Tag Archives: balance problems

What I Lean On

“Help me. Help me.” I blurt out in a semi-panic but soft-toned voice. I knew my sister, Melissa, was behind me with my walker and bag. I had just taken my first step down the stairs leading to the garage; I felt my body starting to lean backwards in off-balance mode. The last thing I wanted was to take another tumble, thus, my cry for help. Melissa helped me rebalance and I slowly descended. At the bottom, my walker is reopened and I place my bag in the middle compartment. Now holding to the handles, I stand and wait for my ride to church.

I haven’t used my walker in the house since around Thanksgiving. Even my cane I have left in the garage and have only used these two walking assistants when going outside the house to town, church, errands or meeting friends and social gatherings. That is until this past weekend. I first started with my cane. I noted at the beginning of last week that getting up to use the bathroom in the early mornings could sometimes have me feeling off-balance. I never used my cane, but just had it resting against my bedside for “just in case.”

Then I fell. Friday afternoon–I was setting up my painting area for a Saturday morning, “Coffee, brunch and painting,” time with ¬†a friend. I don’t even know technically how it happened, because I don’t remember twisting my ankle, but my tumble forced me to my knees. If I had “snapped forward,” I would have just landed harder on my hands. But my fall sent me on backward whiplash; my legs being folded under me, I crunch down on my crooked feet. As I regain composure, but in pain, I try to shift my feet out from under me but find myself underneath the table (that is the part in which I don’t understand!) I knew I was going to have to have assistance getting up off the floor, and since no one came downstairs yet to check on me, I pushed my Lifeline button. ūüôā

Friday’s fall resulted in a very sore left leg: a torn ligament in the knee. It is really the last thing I wanted at this time. I already am struggling with increasing frustration at my right hand and just the mental processing of being slow. Now I use my walker more regular in the house–discussion today also mentioned that it might be time to restart my AFO braces (at least the right foot while my left leg slowly heals.) That decision alone will be something to pray for peace about–my choice to end wearing them, and PT sessions, in the Fall was primarily to live without them until I needed them to walk. I can still walk, but it is only by God’s divine power that I still can.

I see myself weakening and I want to be strong; I force myself to persevere, but need strength to lean on.

What a fellowship, what a joy divine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

Refrain

Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.

Words by: Elisha A. Hoffman

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Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Uncategorized

Glass slippers

Cinderella has always been my favorite Disney Princess.¬†Imagine a little Mel playing in her room (this is pre 3rd grade age) trying to tie my hair in the back like Cinderella; or wear¬†an apron like¬†Cinderella; or¬†be graceful in my chores like Cinderella (laundry does NOT balance on the head). We had mice for a while. Yes…pet mice. I say “pet” because we named them…and although I never tried to talk to them or put clothes on them, we did play with them in our Barbie house. We¬†tucked Porter (the male mouse) into bed in the Barbie house using a kleenex then got to playing and forgot about him. Thankfully, Porter had a little sputter (he was getting sick ūüė¶ ) but that is the only way we ended up finding him.

Now a mature adult, I don’t play with mice and Barbie houses or try to balance laundry on my head; I don’t even use an apron in the kitchen.¬†But¬†after a day like yesterday, I¬†asked myself:¬†How did Cinderella keep her grace¬†while running down the stairs and losing her shoe¬†at the same time? Let alone they were glass slippers. I¬†came up with the obvious¬†conclusion: It is not humanly possible. ūüėÄ

cinderella-bluray-20  http://www.dvdizzy.com/images/c/cinderella-bluray-20.jpg

If you see me walk, one would note a few specifics: my right ankle curves dramatically inward when I step forward with my right foot; I wobble and sway in every direction; and when I turn corners, I usually end up meeting the wall first. Things as of late have been a bit more difficult, because without my left ear/hearing aid–my “regaining composure” sense is off. Meaning, when I walk my weak side is the right. My left leg and ankle take the weight of what the right is not doing. Most often this does not cause anything but if¬†I go for long walks or exercise, I feel that weight immensely burden my left leg. But right now, that is not the case-more the balance is the problem. My left hearing aid is my strongest of the two. Going with no hearing aid in the left ear has caused more¬†imbalance, especially when turning corners or walking in narrow hallways. But I still have seemed to pull off walking without falling completely. Which is huge!

