Soon after I came home and started my outpatient life at The Place I was at church one Sunday and Mrs. M told me to have a good week. Regarding Physical Therapy she laughingly said, Make them carry you!!
I was reflecting on this advice later and told some friends, “The thing is, A (6) isn’t really the carrying type.”
None of my PTs have been the carrying type. The more I can use my legs the better, in their book. M (37) told me my new wheelchair had better be only for travel or else. Mmm hmm. Yeah, she looks all nice and sweet and stuff. ❤
The only time I got carried around was when I was seriously bedridden. There’s a team of people they keep at the hospital who move people who can’t move themselves. They called the 6 guys on my behalf one day and when they got to my room and saw me lying there they just stood around my bed and laughed. When I was transitioning out of the bedridden phase I got carried bc I was obviously unable to support my own weight but
still needed to participate in PT. There was also that time I face-planted at RIO. Other than that, though, there has been zero carrying around. I used to get full-body support when learning to walk as an inpatient (“Sometimes the walker is just another piece of equipment to manage,” K (3) told me), but it was just support. E, my first PT (that I remember) told my parents, “It’s not like I’m dragging her down the hall.”
See? This is us. (30 seconds of one of my first walks.)
I wasn’t scared about the carrying because it was so early in my recovery I’ve blocked most of it out and what I do remember I didn’t care about bc I was so loopy. By the time we got home, though, I was beginning to snap out of it and one of the hardest things about not being able to walk was being carried into church.
Our church building is beautiful but hails from 1964 and is not going to win any awards for accessibility. There’s a flight of steps up to the foyer and the auditorium, and my friends would gather around and lift my chair and me up to the main level. I was just beginning to understand what it means to live in a wheelchair and to get annoyed at always getting stuck in the bathroom at home bc I didn’t angle my chair just right, etc. But this was not annoyance – it was all out fear.
I used to take a medical self-inventory every Sunday morning, hoping I was feeling ill enough to stay home. But I was feeling (relatively) great – so I always went. In retrospect, I went to church bc it was the “normal” thing to do and I just assumed I’d be there every week once I made it home. I’m really glad I did that since we didn’t have to make a big deal out of it later.
My iPod helped – I’d listen all the way to church and when we’d pull in I’d be absolutely screaming on the inside because I didn’t want to have to be carried in. I only brought the chair to church for a short time – as soon as I could use a walker I did so – but it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.
Now I am 110% sure that any of my friends would have gotten hurt himself before allowing me to come to harm, but I was not thinking of this at the time. I was just focused on the air space and the bobbing motion as my chair was suspended above the stairs. But as difficult as it was for me, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a picnic for them, any more than it was for me. These are my friends, and they didn’t want me to be in that chair. They weren’t professional wheelchair handlers, but there they were – esp CEF and S(&E) – waiting for me every Sunday to help me get upstairs. Thank you for becoming the “carrying type” for me, everyone! I’ll never forget it.