I survived a stroke almost nine years ago. After weeks laid up in an ICU in Albuquerque (“Stroke City”) New Mexico, I transferred to a specialized ward at a hospital in California, where I spent several more weeks recovering before heading home.
The transition from NM to CA required I be able to climb in and out of a wheelchair on the plane. Leaving the stroke ward and going home required being able to climb the flight of stairs to my condo.
Honestly, I don’t remember how I managed that second transition. In the stroke ward, they kept everything – wheelchair, walker, anything I could lean on – away from the bed, so I wouldn’t move around unsupervised, fall down, and sue them.
One evening toward the end of my stay, I seriously needed to use the restroom and nobody responded to my frantic pressing of the buzzer. Finally, I chanced it, and took a few solo steps to my walker.
That same desperation must have been what hauled me up the stairs into my condo (either that or an angel named Mike, who ushered me home and up the stairs). Prior to that first day at my condo, I’d barely managed a 1/2 flight of stairs (with the help of three therapists).
Over the next few months I graduated from walker to cane, then from “with cane” to “without cane.” As I progressed, I returned to doing the things I love. My friends even took me camping that year. Here they are, letting me help set up the tent:
Aren’t they the best?
Jump forward nine years… I’ve finally wised up. I happily bring my cane (*ahem* walking stick) camping. See?
All that time trying to walk independently eventually meant being able to resume daily activities, but when it comes to letting my wobbly balance hold me back, I’ve finally learned my lesson: Take help where I can get it!