Recuperation, Rehab and Return to Life with Gratitude
I was out of work four and a half months and returned before any of my prescribed therapy sessions were completed. I worked three days a week and did my therapy twice a week for a little while. I never finished all my sessions for fear I would be let go from my job. They were giving me a hard time about it and things happened that made my anxiety worse than it already was. I had a lot of medical bills because even though I have excellent health insurance, the co-pays for the therapy sessions and prescriptions along with daily living expenses were eating up my credit cards. Why? Because mistakes were made and I wasn't getting payments for disability as I should have been. It took me another two months to get everything straightened out and get retroactively paid. Yes, I paid those bills with that money, but I had been living on my credit cards and the interest earned was not covered by those delayed payments.
I still work at the same place in Times Square. I suffer a great deal of anxiety and insomnia when I think of having to navigate the crowds in that part of town. This was exacerbated by regular news reports while I was on disability of people being stuck with needles, getting pushed onto the tracks, getting punched and attacked in NYC's subway system. It's not really getting better but one's got to eat, right? I stay close to home when I don't have to go to work and I often do not leave my apartment on weekends.
I am back to regular Pilates sessions and have seen better progress with this than I did with my physical therapy toward the end of those sessions. The difference for me is that I have one-on-one Pilates sessions vs being one of three or four people during physical therapy. I feel I am back to 90% of my old self. I may never be 100% again, but I'll keep trying to reach that goal.
In the end, I learned some extremely valuable lessons from this experience. Most importantly, I learned that sometimes things aren't what they seem not matter how real they appear and sometimes, people are like the Wizard of Oz. They only show you what they want you to see in order for you to see them in the best light.
But that's ok. Everyone has their own journey in life.
I have a five year plan and to that end, I have begun writing every day again. I don't expect to publish anything anytime soon though. I have several pieces in various stages of unreadiness that I will work on diligently. I will share pieces of them with you now and then.
I also plan on focusing on reconnecting with you all and sharing more of my life experiences - jagged as they are.
My daughter Mari, my son-in-law James, my Prince Dayne and my nephew Peter: You dropped everything to come to the hospital to be with me. I will never forget that.
To my sister Maritza and her husband Colley: You too rushed to the hospital. I reluctantly accepted your invitation to stay with you for a while right before I began physical therapy. Once I decided to go back to my place, you came to my apartment to help me bathe. I originally didn't want to go to your place and impose on you guys especially after you having just just been with Mami until her last breath. But I did because you insisted. I am deeply grateful. Thank you.
To my younger brother, Rev. Pedro: Thank you for just being there to listen and respecting I didn't want to be preached to. You have grown so much in your journey. It is a reminder to myself there is always a light at the end of the tunnel no matter what I may think.
To my neighbors Linda and Karina who fed me, helped me with household chores, kept me company hours on end and whose shoulders I cried on - sometimes family doesn't have to be blood. I am grateful for your love and friendship.
To Debbie and Paul who drove me back and forth to my therapy sessions. I treasure your caring love and friendship.
To Jamie DeBree whose hilarious posts "written" by her dogs kept me entertained on my bus rides home from physical therapy when I was well enough to go on my own. I think you have a clue as to how much that helped me. Those posts kept me smiling and I very much appreciated them.
To Marjorie Brown, Evelyn Correa, Hilda Aviles, Myrna Solganick and Andi Reis who regularly called, emailed, texted, visited with words of love and encouragement and sent care packages and cookies :) - thank you for reminding me life was worth living.
To Liza, my Pilates instructor - you were with me when I got word Mami died and you have been a great support to me. You are more than my instructor. You are a friend. Mil y una gracias!
To Sharif who regularly rides the bus with me to work: your insight, words of wisdom, realness and truth play back whenever I feel myself slipping. Sometimes I just wanna smack you on the back of your head you're so damned real, but I don't because you're my black Dominick :)
And to Tricia who stopped in twice a week at my daughter's place to help me with my meds and offered her assistance, I thank you.