The Unexpected Present

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Next Lunar Phase

silhouette of mountain under the moon covered with clouds

When Yuri asked for a computer, I went out and got him a laptop from a Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace listing, whatever it was, but very different from the days of walking into a brick and mortar, test-driving at the Genius Bar, and taking home a large boxed item. This was an area in the back of an over-stuffed convenience store in Westwood that doubles as the town’s stop-in and catch-up on the news place for community gatherers.

I admit it looked a bit sketchy at first, but since our first purchase, a MacBook Pro for me, it’s become a warm and welcoming spot for getting a state-of-the-art techno-necessity at a good price. While there, I checked out cell phones as well as beautifully hand-blown, glass water pipes in glass cases amid the shelves of household goods, international spices, unique and ordinarily hard-to-find items if you don’t want to spend time perusing online. It’s reconnecting in person.

We’re in Phase Three of Yuri’s Voyage Back From the Netherworld, a new Lunar Phase. The Half Moon peeked out through the spindly pine tree branches last evening. I find that I fall asleep better on the open porch like a Rock-a-Bye Baby-On-The-Treetop listening to the treefrogs nightly croaking their love songs in six-part harmony until the chill sends me back under the bedcovers. Beautiful cool nights. Restful nights.

After a tranquil birthday afternoon in the courtyard off of the Brain Trauma gym, we talked of what we had both gone through. Yuri is both curious and astounded as well as happy he has amnesia about it all. I’m ready to put the rollercoaster trauma behind me for a more consistent timetable and allow the medical and therapeutic team to lead the way. And so we’re in the Team Physical and Occupational Therapy Phase with training sessions. Intensive.

There’s a reason it is referred to as therapy boot camp. The gym itself is a large well-lit area, with sections where patients are taught how to maneuver themselves past obstacles, utilize methods of self-reliance as they get stronger. Every patient has an enthusiastic therapist who assesses their progress, then takes them from a beginning effort into a major success.

Every day whatever seems impossible becomes doable and each day more is added for a patient to become self-sufficient on their way to home discharge. A therapy dog meanders alongside patients relearning physical mechanics we take for granted. Today, Yuri will be learning how to get himself in and out of a faux car set up in the gym. Good thing we have the Toyota Highlander. He would have a bitch of a time getting in and out of the Honda Del Sol two-seater. Very low rider.

Therefore, I’m working on making a Shopping Wish List for Amazon Day, June 21. There are a lot of things we’ll need to make our home a safe and happy living situation for Yuri as he marches on (not yet) from Kessler Rehab Institute to home care. He’s been measured for a custom wheelchair that will fit through doorways and things like getting a ramp going from parking to front door would never have entered our minds before. Just as the doctors in ICU would say, “It’s only temporary.” That’s how I will approach this temporary challenge.

It’s a blessed transition from feeling helpless and isolated in a hospital bed in a seemingly abandoned unit to being a bit cranky about not able to type a lot in response to the wonderful birthday wishes in emails and texts. He vows to get to them when he can use his hands better on the keyboard that seems to move faster than he would like. I’m sure there will be a wry philosophical note to each and every one.

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