She was living each day as if it was her first. She was trying new things, and marking things off her list that she had wanted to do but never took the time to do before she became ill.
There was little that doesn’t spark excitement or intrigue.
The only evidence of her past life in the wheelchair was a titanium baclofen pump, which was visible only if she took off her clothes. Only then did offer some explanation of what it was for, and only then did she have to acknowledge that past reality.
She could talk freely about the past and the wheelchair, but the story was void of emotion. She could talk about the homelessness and nursing home experience, but it had become a story that was about some other 30-something-year-old woman.
There was no emotional connection to it, at all. At least not until the day she toured the homeless program in preparation for her return to volunteer with her newly certified therapy dog, Duke.
She was clueless really that she had separated herself so much from that former life until that day.
It wasn’t really until the pump drama began shortly after that day, that she realized the amount of scarring this time in her life created. The intensity of emotion was often overwhelming. The thought of life without the pump was so scary that she would have done anything to keep a pump in her body.
This desperation proved costly for her, but the time spent experiencing problem after problem at least allowed her to acknowledge the trauma and begin to heal it.
Without the pump entirely, she still grapples with the integration of both lives—life with the pump and without it. Life without the pump is different from how it was before the pump, with the pump, and different still than in the early months of the illness.