I am going to state it. No frills, no metaphors, no use of the semi-colon.
On Thursday, and again today, I went for a walk, to the woods, on my legs!
Last night we had the first snow of the winter. Not a lot, but enough to settle for a while.
Everywhere was clean and sparkling by morning and the sun was shining in a clear, blue sky. It was very cold . . . enough to put me off taking Ruby out on the scooter, for sitting still for an hour is not the best way to keep warm.
But Ruby is a spaniel, and, like all spaniels, has been genetically modified to have large, brown eyes and an expressive face.
In short, I felt guilty.
Guilt is an under-rated emotion these days. It keeps me going.
So, this was it. The time had come for me to re-teach my legs how to walk.
Most of the sciatic pain in my left leg has subsided, so it is weakness that is causing the problem. The enforced idleness of five months seems to have allowed the multiple sclerosis to run amock in my left leg, with the result that my left leg has lost so much muscle that it is half the thickness of my other leg.
The conventional wisdom about MS is that, once lost, muscle can’t grow back. I might have to settle for the wheelchair and work to stop things getting worse.
I’m sorry, that doesn’t sound like a good deal to me. I’m not in denial of the wheelchair. It has been a real boon, a momentary easing of pain. And, to be honest, I quite enjoy being wheeled around, getting to the front of queues, and so on. But I want to see the woods again.
So that’s what I did, on Thursday. I walked the full length of the woods and back, slept all Friday, then tried to do it again this morning.
I failed today, but I now know it’s possible.
These are the main lessons from the two walks:
- Use a wheeled walker with a seat,. I had to sit down every ten steps or so. I could never have walked those ten steps without a guaranteed seat at the end. Lots of rest for those poor, tired muscles.
- Go somewhere you like It almost took a whole day for me to walk through the woods and back, so I needed to like the place..
- I spent a lot of time watching the world go by. Everyone seems so unhappy where they are, because they are always on the way to somewhere else. Don’t get sucked in to this frantic world.
- Dress appropriately, by which I mean you need to be warm, because you won’t be moving a lot. But not too warm, because you will be expending a lot of energy just to move a couple of paces. You need to be Goldilocks warm . . . not too hot, not too cold.I keep telling myself that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. It has become my mantra, as I work to get back on my feet.
- There must be lots of people trying to walk again, and we can help each other, so please share this.