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Small Triumphs

...Then, I got a final sign that walking frames are not meant for me—I fell at home and almost broke a bone on the kitchen threshold as I was going to the loo, under supervision and using a walking frame. You see, a walking frame could help when I flopped forwards. However, when I flopped backwards, as I did that day, a walking frame was about as useful as thin air. I screamed as I felt myself losing balance. After that, I felt myself falling backwards, seemingly in slow motion. I landed unceremoniously on my butt and the walking frame, which I was still gripping, toppled onto me painfully, the metal frame hitting my joints with unerring accuracy. Part of my hip hit the raised threshold and bursts of intense pain radiated out from that region. Immediately, I burst into tears, but as I rubbed my aching posterior, I had to admit that the real bruised “party” was my ego.

After almost a year of diligent core muscle exercises, I finally stopped flopping around so much. I was still terribly slow and unsteady however, so yet another therapist suggested that I use a quadstick. Unfortunately, like the walking frame, this seemed to foster bad posture habits as well. So, I refused to let myself get dependent on it.

Throughout everything, I insisted on walking. At first, it was with someone supporting me with an arm braced behind my waist (to brace me when I flopped backwards) and a guiding hand in front of me. Slowly, when I stopped flopping backwards, I graduated to not needing that supporting arm behind me anymore.

As I got better, I progressed to not needing anyone next to me at all if I had a wall next to me. Now, I can walk a few steps barefoot. Of course, I still walk very slowly and somewhat unsteadily, swaying in all directions as I find my balance.

Nonetheless, it is a triumph. A triumph I would never have witnessed if I had allowed myself to stay in the wheelchair from the very beginning. A triumph that wouldn’t have been possible if I had just meekly accepted my sentence in 2006, two days before Christmas, when I had been discharged…

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