Best Foot Forward

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.

Patrick gae me this card for Mother's Day two years ago.  I read it often; his words fuel me on some of my darkest days..

Patrick gave me this card for Mother’s Day two years ago. I read it often; his words fuel me on some of my darkest days..

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