Sunday, June 15, 2003

I found myself saying the three words today that I've tried hard to avoid: It's Not Fair.

Self-pity isn't an admirable trait, but at times it's inescapable.

I've been allowed to take my leg home for the weekend, with strict instructions to wear it for no more than 3 hours a day. Instead of being a right, walking has become a privilege to be carefully rationed. Do I blow the full 3 hour quota in the morning, or stretch it out over the course of the day? Do I ignore the advice and gorge myself with non-stop walking, regardless of the consequences?

Actually, gorging myself isn't an option. I'm reliant on a pair of walking sticks because I can't yet put my full weight through the injured leg. The best I can manage is hobbling around like an arthritic pensioner.

Although the leg's a definite improvement on the wheelchair I can't help myself from thinking pessimistically that my glass is half empty rather than half full. Being able to walk a little seems to highlight the long way I've still got to go rather than the progress I've made so far. Getting around is so slow, uncomfortable and tiring at the moment that I can't imagine ever being able to stroll casually down the street. The prosthesis rubs and pulls on my leg, blistering the skin. After walking more than a few hundred yards I can't wait to take it off. Walking to the shops and back to buy a newspaper is about my limit.

Today I found myself thinking "this is it", this is the way it's going to be forever. While I was in the wheelchair or on crutches I could look forward to the imaginary day when I'd be given the artificial leg. In my mind I imagined leaping up and immediately running a marathon. Now I've got the leg, though, I realise that I'm faced with a whole new series of obstacles to overcome. It's as if I've completed that imaginary marathon and someone's told me I have to go back to the starting line and do it all over again.

I've realised for the first time just how much emotional energy I'm using up just getting through the rehab. Still, on a brighter note it is fantastic to see two shoes poking out of my trouser legs again.

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