I slowly walked up the ramp to the post office with my two canes to collect a package. Someone held the door open and asked:
“Just getting back on your feet?”
“Well, keep on walking! Every day!”
It’s been nice and encouraging that strangers, even during a pandemic, have been offering to help open or hold doors for me. Another stranger did the same thing the last time I went to the post office.
I don’t like the idea of receiving support too much from others, however.
I would rather do as much as I can on my own, so initially, I said “don’t worry about holding the door for me” to the person that replied with “you sure?” I made it to the door and still thanked the stranger none the less. It is easier to have someone open the door for me than not, but I can still do my juggling act to open doors or do anything, so I’d rather not inconvenience others.
Still, it is nice that people see me and want to help as they can.
I wonder how other people experience these situations. They might receive as much charity or maybe they don’t? I live in a diverse part of the world where people are usually more tolerant than not. There are still rampant personality problems between others, as there are in other parts in the world, but I imagine where I live, people are generally more accomodating toward people with accessibility needs – including myself, for the next few weeks, at least.
I’m happy to report that I didn’t hurt myself going to the post office yesterday.
I didn’t go at so fast a pace to hurt myself and I went fast enough to feel like I obliged the world around me. It’s this balance that I need to readjust to over the next few weeks. My balance and physicality are not in a good enough condition to where I can walk around outside without needing both canes to support my weight as I walk, almost like I’m walking on crutches, but at home on good spine days, I can walk from my writing desk to the restroom and back at a slow pace without needing either cane fairly reliably.
If I’m having a bad spine day, walking around at home is difficult.
I did not arrive home to a bad spine afternoon, I did not awake in the evening to a bad spine evening, I did not go to bed well past midnight to a bad spine night, and I did not wake up this morning to a bad spine morning. I still have more errands I would like to do. I’ve decided I’d rather not push my luck and do any of them today. The most I’ve missed out on is seeing what new albums are available at the supermarket so I can see what’s popular for my 2020 Album Review Game, but that’s inconsequential, right?
I almost wonder if I could try to go to the supermarket later on – but at a slow pace?
It requires substantially more effort for me now to go to the post office than months ago, but as that stranger recommended, I should keep on walking every day. I probably won’t be walking around much today. I’d rather stay at home and rest up than tend to one of my lower-effort errands. If I’m feeling well tomorrow morning, I’ll do that errand. Today, then, I’ll plan to walk around the apartment-mansion more. I have more things that I can do necessitating walking from one side of the apartment-mansion to the other, carrying objects weighing under five pounds. This is a good way to get my body moving, get the walking benefit of imbibition, without straining myself to the point of hurting myself.
With that plan in action, my path to recovery should be slow but steady.
I know that if I were to, say, visit the supermarket today, there is a small chance I could walk around as much as I want, get home, and not feel any spinal pain. Would the risk of minor injury either necessitating painkillers or days of rest worth the risk of consumer capitalist culture? I hold no obligations to the Album Review Game in noting what albums are new this week. I hold no obligations to anyone but myself in recovering as best I can. That stranger most certainly would agree that it’s important to keep on going, even if it’s walking around at home, rather than walking around to various places.
His words were encouraging to me in terms of feeling like an outsider.
During my years of research for “The Story,” I’ve heard examples of rude or overreacting behavior toward people using wheelchairs. I am not worried about the external judgment of others – people can go fuck off if they’re going to be rude to people with disabilities – but I was probably worried that I’d get in people’s way. From my limited experiences using these canes, rather than using a wheelchair, it would seem like the compassion of others can be a bit overwhelming. Despite writing as much as I have, I’m more of a private person in real life. I’d rather tend to my own business when I’m out. I’d rather let someone go on ahead of me than wait to hold the door open for me. I can spend the time opening the door; nothing personal.
I don’t think the two experiences are contradictory.
Wanting to be independent, whether on canes, crutches, or in a wheelchair, can be interrupted by other people offering to help. I have the benefit of not having handlebars on my cane, so people can’t push me around, which I’m sure contradicts the feeling of wanting to wheel around independently. To ‘keep on walking,’ whether on canes or in a wheelchair, might be putting in the effort each day to remain independent.
Whether that means walking to my next errand or not.
|Quotes: [1,2] I’m summarizing the conversation here, but it was about like this.|
|Sources: My personal experiences.|
|Inspirations: Writing about my current experiences recovering from spine surgery. It’s been nearly five weeks since my spine surgery, I’m in my mid-30s, and it’s still taking me a while to get back to “normal.” I imagine, now, that I can eventually walk around without needing either cane, but it will take a while.|
|Related: Sober Living essays and Tripping On [The American Healthcare System] chapters.|
|Written On: 2020 October 02 [8:52am to 9:29]|
|Last Edited: 2020 October 02 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]|