Gatekeeper of my mind (page 145 of Up From Paralysis – a true story)

by | Dec 16, 2019 | Featured Article | 0 comments

Blue text is reflection and black text is the chronology of the story

The “hit” I am now getting about this is, I am the gatekeeper regarding what I let into my mind. I notice what I am looking for. Going to meet your friend at the mall, you see them and don’t see the hundreds of other people there. You see right past or through or somehow just drop the images that don’t match whom you seek. It is really easy and everyone does it. So why not apply this focus thing, whatever you want to call it, to getting to sleep in a noisy environment? Why not apply it to writing 2500 words today? Why not use this massive focusing power to find Waldo in that complex picture? Why not apply it to getting whatever it is that you want? Is this magic? Could be. Is it only for others but you and me, us schleps, not for us?
We all have it and we can all use it and there is not a finite amount distributed to us. It is infinitely available to all of us, all of the time.

There is more to this. If I want to find you at the mall, it really helps if I know what you look like. Obvious. This stuff is old news and it is simply not true that it is some kind of lost secret. We all have constant access to all there is. You and me, us ordinary folks have the amazing ability to find Waldo, to find our friend at the mall and to laser-focus our attention to the exclusion of everything else around us. We are “able” beyond our wildest dreams. In the case of Guidance what I need to recognize is a feeling, the feeling that I notice is present when I am getting a hit. When I remember that feeling I have a way to recognize Guidance, just like recalling an image of you when I am looking for you at the mall. Easy.

The only problem is, we don’t see it that way. I didn’t think anything at all about tuning out the outcries of the person in the next bed. I decided to focus on sleep and sleep is what I got. When the “sitter” expressed surprise, that was the moment I started to become aware that I was doing it. I suppose I had an aha, a hit, or shall we reframe that into, “I uncovered a long-forgotten secret about humankind, an ability installed by Our Creator, so powerful that only a very select few of the people on the earth will even acknowledge that such power exists.” Wow, that sounds good enough to get me on TV, don’t you think so? Notice, though, that I only started to become aware. In this case of revelation or discovery, or whatever we are going to call it, what I got was a taste, a peek, a hint, but strong enough to get my attention to go investigate. It was in the investigation that more became evident. To keep with the getting on TV idea, more was revealed. Is this not fun? This discovery, the fact that we all get to discover, is not new. It has been with us since the dawn of awakening. Something in our evolution has brought more and more of us to the edges where it is OK to seek and it is OK to find. We live in the best of all time… so far.

Day 11, Leslie, our youngest, came in from Toronto and brought me a Starbucks latte. No doubt seeing Leslie was a phenomenal boost but, let us be honest, that first taste of latte was over the moon. She helped Barb a lot with the new and first cell phone she had received for Christmas. I was happy when they visited and vicariously happy when they went back home together. Barb wouldn’t have to be alone and all of our girls are both our children and our friends, so a really high level support, all of them. My progress was steady and almost fun. Having experienced GBS before and now that I was beyond any doubt on the “up” path, I was probably the happiest patient in the whole place.

I had “an attitude” about my state. It was just a matter of time (patience) and I’d be back to full function. I knew it with certainty. With the “message” to calm down and be patient so clearly and strongly delivered to me, I started to enjoy the journey a bit more. Function was returning daily and it was not at all long before a “sitter” was no longer assigned to me. On Day 12 I had a “sitter” until 11 p.m. and was then left on my own, which was fine. The doctor was quite careful and attentive about this second-round GBS patient of his. I appreciate the professionalism, the caution, the attention to detail.

Function seemed to be slowly washing down my body. Neck and head first, then shoulder motion. I could fake hand function by moving my shoulders. That was fun, though I did admit the game once I had done my big demo for whomever was visiting. Recovery was sort of predictable. Still a fabulous adventure to “watch” the body come back to life again. Not exactly back to life, but back to responding to my thoughts. The mind does tell the body what to do, if it is listening and if it has the ability to listen. Without myelin coating on the signal lines the muscles are deaf to what the mind wants them to do.

Someone had looked up the GBS1 story on my website, made a copy and put it into my file that is kept just outside the door to the room. Caregivers around the ward were starting to discover it. At first I didn’t understand what was going on, but once I figured it out, I would watch a new nurse or physio person come in to see if she had “that look” of a person who had just read the mini-series summary of my thirteen-year-old adventure. A great icebreaker. I took care to learn everyone’s name, something I am likely to do, which made relationship-building easier. I’m a relationship kind of guy. Having a conversation with someone who had read the story brought the whole thing to another level. They suddenly knew things about this not at all common disease and they knew things about me. They also had great questions. It was a good thing.

Each day was different from the past as I regained this and that function. I became able to roll onto my side alone and to push/pull myself higher in the bed. Those two movements made sleep familiar again. I could move when I wanted to and could adopt the position that felt most comfortable. I began to do more with respect to eating my meals. It took both hands to push the side of the spoon through the meatloaf in order to cut it, but it got done. As I would say, “not pretty, but done anyway.” By Day 17 I had enough wiggle and strength and tenacity to somehow shave myself. I still needed a basin of hot water placed within reach and a facecloth, but I did it, and it felt good.

I recall the jubilation when I passed this milestone in GBS1. This time was not like that. Jubilation? Sure, but more of a recognition of where I was and how the return of basic independence was such a gift. It is like when returning to a most favored place and seeing a familiar sight showing you that you are oh so close to being at your favored destination again. In fact, the first time through GBS I really didn’t know how much further, etc., just knew I was over-the-top happy and that I was on the way. This time I also knew how far along the way. A different kind of jubilation this time.


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