In the two years I’ve been practicing to walk, I’ve been seeing anything that didn’t fulfill my expectations as a failure. And my expectations have been always above the ordinary. When I first came home, I couldn’t walk without the brace, and Eric always had to help me. That meant I had to practice on Sundays so that Eric wouldn’t have to work. Gradually, I took out the brace and switched to the bar at my insistence (I wanted to walk without help, and that meant being able to lock my knee). I have a vague memory of my early exercises (it was more than a year ago, and my brain hadn’t healed yet), but I remember I was outside on my wheelchair and was crying, and my then nurse aid was telling me not to be so hard on myself.
Many nurse aids came and went in more than a year I’ve spent practicing and practicing, and all of them told me as they were leaving that I shouldn’t be so hard on myself. And I’ve switched to the crutch three days a week, part inside the handrail, part outside, and I still see my falls (or almost-falls) as failures. I have to shake my head to take away my thoughts, straighten my back, look ahead, and think, “I can do it.” And when I’m back on my chair, I try to push my memories of a small incident out of my mind. I pretend it never existed and smile. And the walking days are still bad days on my calendar. That’s why I keep trying not to be hard on myself, and to see my falls as learning experiences.