It is now 6 years since I last left the house by myself, my final day in the office when it all went so wrong that they gave me permission to work from home, I don’t think at the time that I truly realised what an impact that day would have on my life, as I had slowly been going out less and less. I was in fact down to just going into the office twice a week so being sent home to find a way of working with one hand seemed like a temporary situation. I suppose we all like to kid ourselves that we can over come everything and life will somehow slot back together. My personal history alone has shown me that isn’t always the case and well I’m not any stronger or any more inventive than most of the world. I suppose this time of year is always going to make me think back to that last day of complete independence, the last time I went out of my front door, locking it behind me and set off for what I thought was just another day. Anniversaries and birthdays are designed to make us think and they seldom fail to deliver on that point, no matter how hard we try to ignore them. It actually amazes me still that I was so determined to do the impossible back then, it really was my first taste of being totally beaten by something I couldn’t change. I have learned to take a more realistic view of the world and accept what I have to, facts like ladders and I don’t mix, you might think that is just logic, but it took a day when I scared myself silly to actually stop me from climbing. These days I usually assess what I have in my mind and work out logically if it is a totally stupid idea first, rather than trying and landing up hurting more than I have to or without putting my life at risk.
One of the things that I am guessing isn’t unique to me is that I never truly learn and never have the thoughts in the right order when I need them. What I mean by that is you forget what you can’t do at times. I have all to often found myself starting something, an everyday task that you and I don’t normally think about, and being caught out by those exact words, “don’t think about”. When you do things in auto mode, you do them because you always have, then suddenly I am stuck, in danger or wondering what I was or more correctly wasn’t thinking. An example happened a few weeks ago in the bathroom, I was having a problem with the curtain behind the toilet, so I started to climbed up so I could stand on the toilet seat to fix it. I was at the point where I had managed to kneel on the seat, with one foot on the seat, trying to find a way of pulling myself up when luckily it clicked that what I was doing was mad! Clearly I got down again without going any further, but I was one move away from what was a situation that the odds said would end badly, before I even really realised how stupid it was. Remembering your limitations can be just as hard as it is to accept them. I used to laugh when I heard stories of elderly people doing equally silly things, but now I know how and why they do, none of us for any reason want to accept that we can’t, ‘can’t’ is a world we don’t want to exist, as it says we are useless. If you can’t do everyday things, what can you do? What use are you?
Getting to grips with all those ‘can’t’ situations isn’t easy, it’s frustrating, annoying and defeatist. Sometimes it makes you inventive, I worked out that I can still open bottles of Cava or Champagne by using a Nut Cracker to grasp the cork and twist, or that the sealed jar that won’t open, will if you stab the top with a sharp knife to release the vacuum, it will. At other times, it leaves me in tears, banging my fist of the table or a wall because once again I ‘can’t’. But there is one other ‘can’t’ that causes me a big problem and that is I can’t always ask for help. I know Adam will do anything I need him to, but I still want to do it myself. I have a vision of the future with me totally unable to stand but still trying to climb to do something myself. Limitations are hard to accept when you have always been independent, learning the hard way is often the only way, but why I don’t learn the first time without testing it over and over again, I will never totally understand. So yes, I will some day soon be kneeling on a stool working out how to standup, I just hope my brain catches up with what I am doing in time.