When I visit the rehab hospital for treatment of my spastic left arm, I often limp past people in wheelchairs who are more severely disabled. I imagine they watch me walking with an abnormal gait carrying a cane in my one functional arm, struggling to control my left arm that seems to have a mind of its own. I think their minds may work like mine does when I see those who don’t seem to have any physical limitations. Disabilities fall on a continuum, and mine is towards the high functioning end.
I sure try to stay focused on the positives of what I am able to do, but I can’t help getting stuck in my head when I’m out and I see people effortlessly carry a cup of coffee in one hand, a cellphone in the other, talk on the phone, drink the coffee, and push a swinging door open and walk into a shop. All of that motion can usually be executed without thinking about it. And I’m filled with envy if I’m being honest. I go back to thinking of those I see in wheelchairs.
I had to begin getting used to watching people do what I can’t when I was 35 and disabled by a stroke. I was pregnant when I had the stroke so I was frequently exposed to other mothers of young babies doing all of the above in addition to carrying their baby or pushing their stroller.
I have made a dramatic recovery. I am able to walk, talk, think, drive, ride horses, and do most tasks of daily living including self care. I cultivate a sense of gratitude for all of that. The adjustment that is needed when I am in my head as I move through the world is all in my mind. Onward.