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It has been been two years since I’ve had to use my wheelchair. Most days I’m taking my walking for granted again but every few weeks I still feel gratitude for something I can do now that I couldn’t do before.
I went shoe shopping and was grateful I could see the shoes. In the wheelchair I would have to reach up, push the tip of the shoe down and it would cause the shoe to tip up so I could see it. It was tedious.
Another day I ran into the store to grab one thing. It took less than five minutes. Even when I was healthy enough to drive, errands were never quick in my wheelchair. By the time I hobbled to the back of my van, pulled out the pieces of my wheelchair (I wasn’t strong enough to lift the whole thing at once), attached the wheels to the base, got in, shut the van, wheeled myself up the slight rise to the store, found what I wanted, found someone to reach it up high, got checked out, and then reversed the process of getting back in the van it took almost a half an hour and I was exhausted. I could never go into more than one store at a time because I needed to rest.
It’s the little things that demoralized me in the wheelchair. Aisles of clothes that weren’t wide enough to get past, steep ramps to the kid’s school, ice and snow in a parking lot, stairs at every home- even if it was only one or two- became barriers to normal daily tasks.
My most recent realization was that this summer not only did I sweat a lot, I stank. I couldn’t remember my sweat stinking for the past twenty years or more. As a teenager in dance classes I’m pretty sure I got stinky like a normal kid.
To me smelling that stinky sweat meant that I was finally normal. Everyone talks about body odor after exercising. It was one more way that I was finally normal.
Today I’m bursting with gratitude that I stink.