Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Leaning Tower of Gellie

My 2 year old ran to me this morning saying “un tared! un tared!” I’ve become rather fluent in toddlerese, but this was a new one. “Upstairs?” While I took a moment to crack the code he gripped my pant legs with both hands and yelled again, “un tared! Un tared!” Then I realized the gardeners were outside. As the noise got louder it hit me, “you’re scared?” He looked up at me with big eyes that said yes woman! That’s what I’m telling you! and scurried up my body like a little monkey so I would hold him.

It was precious. My baby boy told me he was scared. When you’re a mom these moments make you melt. When you’re a disabled mom all you can think is oh crap, I hope I don’t drop him…or fall…

I told him we should go to the window to see, which of course freaked him out. The thing is I can’t hold him and walk. That’s pushing it beyond the safety threshold. Kids have ninja moves for when they do and don’t want to be held. When they refuse to be put down, they wrap their little monkey legs around you so tight that when you bend over to put them down, you not only fail to peel them off your body but your entire upper center of gravity becomes compromised. You feel yourself slowly keeling over like the leaning tower of Pisa. Think quickly! Stand back up! And it’s toddler for the win!

I hobbled the two small steps to the couch so I could throw us both to safety. There is nothing funnier to a 2 year old than we all fall down! The fall broke his grip from my body so I ran – ok that’s a lie – more like hobbled quickly to open the curtains so he could see there was nothing to be afraid of. Ever see a disabled woman hobble quickly? The poor gardener looked up to see my Quasimodo disheveled ass stumble against the sliding glass door, as I threw my hands up to yell “Ta da! See!”

My son ran over to watch the man mowing our grass and I took a moment to gasp for air. I was exhausted. My knee is still throbbing. But I’m feeling pretty good right now. I’ve been down the past few days, questioning my progress, feeling scared that I’ll never quite be my old self again. Despite my fear and doubts, my kid still thinks I’m awesome. And that’s, well, pretty damn awesome.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A.F.O. Artifical F@!king Something-er-other

How messed up are ya, exactly? Hell if I know. If you know me in real life, I know this is at the heart of what you want to ask me. It's ok. Lately I'm just not sure how to answer the question. It's been a little over two months now. Compared to two months ago, I'm doing quite well. I'm on my feet more, although the actual walking isn't much better than before. The difference is I can stay on my feet for longer periods of time. I'm still using a walker and an AFO. An AFO is a big ugly plastic leg brace that helps hold up my fat, useless foot (who I previously named Bertha) since my ankle is paralyzed. I have no idea what it stands for but I'm sure it's something generic and lame that didn't really warrant an abbreviation. This is what it looks like:

Yes, that's Bertha. Fat ass. Anyways, before the strokies and purists point out the obvious, yes I wear it with socks. I just slapped it on for the sake of the picture. Bertha's a ham, but I digress...

As my stamina and strength have improved I've found myself in this weird, in-between, disabled purgatory. I'm disabled, but I'm not immobile. I figured out how to safely do things I was too scared to try before. I can lift my son into his highchair now, but only if I do it a certain way and only if he doesn't fight me. I think he's realized that I need him to cooperate because so far I've managed to not fall or drop him. Yay me. On a positive note, I can go almost a whole day feeling normal. My family has grown accustomed to our new normal, so I almost start to forget I'm disabled. Funny thing when you forget - the universe is quick to remind you! I'm walking more but my leg is also giving out more, without warning. I actually tried to pick up a laundry basket full of clothes and take a few steps with it. I didn't make it a single step, and my compromised center of gravity almost made me eat shit. I came close to going head first into an end table. Luckily I hit the wall instead. You learn to aim in these situations.

I can do most things for myself but I can't drive anywhere. This has been the real pisser lately. (Don't tell me if I incorrectly used the word "pisser" you'll only make it worse - me being pissy, that is.) I love my family very much. But once in a while it would be nice to ditch them. I am never alone. Ever. When there is a toddler in the house, you don't even get to pee alone. The other day I was in the shower, on my shower bench, and was startled by the cold steel of a hot wheel driving across my rear end. Endearing, I know.

I miss the stupid things that make us normal. I can't take my kid to the park or shop for groceries or get the damn laundry from the bedroom to the garage. All the things we consider chores have become milestones I strive to meet. I admit I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I took a bite of food the other day with my right hand. Just one bite. But I did it. Sorry for the pity party today. I've been very positive about my recovery and that is how I am most of the time. But some days really bite me in the ass and remind me that as far as I've come, I still have a long way to go.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”
~Charles Darwin