Sunday, August 21, 2005

 

To my family and friends:

 

I checked out of the hospital this past Friday afternoon.I even managed with great difficulty to achieve the goal of walking out on my own strength, albeit with the essential help of a cane and leg brace.

 

I need these devices to walk because the motor control nerves for my right ankle and toes are not yet functional, so my hips and knees don't know where my right foot is.I have roughly 50-60% functionality on my right side, which means that I am able to wash and dress myself, live independently, and do a reasonable facsimile of walking.But I cannot yet write or eat with my right hand; and the right half of my torso and neck are usually numb.All of these will improve over time, but for now its a totally bizarre experience.

 

My early departure from the hospital was due entirely with the fact that I was fed up with the place, and had the support of two out of three of my various doctors that leaving a few days early was not a silly or dangerous decision.

 

I'll be spending the next few weeks and months with continued rehab for my right arm and leg, initially three days a week with therapists in my neighborhood.

 

I refuse to use a wheelchair ever again (it was mandatory in order to get around in the hospital), and hope to dispense with the cane entirely in a few weeks.I still aspire to resume a normal, active lifestyle in the coming months and will be working overtime on rehab to achieve that goal.

 

Some random closing thoughts:

 

Having spent the last three weeks going from virtual paralysis on my right side, to being wheelchair-bound, to now having a modicum of functionality as a biped, I have immense sympathy for disabled people: even in the highly ADA-compliant environment of a modern hospital itís a difficult and demeaning existence.

 

Who could imagine that there's a silver lining to suffering a seizure and then a plane crash?These events led to the discovery of a benign yet aggressive meningioma tumor; if it had lain dormant or undetected for a few more months, the continued invasion into the brain's blood supply would have resulted in permanent motor and sensory nerve damage.SoI've come to accept the crash as an event that was both timely and fortuitous.

 

I've titled most of my essay communications under the general heading"Surviving a Plane Crash".For the past three weeks in the hospital, on many days it might have been more apt to characterize my existence as simply "Surviving".

 

Thanks to everyone for their immense love and support.You can't imagine how important it is to the healing process to get an email, phone call or visit on a down day, or simply to hear (or even feel) that someone indirectly cared enough to express concern.

 

Ilan