Sunday, September 16, 2012

Rolling Around

As we are halfway through CMT Awareness Month, I have been thinking about possible topics to write about and realized I haven't touched on a subject that has been part of my life for over a year or may be because I am still in denial, skirting the issue, ignoring, or just not talking about it unless necessary. It's not as if I'm ashamed, but when I think about it, it's a bit of a different reality to accept.

What I am talking about is how much more dependent I have become on using a wheelchair. My ability to walk or stand has gotten so limited that I don't venture out anymore without it. Last year, I purchased a CR-V just so I could have the wheelchair in the trunk of my car at all times. It has become a constant support and major assistance for me whenever I go somewhere that requires any browsing, walking or standing for more than 10 minutes.

While I am more than happy to be pushed around and am very glad that I get to do more than I would if I was on my own two feet, at the same time, I have some strange feelings about it. I try not to focus on the negatives: how young I am, how much more I was able to do not even 5 years ago, how I will manage pushing a stroller on my wheelchair when the time comes, and whether my future/inexistent kid will be embarrassed that his/her mama is on a chair...I know these are silly thoughts but sometimes they do pop into my head. I guess accepting the chair as part of my reality is a bit bittersweet ... when I was younger, this is definitely not how I imagined my 31-year-old self.

I also get annoyed at times with random strangers, all too eager to stare at me to try to figure out what's wrong. I can see their eyes going from head to toe looking for the reason I am bound to my chair and then looking at me a bit perplexed when I stand up to take a picture. I wonder if I am the only young person they've ever seen in that condition.

My dad and John took turns pushing me around in Newport, RI

I am thankful to my husband and my parents for always being more than happy to push me around. No matter how many times we need to get in and out of the car, John calmly assembles and disassembles the chair for me - I could not have asked for a better guy. I am also very grateful for my faith because without it, I may feel that things were unfair and do the "poor me" routine.

I also realize that I am lucky not to need the chair permanently...that I DO get to get up when so many others cannot...I think the process of acceptance is a long one, it doesn't happen overnight. Some days I am perfectly fine and others I am more emotional about it...I guess I just better keep on rolling on and enjoying the opportunity to enjoy this world on two wheels and a cushy seat...


Lenka said...

I have been using a wheelchair more now that I hurt my ankle an I wish that I had the courage to use one years ago. Wheelchairs mean a lot more than just getting from A to B with less stress. I completely understand the emotions. I had my own melt down this week about feeling way older than I should at my age. It is not fun!

I hope our generation gets to change the negative energy around wheelchairs. I can tell you that my own kids think the wheelchair is cool. And my classroom kids 5&6 years old, think the wheelchair is neat. They want turns! :). Somewhere that changes and maybe these children won't carry a 'tragic' idea about wheelchairs. We can hope.

Meanwhile, let's invent that stroller!

Thomas Wright said...

Way to go, Michelle! I’m glad that despite your condition, you still exude a positive attitude. Positivity can help you deal with all the struggles and look at the brighter side of life. And I think it is a good decision that you purchased a larger vehicle to accommodate your wheelchair. But I would suggest that you get yourself a mobility vehicle so you can ride around with ease.

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