When I come out of full-crisis mode, especially one that lasted longer than usual, it’s always strange to make that transition from the few square meters that my life had been physically reduced to, back to the full outside world. (It’s even stranger to realize that even though my house is not very large, some parts of it actually fall too far out of reach during my worst flares.)
The hard part used to be the challenges associated with transitioning from walking without any mobility device whatsoever, to using a cane, to struggling to get around with crutches, to barely even being able to move at all. I’ve gotten used to this, though, and all of the strategizing that it entails. Two hands free, one hand free, no hands free…but at a certain point, it doesn’t even matter–because when my hands are unencumbered from supporting each and every one of my steps, they too have stopped working.
This past week I went through this whole process once again, just in reverse. Having a free hand to carry an umbrella as I walk along the sidewalk during a rain shower. Going to the grocery store and being able to purchase more than just what fits into my small, one zipper backpack. No longer having to look for a resting place for my cane or crutches, but having that nagging feeling that I’ve left something behind whenever I leave a building or step out of a taxi…these are just some of the different thoughts that I’ve dealt with over the past few days.
There is nothing quite so surreal, however, as once again experiencing that “first day”–the first day that I leave the house without a cane or a crutch. The knowledge that I am ready to do so, that shifting more weight back onto my left leg will actually make it stronger and will not result in more pain or damage…but also acknowledging the fear and hesitation associated with making this final leap. Thinking that my limp has finally become permanent, and then seeing it slowly fade away, and then yesterday (for the first time in more than two months) realizing that I am walking sans cane, crutch, or limp.
As the limits of my physical self continue to expand, I realize that during this past flare I was somehow able to prevent my emotional self from falling victim to this overwhelming shrinking effect that seemed to be taking over my entire world. As I recover from this most recent flare, my emotional self is not playing catch-up as it would have been doing in the past…instead, my emotional self is standing one step ahead, guiding my physical body as it once again continues to familiarize itself with its movements and its sensations.
I was such an active participant during the final two weeks of my flare, that I think I’ve kicked back and become more of a peaceful observer this past week. Left to its own devices, a body is an incredibly strong and intelligent thing. I took good care of my body over the past few weeks…now I’m letting it take good care of me.
Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy!