Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Forever Free - Part 2



After seeing the video of Steve Gleason and Pearl Jam yesterday, I was compelled to write … Here goes ...


I wrote something recently on the subject of relativity … and weeks before I wrote about my close encounter with death when I was seven …

The event was a big deal, in and of itself … however, I rarely if ever go into all those minute details of that catastrophic encounter. What I didn’t touch on was the fact that from that moment when I fell down and couldn’t get up, I never again had normal functioning of my body. 



And my life was totally different than any other child I knew ... I only went to school for half-day ... I had to lie down the better part of the time ... my walking was purposefully limited ... (my doctors wanted to protect me from scoliosis or uneven legs) ... 

I had had what was called a "Spotty" case of polio. What that meant was that I had stronger and weaker muscles scattered throughout my body ... unlike most others who had some kind of symmetry to the way the disease impacted their bodies ... like having paralysis of both legs ... 

The good news was that I was ultimately able to compensate (I still am a Master of Compensation) and manage to live relatively "normally" ...

Unfortunately, what was never addressed in those childhood years was my emotional state ... I’m sure I spent more than my “fair share” of time being angry, frustrated, lonely, depressed, etc. (What on earth is a ‘fair share’?) But I never showed it ...

By the time I went off to college all I can remember is that physically I seemed to manage quite well. The college campus was spread out … hills and flights of stairs everywhere … and we even used to sneak out late at night … drive into the City (N.Y. of course) and dance all night at Trudy Hellers. (Does anyone remember that place?)

Somewhere in the 1980’s articles started to come out describing something they were calling Post-Polio Syndrome. They were finding that people who had had polio 30 to 40 years earlier were beginning to experience symptoms reminiscent of the original onset of the disease … muscle weakening, loss of mobility, severe fatigue and pain. It seemed to be affecting those who had been most severely impacted by the initial impact of the disease.

I can remember some of my more metaphysical friends telling me to ignore the articles … You know, “What You Think is What You Get” … so I did. Time marched on and I don’t think I noticed any real changes … or if I did, I wasn’t admitting them even to myself.

I’m not sure at what point but I can remember starting to take advantage of “Wheelchair Assistance” at airports. Maybe that was the ‘mid to late ‘90’s … Can’t really remember …

In Oct. 1996, I had a bad slip & fall and fractured my left ankle (the weaker of the two) and was in a cast for 3 months. My mobility was severely affected …

I was able to walk around my apartment but couldn’t manage on my own outside of the house and needed to use a wheelchair … I also needed help maneuvering bathing because I couldn’t get the cast wet and wasn’t able to straddle the tub alone … After the entire episode, I was advised to begin using a half-brace on my left leg which I didn’t fight.

To my best recollection, that was the first time since childhood that I once again found myself in a “helpless” condition … not able to even take care of my own basic needs …

Almost a year-to-the-day later, I fell again and this time only gashed my eyebrow open requiring a few stitches.

Curiously enough, on both of these occasions, I was taken to the hospital in an ambulance, which I hadn’t experienced since that fateful night so many years earlier … it brought up some very vague, strange but yet again somewhat familiar feelings ...


CONCLUSION TOMORROW



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