I had a bed delivered today and faced that awkward moment again:
I answered the door in my power chair & escorted the men down the hallway, showing them which bedroom to put the new frame, box spring and mattress in. Upon entering my bedroom, I realized a trashcan and my PT wedges would be in their way. I said, “Oh, I’ll get those things. Let me get up.” The two guys looked at me with confusion practically dripping off their facial features and one of them spoke up, “You’re able to walk?” That question, that moment in time when I’ve distorted someone’s perception of me simply by using one of my mobility aids; that feeling of being weird, being an oddity to others because they assume I can’t walk, can’t stand up at all and I’ve fooled them. It is always awkward for me, just as I assume it’s awkward for the other person, who may be feeling some shame or guilt for pre-judging me, making me less able-bodied than I am.
I have a shirt that says, “Don’t Make Me Get Up!” It’s a joke – I often revel in the hilarious, the humorous about my situation. It helps me get by. I sometimes make people uncomfortable with my light-hearted, silly comments (“This is how I roll,” “Walking is SOOOO overrated!!,” “Does this wheelchair make my butt look big?”). I know my prognosis and have accepted it. There’s nothing else I can do. Well, I suppose I could wallow in self-pity or bask in the Why-Me’s? but to what useful purpose?? I’d only be harming myself. For me, I view each movement I make, every step I take with gratitude because I’ve had to learn most of it again when I first got sick and I know I’m slowly losing it all once more with no chance of restoration. My faith keeps me going, whether it be slowly gimping along on my legs or zooming down the street in my power chair with my daughter running beside me. I know that He has a plan for me and He loves me very much – His plan for my life is perfect for me and it is good, too. So, what do I have to fear? Why would I need to stress? What would I gain from feeling sorry for myself?
I know there will be a day when I won’t be able to stand up or walk. I wonder if awkward moments such as the one from this morning will still be a part of my life. Most likely, they will, but for other reasons that I can’t foresee. And that’s okay because today, I grabbed my cane, got out of the chair and moved my own trashcan & wedges. I was happy to do so, simply because I could do so… which completely alleviated the awkwardness!!