I've learned a lot in the three weeks since my accident, which left me temporarily immobile. Particularly, I never thought about what it's like not being able to walk.
Up until November 30th, I've been able to move around easily, thoughtlessly.
Now, "walking" can be an emotionally exhausting, physically demanding fight just to go a short distance.
I'm trying my best to be positive here (and for the most part am feeling good); but I've come to realize this world was built for people that can walk.
Leaving my house - step one in the process of going anywhere - involves me hobbling down about 10 narrow stairs on my crutches. My house was built decades ago and the railing neither goes all the way to the bottom or the top of the stairs. This makes them one of my biggest hurdles to getting out of the house.
Wheelchairs, I've found, also have some difficulties. Primarily, I use the wheelchair when I'd like to go out for longer periods of time or to cover more distance.
Aisles are too narrow, random things that are meant to be decorative in stores and restaurants are in the way, sidewalks are uneven, wet floors cause the wheels of the chair to lose traction, etc...
I'm navigating the world with fresh eyes. And I'm finding that it's so much harder than I ever anticipated.
I doubt many people expect that they will get hurt and lose their mobility. When I was making all my plans for the month of December - parties, my birthday, Christmas-y event, and so on - I didn't have the inkling that anything could (or would) happen to me. I felt pretty damn invincible.
But I'm not, nor will I ever be invincible.
That said, I keep finding little bits of the silver lining as I navigate blindly through this healing process.
In this case, my eyes are now opened to the difficulties that people who use any type of assistive device have to face for their entire lives, not just temporarily like me.
I had a very one-sided view of the world. And to be honest, I was probably moving too fast.
This entire experience has required me to slow down, literally and figuratively.
In three weeks, I've grown to appreciate this body for providing me the strength required for crutching and wheeling myself around. Even more, I appreciate the body that allowed me to run and hike, to dance and play, to see the world.
I'm working my way back to her, one step at a time.