I don't know why it should be news - a knitter on a mainstream sort of radio show - but I was so excited when my cousin sent me an e-mail with a link to an interview Kate Davies did on BBC Radio 4's women's hour.
Kate's interview starts at about the 12 minute mark, and it's great - she talks about the practical impact of the stroke she experienced at age 36 and how relearning knitting helped her rebuild a working life. My cousin said she was quite busy doing something else at the time but had to stop and listen because it was so interesting, and since she is a decidedly non-knitting person I took this as a compelling recommendation.
Strokes and other brain injuries are no joke - several people in my family have had to deal with this kind of medical situation over the last eight years and I have spent a lot of time providing support and sourcing rehab opportunities. So I found it helpful and validating when Kate said you never really recover from an injury like this because your brain is always just trying to compensate for the parts that are gone. However, you can get incrementally better every day.
You can also find yourself gaining skills you might not have cultivated otherwise. In Kate's case, though she notes that she's constantly battling fatigue, she's been able to make a business out of what most of us are lucky to have time to indulge as a hobby. But it's also true that therapy to help manage the emotional aspects of brain injury gives you insights and resources that your peers might take years to figure out.
Pete has a friend who rowed across the Atlantic, solo, in a very small boat. I asked whether he found he'd learned anything new about himself doing it and Pete said, "That he can." I think that much the same can be said of people who work to move forward from an assault to the function of their brains - you can. Faced with adversity, humans can stand up to an awful lot.
I took these pictures on the Canada Day weekend down at the harbour. The weather was amazing and there were SO many people around enjoying the views and the boat tours and the food trucks. I don't love being in crowds so I found myself looking up to quieter spaces, which is how I noticed the amazing sky behind the ships' dark rigging. But at another point I noticed a woman speeding past us in the other direction, lying on her chest on a gurney she was propelling herself, and not for fun either. I was so impressed because as one does, I immediately imagined how I would cope in that situation and my answer was: staying home by myself. Not her!
I guess the bottom line for me is that there's a lot to be gained just by reaching for what we want, what we've lost, and what we hope to recover. You may not achieve the dream, but you're sure to achieve something. And something is not only definitely better than nothing - it may bring you something quite unexpected.
Also, how cool is it that BBC Radio 4 does a Women's program that you can listen to from anywhere in the world? I enjoyed it so much I listened on to the end and I think I will tune in again. What about you?
ps have you seen Kate's new Book of Haps??? How badly do you want this? (me: very badly)