Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Myth of Sisyphus and strokes

When I was a child, my parents divorced, and my dad moved from Twin Falls, Idaho to Boise, Idaho.  I think that I have travelled back and forth at least 500 times….maybe 1,000 times.  A very small town called King Hill was about the midpoint.

King Hill was called “King Hill” I assume because there is a large plateau that resembles a crown. Maybe that was just my analysis. But, I always assumed that town was called King Hill because of the prominent  plateau.
The concept of a therapy plateau was always a consideration. Even when I was in the hospital, the doctors and therapists cautioned me about that. At that point, I wondered about they were talking about. To have a plateau, it seems that you needed to start before you could plateau.

I thought a lot about King Hill because, in my head, I was so concerned that I was going to plateau. That desert plateau represented my journey.  

One of my favorite books is “The Myth of Sisyphus.”  Wikipedia describes the book in this way: “In the essay, Camus introduces his philosophy of the absurd: man's futile search for meaning, unity, and clarity in the face of an unintelligible world devoid of God and eternal truths or values. Does the realization of the absurd require suicide? Camus answers: "No. It requires revolt." He then outlines several approaches to the absurd life. The final chapter compares the absurdity of man's life with the situation of Sisyphus, a figure of Greek mythology who was condemned to repeat forever the same meaningless task of pushing a boulder up a mountain, only to see it roll down again. The essay concludes, "The struggle itself [...] is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy."

It the 20 months since my strokes happened, my journey has be hard…incredibly hard. I have been discouraged. I have thought about giving up.  I have wondered what my life will be like in two years. Three?  Ten? 

But, when I thing about giving up, I just cannot do that. I have so much to live for. My wonderful son and my incredible wife who supports me in the dark moments when I wonder if this is all worth it. My brothers. How do I deserve such brothers. And my friends. Even when I wanted to give up, no one would allow me to wallow in self-pity.

So, in world, I could not give up even if I wanted to. Again, I have so much to live for, and I believe that my strokes happened for a reason. I am destined to help people with my story and give back in some way that I cannot fathom yet.

In the beginning with the strokes happened, my progress was incredible rapid. Through the months, my recovery has astounding even though some of the changes have been subtle , but the recovery is real and ongoing. I am still eager to “be done with it,” but my recovery will be ongoing throughout my life.

Sometimes, people ask me “are you plateaued?”

A very clinical definition  of plateau is: “Termination of motor rehabilitation is often recommended as patients with cerebrovascular accident (CVA) become more chronic and/or when they fail to respond positively to motor rehabilitation (commonly termed a ‘plateau).”

I am not plateaued! I have started a new round of therapy called vision therapy. I have full and very busy life personally and professionally even though I do not really have a job other than therapy and trying to make a difference.

So, like Sisyphus, “The struggle itself [...] is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy."

I am happy and grateful.

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