I mention the curve in my right foot for¬†a specific reason. I have observed that over the past year this problem is increasing…yet might have several factors involved. My shoe is the slip-on shoe. Doesn’t matter what color or style, but as long as it is flat and can go on my foot without using strings or velcro to stay–then¬†I consider them “slip-ons.” Slip-ons for me are like finding a solid pair of jeans: you wear them until they are no longer “wearable.” That might be the first factor. Then you add the curving of the¬†right foot–it starts over time to smash the back left section of my shoe, hence, losing my grip of the foot in the shoe when I take¬†a step. That is also a factor. And just for the record, yesterday was a bit chilly…I probably should not have been wearing slip-ons but it completed my “going out to the coffee shop” outfit. So that is my final factor: my shoes must go with my outfit. LOL.

I was doing just fine in the early part of my errands before I went to the coffee shop. It was not until I was finding a parking solution that my right glass slipper became a problem. You got to admit–it seems that only on days like the one I will tell, is when¬†the small town atmosphere¬†seems awkward. Why? Because someone is bound to recognize you. At least in the city, I brush off these moments with the attitude, “Never going to see anyone here ever again anyway.”¬† Not so with small towns.¬†Oh well, I suppose.

I found a spot on the¬†street where there was a “No parking” in front of me¬†and only one¬†car behind me. Perfect!¬†I hate parallel¬†parking.¬†So, I¬†pull in and use the extra space¬†in front¬†of me¬†to get¬†up far¬†so I can reverse and¬†turn my wheels¬†in closer to the¬†curb. Getting¬†out of the car, I realized that the hill is slanted¬†so far to the right, I can hardly keep my door open and get out at the same time.¬†There were no¬†cars coming so I literally kick the door open and hold it¬†with my left foot, grab¬†my bag and get out¬†of the car.¬†As I make my way¬†towards the¬†coffee shop, I get to the barber’s and glance back. My parking¬†was hardly on the line of the white box marks. I should have left it, but my OCD kicked¬†in and I decide to¬†go back and¬†“recurve” my car in so I am closer to the curb.

Getting out this time, I had to be more quick as cars and semi trucks came flying down the hill. I get¬†my left foot out, and my right. My bag is on the front seat just within reach and I was about to make a grab-and-go for it when my right foot landed on the ground. COLD ground! I look down to see that my foot came out but not my shoe. By this time,¬†I can’t open the car door until the light changed and¬†so there¬†I stood. My right arm holding the door open (but it looks like my arm is being smashed); my right shoeless foot trying to hide behind my left leg and loads of cars are stuck at¬†a red light–eyes watching me just stand there. A green light could not have come any slower!

I finally get myself together and walk past the barber shop again to notice¬†several people¬†looking at me¬†from the window. “Just try not to trip.” I tell myself. Inside,¬†I feel better. I am excited to get to¬†a nice quiet corner, sip my soy¬†chai and read. I enter the room that has a fireplace. My initial reaction is to just sit at the first table I see. Then I notice one is open by the fireplace. Genius! I make my way through the narrow passage of chairs to the empty table. Right as I pass a table where a girl is studying on her computer, I start to feel myself go unbalanced. Thankfully the chair with her backpack caught my almost fall and spill my chai everywhere disaster, but feeling even more embarrassed, I just say: “I am so sorry. I am so unbalanced today.”

I get to the table and sit. What¬†a very ungraceful past twenty minutes! It was not¬†until the car ride back home¬†that I started finding humor in the story. I can’t imagine how I looked and¬†I found that comical. Aristotle said, “The secret to humor is surprise.”¬†I guess that gives my glass slipper moments of the day some grace; either that or I¬†am¬†still learning to give myself grace too, because ultimately, God reminds me of this grace through others–even strangers¬†who are about to get soy chai spilled on their computer and still smile and say, “That’s ok.” That is grace.

I think even the Duke experienced his own form of grace. The first glass slipper¬†is broken (thanks to the step-mother’s cane) and¬†he¬†already let Cinderella escape the castle the first time. Worried¬†what the king¬†would do, Cinderella offers a little grace: the other glass slipper.

Cinderella4 http://disney.wikia.com/wiki/The_Grand_Duke

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Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Books and Movies, Funny Stories, Random