Chapter 7

Translated: Varpu Sihvonen


What a joy it was to distance myself from the Käpylä rehab center. But the time for separation was getting closer, and, without realizing it, I was more and more anxious by the day. I freaked out the morning of the departure, and I just left without saying good bye to my team. I wrote them a letter and got everyone a little golden angel, to thank them and to bless them. I hugged the nurses and left them something sweet to enjoy.


A man from my home village, I know him well, was waiting for me in the car, which was equipped for transporting disabled people. My old student, now my assistant, accompanied me during my first trip back home, and here I was, facing the unknown … once again.  The longer the distance to Käpylä center grew, the more uncertain I felt. For the past 15 months I had focused on one thing and one thing only, returning home. Now my dream was about to come true, and suddenly I was scared. My assistant noticed the difference in me, it was so obvious. I really didn’t have much to say any more…


The moment the cab pulled into my front yard, I will remember it for ever. Just one look, and I hated the wooden ramp in front of my door. So large it took half of my yard, and it was some sort of a giant bridge to my home. Another assistant met me at the door, and then I saw my parents. They were waiting for me, with tears in their eyes. I crashed and couldn’t stop crying … The most important thing in the world, my children, were not there. Didn’t take me long to notice that also all their stuff was gone. My heart was aching so hard I couldn’t breath. My Mother and Father did all they could to make my first night at home a pleasant one. The phone for emergency calls, the one that had been a topic of lots of conversations, well, it wasn’t there. Interesting. That phone was supposed to be the number one priority when it came to my safety… I was told.


There were a lot of bumps on the road in the beginning, and no wonder. There were no previous cases like mine, and pretty much everything about me and my life was a precedent. The hardest part was to defend myself, from day one. Now, years later, I kind of understand everything from the city’s point of view. But I hope, from the bottom of my heart, that nobody else, living alone, needs to go through the same battles I was fighting even after a year since my return home.


My and my assistants, we put together certain schedules that are still very much in use. A night crew provided by the city started to visit me twice a night, and they moved me in my bed and exercised my arms and legs. Now they visit me once a night. I sleep mostly on my back now, so they really don’t need to move me much. But the exercise, that I want for my arms and legs.


My rehab kicked off with full force. I visited a local physical therapist three times a week, an occupational therapist came to my home once a week and a speech therapist twice a week. All this took most of my time, but now that it’s all done, I’m so grateful for all the opportunities the city provided me, and also proud of myself. I kept all the appointments and didn’t cheat. A big thank you to all my therapists is in order. Without hesitation they started from scratch with me, and they all were so active in what they did.


Once the shock of the return had worn off, I got to meet my children on a regular basis, even though it was really painful for all of us in the beginning. But I have to say the children were so wonderful. No prejudice there. And soon enough came the joyful day when they argued while we were having dinner… Couldn’t feel more like a regular Mom when I shouted, with the help of my board of letters, “Don’t you know how to behave while having dinner?” A silence followed, and it lasted all five minutes. Then it was back to arguing loud. I was home.marja%20ja%20lapset.jpg