For years, doctors predicted my imminent demise or ruination and I lived in careless disregard of the potential of survival. Their prognostications coupled with the judgments of others as to my worthlessness dragged me so far down that I might as well have been dead. I made poor choices from a lack of faith in my potential. I associated with people who considered me inferior to them. I refused to confront my emotional turmoil. I lived as though I had no value. I let my fears overtake me.
And by “for years”, I mean, “for most of my life”.
Despite having made choices which took me down a path to certain ruin, to destined failure, I have managed to survive. I’ve found some type of inadvertent rhythm. My sharp edges have begun to dull with years of polishing. Though few linger to see the flare, I think I’m finally beginning to shine.
I thought all that had come to a savage halt on Sunday.
By afternoon, the weakness in my legs which has been the other side of spasticity had overtaken me. I had felt the decline for months but during this past week, it had become frightening. On Sunday, I attended a function which necessitating my standing for an hour or so, cheering runners in a race with a group of my fellow Rotarians. I had almost canceled. I could have just not shown; I could have sent a text. But I decided to push myself. If I faced being bedridden, finally, I wanted my last act of freedom to be among the company of angels.
Later that day, I sat on my porch wrapped in a shawl, worrying, crying, fretting. I pulled myself out of the funk long enough to visit with a friend who stopped by to fix something for me. I did not mention my condition. We never left the porch together, so he did not have a chance to observe my helpless state.
At some point on Sunday evening, I took myself by the scruff of my neck and gave a vigorous shake. Think, dammit, think! I realized that there could be another explanation. Perhaps something else was wrong with me, something normal, like a stroke or a blood clot. If so, and I did not get help, I might be consigning my own self to permanent misery. Then it came to me: Perhaps this is related to the muscle relaxant which I have been taking for years and years.
I got on the Internet and researched. Within thirty minutes, I began to suspect that I was experiencing a cumulative overdose. I skiipped my evening pill and then, the next morning, did the same. I called the doctor, got validation for my theory, and agreed to try a different drug. I need the stuff, something, or the spasticity will cause my legs and arms to draw tight against my chest. But the doctor agreed my theory could be sound. I skipped the Monday night dose as well; and by Tuesday, I could walk again.
Oh don’t get me wrong! I’m still a gimp. My legs still shudder, I still walk like a duck. The kids will still stare and the grown-ups will still avert their eyes — some of them, at least, the more squeamish ones. But I’m not complaining. I’ll take this state. For as long as possible, I intend to follow my Nana’s advice, and put my best foot forward — even though that ‘best foot’ spontaneously breaks and wobbles like crazy.
It’s the twenty-seventh day of the twenty-eighth month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues, and so do I.