Saturday, June 13, 2009

How it feels to walk

One of my patients this week was passing me in the hallway and asked, "what is it like to walk?". I stopped and had to think for a moment to find the response I wanted to say. I was thinking about what it felt like to walk, and the only word that came through my mind to express that feeling was freedom. But what I actually said to the woman was the truth and that was, "I don't really think about it." Our legs carry us wherever we want to go at the demand of our mind and there is little conscious thought that goes into walking for a person who has little difficulty walking. She told me she hasn't walked in 27 years and she is not able to. I looked at her and told her that I was sorry she is not able to walk but there are many things she can still do and to remember them. I reminded her that we take for granted the things we can do, like me with walking, and maybe her with her cognition or dexterity. It is also important and humbling to remember that there is always someone worse off than us.
The woman took me by surprise a bit with her question, but it was a wonderful reminder of how able I am and that nothing is entitled to me or guaranteed. She has a complicated medical history that has left her wheelchair bound for at least 20 years, but I'm sure she didn't expect that nor wish that...
so try to remember "how it feels to walk"...

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