A Different Way to Look at a Wheelchair
“You sound really chipper,” The Boy said. “It’s been a while since I’ve heard you like this.”
He was right. I hadn’t felt that good about life and myself for a long time. And all it took was a long walk.
Well, to be fair it was a bit more complicated than that.
A brief recap of 2017
It feels as if I`ve been sick for the entire year. First there was croup, then recovering from croup. This was followed by a few months of feeling a bit better, then I got walloped by a crash/sinus infection that turned into three months of chronic sinus infection. Recovery took a long time and just as I was getting better, I was flattened by the mother of all summer colds.
To be fair, that was only the past seven months.
When I look back on the time that’s passed since about Christmas, it seems like it’s been a fog of feeling too awful to participate in my life. Sure, there were periods where I extremely temporarily rebounded, only to lose ground again. It felt like I was trapped in the darkness of a neverending maze. I could remember the sunshine, I could even occasionally see it and feel the warmth on my skin. And then an inexorable force sucked me back into the darkness.
It has been no fun at all.
Adding more stress to the mix
Often, it is only when you are finally away from a situation that you realize how stressful and limiting it was. So it has been with my wheelchair situation.
My darling Regan, the wheelchair with whom I have had a bit of a complicated relationship over the past 10 years or so, has become increasingly tired. On the other hand, my new chair — currently nicknamed very unimaginatively The Purple One — wasn’t ready to use. Yes, I realize how ridiculous that is, given that it was delivered to me well over a year ago. It’s a long story.
And then ...
I reached the outer edges of that dark maze about a month ago after having taken June off to heal. Because sometimes listening to your body and giving it what it needs actually seems to work. My energy levels improved and I started feeling better physically, but the wheelchair issue was still there. And then there was that massive cold.
Coming out on the other side of that has been quite wonderful. Being able to take my biologic again for the first time in a month has also has a beneficial effect.
Also in July, The Purple One got sent out to soul: the wheelchair studio for Dave to do his magic. And she came back last Friday…
Wait. That was interesting. I have so far not spent enough time with it to realize gender and/or name. But it appears it’s a girl!
I’ve been using TPO since this past weekend and — Regan, please cover your ears — it’s like I got my life back. It’s new, which means very good suspension, and I have a fantastic seat cushion in it. This means a comfortable ride. And since it is new, it also has a quite amazing range.
Which means I have range. In the last three days, TPO and I have taken a (relatively) long walk every day.
I haven’t done that for years. Maybe not since before my big flare. So well over a decade and a half.
For a long time after that big flare, I was pleased as punch to be alive and made the most of what had become geographically a fairly small life. I once took really long walks several times a week, but now it was smaller walks. They gradually extended in the past few years, but I still needed to heal for days afterwards.
This week, I haven’t needed to heal. Well, I’m still pretty tired because it’s pushing what has becomes fairly limited energy levels. Assuming I’m not going to get flattened by another illness (knock wood), this should help me build up some stamina
The feeling of freedom is overwhelming and joyful and I can’t get enough of it. I can go places. Without hurting for days afterwards. I can go far and fast and free of pain.
Damn straight I’m chipper.
And this is what so many people don’t get. That when you use a wheelchair, you are not “wheelchair-bound” or “confined to a wheelchair.” If your body’s contrary enough that you need one of these seated wonders, you haven’t been able to move very far for a very long time. The wheelchair sets you free to live your life again.