I made a 5-minute cameo at one of my church’s car washes and got my walker onto the grass so I could sit in the shade the Summer after my injury. Last year I showed up with Charles, My Rice Baby. Daddy said I couldn’t push Charles AND dry cars at the same time. I was like, WATCH ME!!! My friends’ children had to hang my towels up to dry but with a little help I did it :).
…I will never forget crawling to my wheelchair and then sobbing out of frustration. These days I remind myself that I know some folks who would be grateful to be able to crawl, and that God has given me peace about this situation…
A lot has happened since I found out (the hard way, since I refused to take people’s word for it) that I couldn’t walk. I can name the people who taught me how to sit up, to stand, and to walk. Now I have people teaching me to run. (Not that the walking thing has been perfected yet). In case this isn’t obvious: if you have helped me in one of these ways I will be loyal to you until I die. Team Tanimal membership benefits accrue to you and your family, existing or future, for life. I’m still working on defining the benefits package but right now it consists mainly of free entertainment.
Although I no longer live in a wheelchair I’ve developed an arms-only way of life. I’ll be sitting in a chair and I realize I’m putting an abnormally large amount of pressure on my arms. I’m not doing anything with them – just pressing them into my lap. Why? I don’t know.
I bet one of the ways Trainer D knew I had done gymnastics is because of the way I get up from the treatment table. I think of it like a wide balance beam since it minimizes the use of my legs and is more arm-centric. I know from my time with CMD that using my legs takes a while, and I have a need for speed. But Trainer D is trying to convince me that it’s your legs that are going to hold you up – not your arms.
He usually says this when I’m on the treadmill. He’ll hem me in with some tubing and tell me if my knuckles are white that’s a hint that I’m holding on too hard.
When I took Driver’s Ed my instructor, Mr. Z., told me the same thing the first time I drove on 495 ( D.C.’s beltway). He patted my hand (I was gripping the wheel with superhuman strength) and told me, It’s going to be okay.
I’ve been thinking a lot about trust lately. When I didn’t know any better and followed instructions without any fear of falling things were easier, but life in general was harder – I couldn’t even eat or wash my face by myself. But now I think of the terror that accompanied learning to walk and what I’ve learned from it and am desperately trying to apply it to learning to run.
Nobody’s making me – this was my choice. I think I need more time to get used to the idea and it’ll be okay. M37 was the one who first made me walk around sans Leo. By the time I left Planet Rehab I was the one who asked her if it was okay for me to try walking around my house without the cane.
The first time Dr. A6 Frankenstein proposed this course of action when he was teaching me to walk I was horrified. Now I’m happy as a clam to be walking around without holding on to anyone or anything. One day I walked into the kitchen and told Mom – Hey, Mommy, look at me walking. This is a dream come true.
I dreamed at RIO (3rd Hospital) that I walked to the bathroom on my own. I wanted to be able to do that so badly. Check! Goal met.
So I’ve made major mobility gains over the past 3 years. When I first came home I could propel my wheelchair but I was largely not allowed to go to a different part of the house without supervision. These days I move around the house freely. When I’m in the house I’m set – but when I need to go out in public I require accompaniment.
That’s why I am addicted to the AlterG. (Sorry, I know – I’m like a walking Vitamix and AlterG commercial. I promise – I have no connection to either company.) It’s a machine that allows me to be “alone” in public. It’s like being in the parallel bars but you can run in them and never worry about turning around at the end. You don’t have to trust anyone – you just get zipped in, the bubble inflates, and the issue of falling is eliminated.
But I don’t want to be dependent on a machine to run forever. I could never afford one, and Daddy has informed me that there will be no more purchasing of exercise equipment on my part, anyway. So that’s why I have Trainer D and Coach R. Coach R has been talking about doing some “light agility exercises” (that was one of those times when I laughed in his face but then realized he was serious – Coach R does not joke about agility), and Trainer D is…Trainer D. In fact, it was his overwhelming enthusiasm for ORFR that made me nervous enough to diversify my “trust” portfolio and seek out an AlterG and Coach R. I might diversify more but I need to consult with some folks first and go home. Meanwhile, I’m enjoying the rest of the school year with H and J!