Monday, 24 May 2010

Summertime Blues

"...ain't no cure for the Summertime Blues....."

Having finished up my structured regime of going to the private physio clinic to get some stretches, massages, and most importantly some walking, my motivation seems to have dissolved like winter's melting snows.

As the house is too small, the backyard non-existent, the driveway too short and the sidewalk too uneven, my plan was to find some un-congested community locale to take a short daily stroll. A community center, a paved parkland trail, a quiet corner of a parking mall - an unhurried walk with my wife following with the manual chair for support. But the days seem to come and go, slipping away along with my motivation.

Always having been self reliant, I find it difficult to ask anyone, my wife included, for help. Ask I have but I never "push" the topic. Willing to assist, she is, however, knowing is more comfortable in the confines of her home, I hesitate to inconvenience her.....and so I sit.

Four years on and where I have I come? I'm no longer dressed by my wife, hoisted out of bed by a lift and sent off to physiotherapy but rather, I get up dressed and step out into my wheelchair to head off to work - most often before my wife awakes. Still, in those four years, each day, save perhaps a half hour, are spent sitting. If I measure progress by walking, which was my ultimate goal, I haven't progressed very far at all.

I've hit a major plateau. While the winter physio sessions did add some stability to my core, walking still is a challenge. Oh, I can stand up and cross a significant distance, moving with a fairly natural gait, however, it no longer seems to improve and doesn't feel easier. I had hoped that with each week of dedicated effort, each foot would step out in ease, land with assurance and be repeated with ever increacing strength and grace. Yet, with each passing month one foot follows the other, trying not to twist, stumble or fall - I find time marches on while I do not.

My impression is that "minor" muscles no longer tighten, clench or work in concert to provide a rigid platform for my torso to sit upon. I waver, front to back, unable to remain taut without significant consciousness and effort. My knees easily support me yet if feels at times that they still want to hyper-extend - bending in ways they aren't designed to do. Feels that the femur wants to slide over the kneecap and past the tibia as it aims for the floor.

That unnerving physical sensation translates into a mental uneasiness. In the four years post injury, I have never fallen down to polish the floor with my butt - not through board assisted transfers, not through braces, standing at the parallel bars nor walking with the walker - I have not fallen.....yet. However, that lack of tautness or regidity has me feeling that I might drift off to one side or another, front or back, to an unrecoverable degree. It fails to improve.

The mind plays significantly on my walking, perhaps even more than the physical ability. While it feels great to stand up and navigate the world from my height of old, I still step gingerly across the room aiming for my chair to sit back down.

I once described my mental impression of the sensation as "trying to stand a strand of cooked spaghetti on end". In my mind, I remain a strand of spaghetti, only now cooked al dente.

It has been said "a sign of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again expecting different results."

I have tried very hard with little further progress. Am I insane to keep trying?

* * *

At my employer's strong suggestion, I have taken a weeks holiday as I had far too many hours of vacation time accumulated.
With no place to go and nothing meaningful to do, here I sit - as 'there ain't no cure for the Summertime Blues'.