Realistically, my memories start a year ago or so. My first memories (“Damn, I want that water. Why can’t I move my legs? Or speak?”) were in the distant past, and I just spent that month or so in bed or rolling around in the hospital wheelchair.
Soon after I regained some level of consciousness in Toronto, I left my new place of residence for Freeport in Kitchener, Ontario. I do not have many positive things to say in response to my arrangements. Arm movement was limited and painful, speaking was just a series of blinks, and it was apparent that walking was going to be a long time in the making. Luckily, my parents were by my side through a lot of what just transpired and helped me through some of the toughest parts that I have had to deal with.
Hamilton was quite the refreshing experience. I moved my arms independently for the first time March, 2014. Before that, I really relied on everyone else around me for feeding, washing, and the like. Hamilton was not the first place that I got physio, but it was the first place where they expected me to be able to do things by myself. My regiment involved bicep curls, dexterity exercises, cardio expressions and other bits of physical expression. My arms came back early in my admittance, and the muscle started coming back as I progressed.
My roommate initially was this energetic Brit named Paul. He kind of took me under his wing very quickly and his friendship will hopefully be long lasting. His guidance and brotherhood was instrumental in my improvements. He hurt himself doing labour around the house and required surgery to repair the nerve fibres in his spinal chord. This left him in a wheelchair. His wife, Mary, would come everyday before she started work and would bring Paul and I a coffee. I will not lie: It did more than anyone could imagine.
The coffee in Hamilton was delivered in frozen blocks that were then thawed for the patience. It was, and realize that I am not exaggerating this, the WORST anything I have ever ingested in my entire life, and I have survived coffee from Iceland. Seriously: What were they thinking?
Anyway, I promise I will not meander around the horrible coffee any longer. HOWEVER, if it comes up naturally, I WILL EXPRESS HOW HORRIBLE THAT WAS! You have been warned.
So like I was saying, Paul and his wife, Mary, were friends when I needed someone. Around this time was the first updates to be posted so social media. It was interesting, I had a few hundred RIP’s that I had to sort through. I found this a weird combination of humbling, and hilarious. I got to see the results of a kind of internet funeral, and the subject was me. So, I posted what I considered both morbid and hilarious:
“Alive and kicking in Hamilton.”
There was quite the ruckus made for such a simple statement, and this added to my morbid pleasure.
I would like to take this moment to thank every single person who saw me up to this point. Even if you just saw me once, and I did not respond. Your presence was appreciated greatly by not just me, but my family.
In response to those who had either assumed or heard that I had passed: That is hilarious. I do not blame anyone, and I am far from angered. I am actually honoured that anyone cared and greatly overwhelmed by the community outpour that occurred. I am not going to lie, I actually find it tremendously funny. I get it, there was no way to get the information that I was still living. As much as everyone I connected now through different websites and whatnot, the new norm seems to rely on updates from the person in question. Since I was not around to say anything, speculation ran wild.
I digress: Back to Hamilton General.
I had about five different physiotherapists that I worked with on a daily bases and four occupational therapists. I had two nurses a day that would assist in my care, and about four doctors that would cycle through the floor over the four months I was there.