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Brick By Brick

Brick By Brick

Rebuilding My Foundation
Reflecting • Rearranging • Reinforcing

In my world, the two idioms brick by brick and step by step have significant and similar meanings. Relearning gross and fine motor skills is a process that can be tedious and frustrating. Before my stroke, I never questioned my agility. I was extremely comfortable moving with grace and confidence. Climbing a tall ladder while clutching breakable decorative accessories was never something I thought about, it was something I did almost daily in my showroom and warehouse. I was often in extremely precarious positions - and always with ease. I took this ability for granted.

In a previous post, I mentioned having several detours in my course towards recovery. The last incident took place on December 2, 2019. I had recently returned to Chiang Mai after seven weeks of intensive therapy in Budapest. I felt well emotionally, mentally, and physically. I was on a new path to rehabilitation. I was walking more and venturing further without using a quad cane. My walk was by no means elegant, but I was doing it. Hurrah - I was on my way!

BAM! A car slammed into my right side. I was crossing a familiar street, and, yes, I was using my cane. My mind shifted to my commitment to meet a friend for an art opening. Somehow amid the confusion, I canceled the rendezvous, and we met at the hospital. Until the doctor explained the results of the Xrays, both he and the driver stayed with me.
Yes, I broke my right hand and foot.

After a six-day stay in the hospital, I transferred to a rehabilitation and nursing center in Doi Saket, Thailand, for sixty-seven days. My left side compromised from the stroke, complicated my healing process. And once again, I was in a wheelchair unable to care for myself.

In between my therapy twice a day, the caregiver would roll me around the grounds. I loved exploring the gardens; however, a specific stack of bricks captured my imagination, and I would travel back in time.

I would often use old extra-large stone blocks exported from Central Java to enhance presentations in my Past and Present showrooms. While the ordinary bricks I would see scattered around the grounds lacked the character and spirit of those I collected over the years, they did remind me of days gone by and things I could easily do and hope to one day do again. Regaining my strength and dexterity is an ongoing process. Throughout the years, my therapists would say step by step, Debra, step by step. And I repeat these words often.

I am no longer in a wheelchair and view the setback in my recovery as a blessing. I thought my left side was more developed. The fact is, my right arm and leg were compensating for hidden weaknesses. Now I can refocus my attention and work with my therapists to incorporate the appropriate exercises.

Indeed, I hit a symbolic brick wall and am determined to rebuild my foundation and thrust myself forward to another breakthrough: brick by brick. Yes, another test in my inner strength and creativity.

Perhaps I am once again abruptly derailed. Even so, I intend to conquer the new challenges. As I reflect and rearrange, my dreams may shift as I discover new paths and alternate possibilities. Whenever I struggle, I listen to my inner screams:
fight-fight. (S̄ū̂ s̄ū̂ in Thai)

  • Post author
    Debra Levine

Comments on this post (3)

  • Apr 22, 2020

    Debra, you inspire me. Go girl, go! Lots of love and admiration. xx

    — Julie Hastings

  • Apr 22, 2020

    Thank you Debra for sharing your journey. I love you spirit, style and strength. Prayers for you continued healing.

    — Ann Padgett

  • Apr 20, 2020

    Ms. Debra, Heart pounds for you and wish and pray for the time to heal and regain the strength you seek.

    — David A. Latz

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