I'm the creepy guy that eats alone in restaurants. It's not that I want to, but my schedule is so different from all my friends' that it's just easier sometimes to dine by myself.
This past Tuesday, after my latest run if physio to get my knee working again, I found myself in the cafeteria at Wascana Rehab here in Regina. It's a lovely facility, and the crew seem to enjoy what they do. As an outpatient, I get to sail in, do my stuff and leave. That day, I decided to stay for lunch.
After watching a very loud angry woman be a total... Word I can't say here... to one of the cafeteria employees, I bought something to eat and hobbled to the nearest seat.
I've been dealing with depression my whole life, which while I'm generally a happy dude, can be crippling when things go south. I highly advocate seeking help, and I'm not ashamed to tell you that over the years I've done just that... much more than once.
After my surgery, depression reared its ugly head. I had friends to stay with at first, but when I got back home I was left to fester with my own thoughts. Did the surgery work? Will I walk again? Did I make the right choice in getting this done? Why aren't people calling? Why does my cat seem so distant? Are they finding my replacement at work? Will I have to go on disability? How will I pay my bills?
It spiralled down from there. By day 5 I was convinced I would never be the same. To be honest, almost a month later, I still feel that way a bit, but I've put my faith in the physio crew here.
For those that don't know, I'm currently rehabbing what was supposed to be a simple scope to clear out my knee. That escalated mid-surgery to a "Lateral release", where tissue is cut away from the kneecap. Things were going well until one day when I managed to fall hard - landing and completely bending the newly operated-on knee to its fullest point - something that shouldn't have been possible at that stage.
Yeah. It hurt. It hasn't stopped hurting.
This brings me back to lunch.
Just before going to get my lunch and seeing the spectacle that was this angry-ass woman, I was told that from my fall, I may have torn a quad muscle. Being a huge WWE fan, there was a time in wrestling where it seemed everybody's quads were tearing, so I know what the rehab process is and how hard it can be to bounce back from.
The downward spiral was within distance again. Another surgery? 8 months rehab? No running? No anything?!
Then I saw this woman go berserk on the cafeteria staff. I used to have a pretty volatile temper myself, so seeing how ridiculous this woman looked instantly brought some shame to myself. These days, instead of anger, I've trained myself to simply shut down and re-evaluate later. I still cut a mean promo (trash talk) when aggravated, but I usually do it in the basement when I get home. It occurred to me that maybe this woman, who was just so venomous to a complete stranger, hadn't figured out how to deal with her anger. I've been there. It's not right, but I understand.
I have no idea why she was at the Rehab facility, but considering this is a long-term stay for some folks, I started thinking that maybe she has a loved one here who is struggling. Maybe she's dealing with that and got some bad news before heading up here for some Liver and Onions. Maybe I'm giving her too much credit and she's just a bitch. I don't know... and while I'm not condoning it, I kept trying to understand her outburst.
I'm sitting there... eating my lunch, and being a creep. I start listening to conversations (what else am I going to do?!). Not far across from me is a man I'd put in his 50s or so, and he's telling a fascinating story about how he has lost almost 12 years of his memory after an injury. The therapists here are working with him and he's worried about what he's going to remember - with the good comes the bad, right?
I'm 36. Losing 12 years of memories would be losing a third of my life. THAT would be devastating. This guy was dealing with it, and while I could sense some despair, I never got the impression that he was going to give up.
I've got some work ahead of me, and while my brain fires differently than others, I'm going to do my best to remember the two examples of coping I saw today.
I'm still afraid of what's happening with my leg. I've "upgraded" to using a cane instead of crutches, but that doesn't make me feel any better about the situation. I'm not where I want to be, but I'm not at my worst.
There is support. I have friends far and wide who are pulling for me. I'll figure this out. If I don't... then I'll deal with it. Again... what other choice do I have?