Perils of a Quadriplegic Gardener (Part 2)

by Patrick on May 20, 2012

It seems appropriate for another Perils installment considering I’ve been in hospital four times in the last six weeks and I’m writing this post during my sixth day in ICU at the local hospital. My blood pressure has been bottoming out in the 40s at night and they can’t figure out why. I have to get outside to enjoy the weather and make garden plans.I haven’t been blogging since early January when my computer fell off its stand and I lost all files. Then it took two months but two of my brothers were so kind and they chipped in together for a sleek MacBook Pro. And then I had to learn the Mac which leads me to today.

It’s been several many months since I posted Perils of a Quadriplegic Gardener (Part 1). Part 2 has proven to be more difficult to write than I had planned but I’m ready to share Part 2. Where we left off I had just had my 12 hour surgery and was off to rehab. My first question in rehab was “When can I go back to work?” But fate had other plans. Right when I entered into physical therapy my doctor incredulously pulled my depression medication cold turkey because it had side effects with some sort of muscle relaxer she wanted to put me on. If you know any thing about anti-depressants you know it’s not as simple as just starting back on again and expect them to continue working, so I fell into a spiral of depression for six months of difficult rehab.

I became so depressed and suicidal that I tried to end it all by driving into the local highway. All I recall is being in a deep fog and hearing cars crashing all around me. Praise God that nobody was hurt. I always went to Shawnee Mission Hospital’s psych ward  but it was full. So I was sent to a hospital in a bad part of town but it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I finally met a young psychiatrist who cared enough to get to know me and determine I am actually bipolar and put me on the right course of medication and I could return back to life again.

So after I was accepted into the extension master gardener program at Kansas State and I began to write a column in the Kansas City Gardener featuring outstanding plants which you can read most of them under the Patrick’s Picks category at right,  I soon began gardening around the new house and my mood has for the most part been very generally positive ever since.

My next challenge came up when I moved into Trinity Nursing and Rehab and was divorced 18 months later. My ex-wife reconnected with an old boyfriend on Facebook (How cliche?) and moved my two boys to Des Moines. I get to see them monthly. But Trinity is such a very special place with a wonderful staff. I seemed destined to be here with two patio areas next to the entrance with 12 window boxes. I created a daylily garden with donated plants from a regional nursery with a retail price of over $900. I’m planning a peony bed for the Fall. Then there’s the trees. I’m creating my own arboretum with donated trees placed all over the property. I’m only 46 so short of winning the lottery, I’m thinking I have a good 25 years working on this earth and probably all at Trinity, so can you imagine how beautiful the grounds will be then? Making the transition from my old home to a nursing home is one of the proudest achievements.

When I first came to Trinity I worried if I co could survive here but now it’s place where I thrive! So although it’s sometimes tough to live day by day, in general life is good and I look forward to see what blooms for me tomorrow. Jimmy Buffet is a personal fav and he has one line which sums up my life very succinctly:

Jimmy, some of its magic, some of its tragic,but I had a good life all the way.

Jimmy Buffet, He Went to Paris 1973

May you learn from my story and be thankful for every day you can get out of bed and walk to your toilet. Do miss standing up at the john and always making a splash, so to speak.


Patrick's Garden

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