It depends on my perspective on the events of the last twelve months. A year ago I was healthy, employed, and looking forward to vacationing with my wife; two months later I was paralyzed and totally dependent on other people for everything.
The significance of getting better is not lost on me. I always felt that I would regain the use of my arms and legs. But being paralyzed was only a symptom; chronic inflammatory, demyelinating polyneuropathy will be with me for the rest of my life.
At this point in my recovery, I need to wear ankle-foot orthotics, that are designed to improve my gait. They are knee high, plastic supports that go into my shoes. I am a little wobbly on them, but they provide me with an amazing amount of stability. They uncomfortable, hard to put on, and ugly as hell. I struggled not to retch the first time I put them on.
They are a loud siren to the TABs that I have a disability, just like the obnoxious klaxon that sounds whenever I put the motorized shopping cart in reverse. While being there to help me, they also accentuate my disability. Both devices do the same things: embarrass the heck out of my in front of what used to be my peer group.
I know I shouldn't shouldn't be so self-conscious! I can't help it, but I would not have recognized that my vanity was interfering with my progress unless I was writing a blog about myself.
I started writing because a friend in school once told me that if I am having trouble saying something clearly, it might be because it's not clear in my head. Writing about what is happening and how I feel about it clarifies my thoughts.
Writing this post helped me realize that my difficulty with the ankle-foot orthotics was was entirely in my own head. The reality is that I have no control over what other people think and the ankle-foot orthotics enable me to walk much better.
My anniversary is next month and I had been feeling glum about it. It will be an ugly reminder that I will only recover so far: I will always have chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy. But when the sidewalks are clear of ice and snow, the weather is warm and I have my new superhuman abilities, how can I not celebrate?