I walked slowly forward until I reached the chair. Then, I turned, stepping backward with my left and forward with my right. When I finished turning, I walked backward step by step until I felt the wheelchair against my legs. This was the sign I could sit, which I did carefully and slowly. And I had walked here from the bench without losing balance and without having Eric to help me in case I did! My nurse aid and I did the high five the way she’d taught me: you slide hands and you walk with your fingers against the other’s palm. The rest of the day went by fast: I had lunch, worked on my writing and translating, and did my regular phone calls. We had dinner, and I went through my routine with Eric.
The next morning, I asked Eric to help me go to the commode. Eric has established a change since he witnessed my falling from the chair and bleeding as I hurt my forehead with my glasses and he couldn’t do anything about it (he was in the middle of a meeting). I was still confused when it happened, and my core was week. But the image stayed with him, and he insisted that I take his help to go to the bathroom instead of transferring to the wheelchair and do it on my own (as my older brother had taught me when he’d visited years ago). When I’d finished and stood up, he enticed me to walk without any form of support. And as I did it, he surrounded my body with his arms.
I took very small, hesitant steps as I strived to keep my balance: first the left leg, then the right, always locking and holding the other leg while keeping my body straight. I constantly focused on my legs, making sure I lifted them and locked my knees as soon as my feet touched the ground. I turned, crossed over to the left, stepped back, and sat very slowly on the bed, stretching my right arm and resting my hand on the bed. And I breathed deeply. I’d arrived without needing Eric’s help. My eyes teared up. When my nurse aid came the next morning, Eric told her about my feat. Right away, my nurse aid countered with my other feat. I didn’t know whether I deserved to feel proud or not.
Then Sunday came, and it was my turn to walk again. I did my speech and leg exercises. Eric asked me if I wanted to rest before walking. And I felt tired and apprehensive at the same time. I decided to turn a blind eye and pay no attention to my feelings – I’d raise my head and walk, as I decided to do in the past. When he ran into them on the street or talked on the phone, Eric “bragged” (his words) about me to our friends. I’d walked without any means of support! They were all impressed and happy for me, but I don’t know if I should feel proud; better wait, and practice.