Saturday, September 17, 2005

Some Big Mile-stones - The Blessing Continues

I am delighted to report that I had my LAST visit with the neurologist on September 14. The good doctor gave me a check-up, asked many questions, reminded me it would take a full year or so for some things to fully heal and for full stamina to return, and RELEASED me to go and enjoy normal activity. The release I expected - hooray, no more doctor visits to that office. But wow - the idea of no restrictions, no caveats - just be an adult and respect and take care of the body as any adult should - that was a bit of a stunner to me, although I don't really know why. I guess a part of me has gotten used to being kind of, as I say, broken, and I guess I expected to continue to always be broken.

Honestly, it has taken several days for the wonder and joy of the doctor's news to fully begin to penetrate my mind and heart. After an initial joyous - and doctor approved - small glass of wine, my dreams were somewhat disturbed by random fears of events in the past and more importantly, continuing fears about the future. Somehow the accident engendered fear and anxiety in me that can still stop me cold in my tracks. It seems as every week is still full of "firsts" - in actuality "returns" to normalcy, like driving, going out of town, being with lots of people, walking - and walking without a limp for the most part, and then the really big one - the first choir rehearsals.

Being with, and leading my choirs for the last two weeks has been both an enormous joy and a terrifying time. All of my choirs have been wonderful - welcoming, supportive and dedicated. It has been enormously gratifying. But the fear is there too - "am I doing as good a job as before?" - "are my eyes and ears working properly and picking up all I need to know?" - "will I forget things or mismanage the rehearsal in some way?" Where does such anxiety come from? Trauma, I guess. Fortunately, my wonderful family and friends have promised to tell me honestly if I'm not doing the job or measuring up, and I have to trust them and believe they will be honest with me.

The good news is that it's a bit like riding a bike - it does come back - and the fear is gradually being replaced by joy and attention to the tasks at hand - helping folks learn and make beautiful music together, and handling the administrative needs that fall to me as an assistant dean. How blessed I am to have such opportunities! I am grateful beyone words and look forward to gradually conquering more fears and challenges little by little.

I know that there's a good chance that my remaining medical problems will continue to improve and - with luck - heal completely. I treasure that hope and regret the times when I waste time ruing the aches and pains - lucky I am to have life - how selfish of me not to expect some lingering problems!

We had a joyous occasion this weekend! We were able to give our old car, a 16 year old Toyota that we no longer need, to a graduate student and his wife - refugees from Tulane and the hurricane! These poor folks had to swim to safety from the roof of their place after almost a week of waiting for rescue! International students from Russia, they lost everything and yet are so happy to have a place at Vanderbilt for the semester. Meeting them, hearing their story and enjoying their amazing zest for life was an absolute treat for Roland and me! We were humbled by their spirits and positive natures and it was a thrill to be able to do a tiny bit of something to help - I have so much to be thankful and grateful for! That SURE helped get my priorities back in order!!

There's a wonderful old saying, "Bloom where you're planted" and it's great advice. Let's all try and bloom and bring some joy to the world!