There are many setbacks we have to face when coping with illness. While in hospital we are encouraged to be fully involved with physiotherapy to ensure that we are mobile and able to physically function as well as possible. But there are times when we just cannot get the strength or energy to complete the exercises as we should.
I remember when I had to walk up three ‘pretend’ stairs as part of my physiotherapy. I managed well a couple of times but the next time I had to try, I just could not do it. It would have been easy for me to become depressed by this setback, but I just looked at it as having a bad day and I wound be OK the next day – and I was.
When you get home and are rehabilitating, there are numerous setbacks you will have to face. Now you are in a situation where there are others with needs and because of your previous ability to assist them, you will feel obligated to try to again, especially if you have children. In my case I was the carer for an elderly parent who has dementia and she needed to have her meals prepared and was a very demanding mum.
My husband, who was so very thoughtful and caring, had a chronic back condition which forced him to become bedridden at a time when I was still weak and vulnerable. Coping with the needs of my family certainly was a setback for me in the recovery from my illness.
Even after my recovery was well established I still suffered setbacks. When I wrote my book ‘Thank God I Had a Stroke’, I needed to promote and sell it. Being on the pension, it was a real effort to get together sufficient money to take part in a Mind Body Spirit Festival, but I did manage. The festival went for over four days and I wondered if I would physically be able to cope. My husband was in a wheelchair and was to have surgery the day after the festival concluded to have a full knee replacement.
Somehow, when I was packing everything back in the car on that last day (including the wheelchair, stands, banner etc. I managed to lose the money tin with all our float and money from the sale of my book. Losing that $1000 was a real setback that I had to work hard to overcome.
But regardless of how bad the setback seems at the time, the only way to cope is to remind yourself of what you have been able to achieve while coping with your illness and strive to move forward as quickly and as fluently as possible. The good news is that the setbacks will be forgotten in time; it is the accomplishments that you will remember!
Hints and Tips
When packing up from a hotel, hospital or a festival ALWAYS look around you and make sure you have not forgotten anything. If possible, get someone else to check too. You may be anxious to leave, but the few extra minutes it takes to check the space you have been in can make all the difference to experiencing success or setbacks.