a day. My goal for next week is to make it twice. The dog would like that.
My hands have been slower to come back. I can feel hot and cold, but my sense of touch is very reduced. I am typing with two fingers. I try to touch type, but make too many spelling mistakes. I can’t hold a pen and write yet. The OT said we will start on that next week. Driving is out of the question.
I have good days and bad days. More good than bad. The pain is less, I have been off the hydromorphone for a while. Still taking a few other drugs.
I am in a bit of a weird spot with therapy. The protocols for how to treat my injuries are at odds. On the physical side they say I will improve by pushing hard, doing the exercises, working up a sweat. The old ‘no pain, no gain’ approach.
But on the concussion/neurological side, they do not want me to push. If I work too hard mentally I get physically ill. Getting to that point is counter-productive and delays my healing. Trying to be aware of that upper bound of mental activity is what I am working on.
It is frustrating. I have lots of free time, to the point of being bored, but I cannot read too long, or concentrate on new skills. I had thought I might learn Spanish with my time, but I can only do that for twenty or thirty minutes a day. I can’t multi-task at all, and my memory is shaky.
The doctors are all cagey about how long this should take. My GP said most people heal from this type of injury in five or six months. I said, ‘Well, that’s not too bad’. At which point he backpedaled and said not to get my hopes up, it might be longer.
For a Project Manager, used to having a schedule with time-lines and clear deliverables and dates, this drives me around the bend. Patience is not my strong suit. 🙂
I just completed re-reading D. H. Lawrence’s ‘The Rainbow.’
I first read it as a young man in my early twenties. Then I was struck by the relationship of Tom Brangwen and the older, more sophisticated Lydia Lenski. I thought I had forgotten the book, the characters and the story until I wrote a novel myself.
Mine is a story of a younger man falling in love with an older woman. I chose the name of my main female character (MFC) as based on the older sister of a friend when I was in High School. A crush. And then I wanted to explore, in my novel, the horrible experience of having been cheated on by a lover. I had gone through that. So I began reading old journal entries from over twenty-five years ago. Unfortunately, there was nothing there to help me with source material. I had simply stopped writing for six months when that happened.
Ah, but what a pleasant surprise I found. My notes and thoughts about the aforementioned Lydia Lenski. She is the only main character who we don’t get inside. She remained enigmatic, aloof, and so incredibly attractive. And, I began to question why and how I had chosen the name Lydia for my MFC. I would need to re-read ‘The Rainbow’. I am so glad I did.
It is considered Lawrence’s best work. I think so.
It follows the sweep of three generations of the Brangwen family at the turn of the twentieth century in the mid-lands of England. It begins with Tom and Lydia, follows their daughter Anna, and then Anna’s daughter Ursula. I won’t spoil the story or plot here. But the plot was not what makes this novel great.
It is the characters, the relationships, the deep introspective points of views that are unlike anything that I have ever read. The intensity of the feelings, thoughts, wants and fears are overwhelming at times. And Lawrence’s ear for the speech and actions of his characters puts a reader right there in the scene.
His descriptions of the farms and meadows, the animals, the smells, sights and sounds are immersing. The sounds of the rail cars and the descriptions of the miners trudging home from a shift at the pits, covered in black coal dust. But this isn’t a Dicken’s tale, railing on the Pit owners and romanticizing the workers. They are just decent hardworking men coming home for tea.
The countryside is a character as much as Tom and Anna are. It is easy to tell that Lawrence loved this country. It is in every word of his wonderful descriptions.
And the sex. It was a banned book when published. Today is to laugh. But sex and loving are always part of the relationships of the men and women. And there is a very close look at those thoughts and feelings. The physical, intellectual and emotional wants and needs. The love. The passions, the hurts, the hopes, the gentleness and the striking out.
It can be an emotional roller-coaster to read. As can any great love affair. But it is well worth the time and effort.