I wasn't having the best of days yesterday. Low brainspace, trouble walking early on, and it got worse. We got halfway through the exhibition and I had to go and rest. So we went to the cafe, paid a lot for a little, then went back. At this point Shaz voiced the idea that I'd had very early on, that it may be worth getting me one of the complimentary wheelchairs.
The mere thought brought me very close to tears.
It feels too big a jump. I've already started considering it for conventions, because if it gives me an extra couple of hours per day, then it's worth it. But it's so very far from how I see myself, and I'll be honest, I have trouble dealing with how some of my friends are reacting now. I can see how upset they get when I start to hobble along. I really don't want to deal with the looks on people's faces if they see me in a chair.
I decided to forgo the wheelchair for the Egyptian exhibition, not out of pride but out of practicality. Many of the exhibits were placed at a level where to properly view them I would need to keep standing up. Not only would I feel a goose, but standing and sitting constantly would wear me out way quicker than just maintaining my balance and staying upright.
Got through the rest of the displays, but was too far gone mentally to appreciate it. Bugger. I actually should have been in the chair right from the beginning. It would have made a difference to not have to tire myself out mentally trying to stay upright. But again, the placing of items really made it impractical.
But I wanted to visit the rest of the gallery, and was fully prepared to be in a wheelchair for that.
I hated it.
Oh I laughed and joked, but I still hated it. And then as Sharon pushed me around, I started to get annoyed. I once had a girlfriend who was in a wheelchair, and Shaz was making all the same mistakes I initially made - you push people too close to things, or place them on weird angles - all the mistakes that mean that eventually the person in the wheelchair goes from correcting you to just putting up with where they are placed because it's easier.
I decided I'd get myself around, thank you.
The chair was much lighter than the ones I had known. So pretty soon I was zipping around in much the same frenetic manner that I used to do on foot. It actually gave me more freedom than I have on the walking stick. On the stick I'm always having to look for the most efficient route between points, I need to minimise my movement to save physical and mental energy. In the chair I was able to wander back and forth the way I normally would, going back to check things, etc.
I essentially went through the same transformation I went through with my walking stick. I hated it right up until the moment that my mind saw what it really was in my hands - it wasn't an aid to walking - it was a prop! And one that I would have with me a lot of the time. So within fifteen minutes, I started seeing what I could actually do in/with the chair, while wandering around looking at some gorgeous art.
I can see all sorts of possibilities, but I'll tell you this - if I ever end up in a wheelchair for any real length of time, I won't be happy until I can balance on two wheels :)
I still utterly detest the idea, and still have to stave off depression that I spent a few hours needing to use a chair, but if that's what happens, I'll just figure out how to make the best of it.
I was, however, very happy that this morning I went jogging without problem *grin*