Yesterday my finicky back decided it had had enough of just taunting me at odd times throughout the day with it’s stabbing pains and aches and completely throw the towel in and have a full-blown tantrum.
It wasn’t too bad when I was seated but the minute I tried to move, it would begin to snap and snarl causing immeasurable pain in the process.
After taking 10 minutes to prepare my breakfast, I decided that eating standing up would be far more manageable than having to ease in and out of a sitting position at the dining room table. Given that I had to be at work in half an hour, and I was moving in slow motion to complete any task, remaining standing was the easier option. Breakfast over, I slow-walked to the bedroom to dress for the day. I decided on ‘comfortable’ with jeans and a loose top fitting the bill. Putting on my jeans was a little tricky but with some maneouvering onto the bed to get my legs in a position to pull them up, it worked. Leaning over the bathroom sink to clean my teeth also required some forethought and modifications to my usual routine.
In actual fact as the day wore on, I realised just how many modifications I had to make to my usual routine and way of doing things. I realised just how much I take for granted in my daily life.
Each task required modifications in order to ease the (now spasm- ing pain) in my back.
I discovered that I needed to rely on others to complete things or devise innovative ways of completing the most simple of tasks.
I also had to allow extra time for doing this.
And when I cried out in pain from reaching into a cupboard to get a bowl for my lunch whilst I was at work, nobody batted an eyelid. My noise just blended in with the cacophony of sound that is a usual Friday within a disability organisation.
Staff believed the cry came from one the clients and didn’t pay it another thought.
It was then that I realised some of the challenges faced by people with disabilities each day of their lives. Many of these men and women rely on others for all aspects of their daily care. Others require modifications to every day items and tasks so that they are able to function with a measure of independence.
I refused to give up my independence yesterday (although it was nice when my co-worker would get things from the printer room to save me the agony of the walk) however I was still confined to my chair for most of the day.
And although I had difficulties throughout the day, I knew that it would not be forever.
As I used an umbrella to turn off a power switch and utilised a paintbrush to lift the scissors out of my pen box, I did so in the knowledge that tomorrow or even next week, I would be able to bend down to turn off the switch or reach over to pick up the scissors once more.
However, for many there is no ‘getting better’. Many people need to adapt to a life that is a new kind of normal.The kind of life where reliance upon others is important for many aspects of their daily routine.
One of my co-workers joked yesterday “I’ll get you a wheelchair but I draw the line at doing your PC”. (PC stands for personal care).
Last night I thought about his comment and wondered just how hard it must be for many people to be reliant upon others to toilet them and shower them due to the fact that their body doesn’t function in the way that it is meant to. And whilst their body has failed them in some way, their mind is still vibrant and active and telling them that this isn’t the way it should be.
In life, we take so much for granted and our body working in the way that it should is one such thing.
Yesterday (until the Voltaren and heat packs kicked in) I had a glimpse of how life is for others and I came away with a new admiration for them.
So tell me, is there something in your life that you have taken for granted? Have you learned any lessons similar to the one I learned yesterday?