Friday, 25 January 2013

Another Turning Point

I am pretty much wheelchair bound these days. Even the least little walk is a challenge. This morning I stumbled walking from my bedroom to the kitchen in my apartment. I didn't fall, thank goodness. I had toe-drop real bad and stubbed my toe on the carpet. I caught myself with my cane.

What I noticed, when I finally got to the kitchen, is that I was skakier than usual. Over the last few months I have become consistently unsteady on my feet, shaking in my knees, weaker and weaker in my legs, using the counter or my cane or something for balance. This time it was different; I felt weaker, emphasis on felt. Up until now I am sure I was weak, I can prove it. But I resisted "feeling" weak. Not so this morning.

I don't think I can do stairs anymore. Given the weakness I feel in my legs and my inability to lift my feet more than an inch or two, stairs are beginning to look like just too much to do. Up until now my right leg was strong enough to make up for the loss of my left leg. I would use the stair rail and pull myself up a set of stairs. I can probably still do a couple of stairs, but more than that seems like a mountain. And any high step is out of the question.

Last October I could walk out the front door, down the stairs and onto the bus in front of my building. No more. Now I only leave the apartment by truck; I have no walking mobility and there is no wheelchair access out of the front door of my building. Up until now I have kept the wheelchair in my truck, using it only when I left the apartment. This new loss means I will have to use my wheelchair to get from my apartment to my truck, and vice versa.

This is a big deal to me. It means my wheelchair will now be a permanent part of my apartment. It will serve as a constant reminder to what I have lost. It will mock me, laughing at my weakness. I work hard to maintain my freedom and independence. Some will say my wheelchair will help with that; in practical terms they are correct. In emotional terms, it is more challenging.

I am still going to try to use my cane and walker in the apartment. I want to avoid spending my whole day sitting in my wheelchair. I want to feel like I can still stand up, still move about, still be active. This is changing my life but I don't have to give up or give in. I can, and will, work hard to keep going, to keep alive.

Nonetheless, my world is getting smaller. It is another turning point.

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