I stayed in the Jeep as a passenger during a wintry February or March day trip away from Park Lane Estates, with a friend driving it. Then I only needed to have my wheelchair pushed a few snow-shoveled feet to my ride. Now, the thought of leaving my home in winter's wild weather mix is scary, especially with our first, recent blast that included ice.
I stayed in the Jeep as a passenger during a wintry February or March day trip away from Park Lane Estates, with a friend driving it. Then I only needed to have my wheelchair pushed a few snow-shoveled feet to my ride. Now, the thought of leaving my home in winter's wild weather mix is scary, especially with our first, recent blast that included ice.
I understand people would like to hear what positive things and inner strength I've discovered in the aftermath of the major, horrible fall I took off a bridge and subsequent stroke I suffered in September of 2012.

I've written about that in the weekly columns I resumed here a few months ago, about a year into my recovery and rehabilitation.

I've found myself reading inspiring stories of recovery when I can put my hands on them. One I found on Amazon, purchased and put on the free Kindle for PC app on my computer, is "Angels in the Wilderness - The True Story of One Woman's Survival Against All Odds" by Amy Racina.

She fell a good distance down a rocky mountainside in the remote Tehipite valley in the Sierras while hiking alone. While she was experienced with backcountry hiking and backpacking, Racina had the misfortune of stepping on an undercut area that gave way.

She has a great story I could really relate to. Racina took some positives away from her horrible experience and gratefully shared. However, one thing she wrote about really resonated with me. She noted how many such survivors choose not to write about the experience of surviving because people have a tendency to believe the survivors were saved from death for a greater purpose - and should perhaps dedicate their lives to that. People want to see that "purpose" in any writing or interviews. The survivor, however, doesn't feel that, so doesn't want to express it and be a disappointment to the public that's cheered him or her on.

I could totally relate to this sentiment. Some people have told me I'm "inspiring." I have had to pull deep into inner, untapped reserves of strength, it's true, to be happy and progress, but I'm just doing what anyone would who is able and chooses to try to continue a life that fulfills him or her.

I don't mean to be a "Debbie Downer," but there are still a lot more "down" than "up" days in my world. I still limp and gimp around with my half-functioning, often tight and/or jerking left leg and lack of good, in-the-past-taken-for-granted body balance.

My left hand is shaking as I type this with solely my right hand. Between the two of them - remember my lower right thumb was broken and was cast and left "sublaxed" so as to avoid further surgery - I am unable to grip and open simple, but tough plasticV-8 or Sobe beverage bottles.

My left peripheral vision is gone in both eyes, so I need to make sure to turn my head to scan my full field of vision. Today my left eye, subject to an "orbital blow-out" of fractured bones, is noticeably not open as much as the right eye. So it goes.

And there's more. I really wanted to go to the recent state title game for the Fillmore Central Falcons. I whined a bit on Facebook - sharing how I played volleyball and "wallyball" in leagues up to four nights a week when I lived in Decorah - and how I LOVED the sport. I was so happy we had an excellent local team in this sport so important to me! And it was killing me to not be there watching in person this season. It especially cut to the quick with the upcoming championship game. To live in the school district and to have reported on the girls and their fellow students as part of Republican-Leader newspaper school coverage since they were little - well, gosh, made it so I wanted to go!

My friend, Karen Schmidt of Preston, so kindly offered to take me and help me navigate the Xcel Center. But here's another thing about my current world. Being nervous, upset or overly excited makes my stroke-affected muscles on the left side really tighten up and twitch. Between my excitement at the FC semi-final win and nervousness about the unknown and the long day at the title game, my muscles were reacting unfavorably, including tightness and pressure by my left eye, cheek and jaw. My new reality was although I really wanted to go and initially thought I could, it would be best for my recovery if I didn't.

The same thing had happened earlier when I really wanted to see a singer at a bar and told friends, yes, I'd go with them. Then the reality of the small walking space that was sure to be crowded struck me. I could be bumped, unable to stay balanced, and crash to the floor and/or into something.

In both cases I canceled, which I think was wise. Now, I just need to learn to say no before I commit, no matter how much I'd really like to do something. Full recovery takes time. Challenges can be good, but the reality is that some don't make sense to me when weighed against known bad effects or a good chance of possible horrible effects. Yes, in the latter case winter has made an initial blast with ice and unseasonably cold temps. I really haven't been outside yet. It just seems like another accident waiting to happen. Wish me well in overcoming that fear.

Meanwhile, the process of recovery and rehabilitation continues at its own pace. I enjoy much of life. I thank everyone for their continuing positive thoughts and support given so openly.

And finally, I'd like to offer congratulations to the awe-inspiring Fillmore Central Falcons volleyball team on an excellent season by a group of hard working, wonderful young women!