I have been feeling something close to bitterness recently. Every day I see people walking past my window. Walking. I see them walk to the post box, 40 metres away, and then they carry on walking. How do they do that? How come their body allows them to walk that ‘far’?!
I can’t walk to that post box. Not right now. We’ve lived here nearly 3 years and I think I’ve managed it three times. It is always the most triumphant feeling; to have been able to walk that far and post a letter myself.
Even before the relapse at the end of August, walking that far was not something I could do regularly. Once a month maybe. Lucky me.
That just feels a bit rubbish sometimes.
This isn’t about being reluctant to use mobility aids. I’ve got a mobility scooter and it’s the best and most treasured purchase I’ve ever made. To be side-by-side with my husband on the rare occasions we’re out together was when I was at my happiest. After initially having to ‘walk’ as if in single file as my wheelchair was pushed in front of my husband/family/friends, the scooter was a game changer.
Cue relapse and I’m not well enough to use it. At all. Not even those 40 metres to the post box. It requires a level of concentration & cognitive function that I do not currently have. To make matters worse, I have only been well enough to be pushed in my wheelchair 4 or 5 times since August. So yeah, I’m feeling some ‘Things and Stuff’.
Today I could walk down the garden path, coffee in hand, to sit in the fresh air. It’s a wobbly, slow, “pick your feet up Anna!” type shuffle but it’s my walk. Some days it’s much like the walk I had for 21 years. Some days, as I mentioned recently, it’s a walk that’s only made possible by my husband walking right behind me, as if he’s some kind of exoskeleton suit, helping my limbs and body move a millimetre at a time just to get me from bed to toilet.
And whichever walk I have each day it’s not quite the walk I’d like, grateful as I am for it. I don’t need reminding that people have it worse; that I’ve had it worse.
I want to walk more than a few metres at a time (around the house or outside) without pain/breathlessness/dizziness/feeling like I might collapse.
That’s all. And I am allowed to feel bitter, angry, grateful, & sad, all within the space of a few seconds. Because life with chronic illness gets you like that.