July 27, 2013:
After walking with the cane in the hospital, I sent Ann out to buy me a cane to use around the apartment. You cannot imagine the since of freedom I have just from being able to walk with a cane. For so long I have been highly dependent on others to help me. I had gotten to the point where I was highly dependent on Ann. For me, as a man, this was such a humbling time in my life. I needed her to help me dress, put on my clothes, put on my shoes, and often times help me in and out of the bathtub. The problem was that my mind was still sharp. It was like I was outside of my body watching her help me. I just kept thinking, "Is this really my life?" Experiencing this caused my spirit to slowly break. However, as I reflect on my journey, I am thankful for those days because they make me appreciate the fact that I am making small strides toward regaining my freedom.
Today I began to get antsy sitting around the apartment. There are only so many times I can walk to the bathroom or kitchen. Don't get me wrong, I am proud of these accomplishments. The real issue was that I still had two friends in the hospital and I needed to visit them. I needed to see with my eyes that they were doing well. I needed to offer any support that I could to them. I know what it is like to have a visitor stop by when you are in a hospital hundreds of miles from home. I remember those days and if I am able to offer a little comfort to someone that is what I will do. As we were heading back to our apartment I had made a reference to Ann that I think I had brightened up their day. She responded with something to the effect of, "I don't know about them, but I know seeing them brightened up your day." Ann was right seeing them did brighten my day.
Throughout this journey, I have been enlightened and renewed in so many different ways. Today I was able to finally feel the freedom that comes with doing things for oneself. During our visit to the hospital, Ann had to make a stop by the gift shop. Since the gift shop was little I was not comfortable going in. I had Ann tuck me over in the corner away from people while she went in. Normally, this would have been a little depressing for me. It usually made me feel trapped and vulnerable because without her I could not move. I did not have that feeling this time. I knew that armed with my new cane I now had the freedom to move about; even if it was only a few steps.
The freedom that one gains from being able to accomplish a simple task of getting dressed is often just a given to a "normal" person. That is not the case for us CIDPers and others who suffer from chronic degenerative diseases. For some of us, we lose these abilities and they never return. They become only a distant memory of what used to be. Then there are some of us who regain these functions again. When that happens there is no better feeling. It is often complete amazement and joy. So remember as you hit your knees tonight don't forget to thank God for the freedoms that you are experiencing today.