Earlier in the day, I'd attend my morning rehabilitation session at St. Andrew's Community Hospital (OT on Mondays), and I was wheeled in on a wheelchair, which was promptly returned to the shop (it was a rental, and I reckon it is time to anyways), and limped out of the session on the new cane. I had purchased a second-hand cane the week prior, but seems it was near 2 inches too short, as frowned upon by my physiotherapists, so being stingy did not much pay off (am still keeping the cane tho ;p).
I had earlier admitted to both the PTs and my family, that it was my "fear" that had kept me from walking with a 4-Legged-Walker or cane in public. The fear of falling is a constant regardless of how safely I might try to maintain, no doubt ~ but moreso the fear of others, who might not, DO NOT know how to react to a man with a walking cane ~ hell, I have issues moving around in a goddamned wheelchair, much less walking free!
[Me in wheelchair at the beginning of my 2nd month in hospital stay in
November 2010, being wheeled to St Andrews. Yes that is a seat-belt!]
The in-built lack of empathy generally for others latent in average Singaporeans, scares me. I may be over-imagining a lot, but the 2 months in wheelchair has shown me otherwise. Just in the morning, while waiting for a cab by the roadside to rehab, a strapping young man literally walked 10-ish metres in front of me in a wheelchair, and flagged a cab down. Yeh sure he is in a mad rush. Yeh sure he is a nice guy at heart and treats his friends well. Yeh sure he did not see me in my wheelchair by the side of the road … nah, we are not living in a Korean television serial where most folks are blind to surrounds around them, yeh?
Regardless of my nativity and man-bitching, life does go on, and an incident like that is sadly accepted as a main-stay in my life now, regardless if I am in a wheelchair, or not. Ironically, I have no idea how his face looks like, as I reckon it is harder to "hate" and be angry with someone, if you do not see their face in your mind (Remember Wong Ka Wai's "In The Mood For Love"? Where you were never actually shown the faces of Tony's wife, or Maggie's cheating husband? Heh).
Back in reality, I remember walking head-high to the canteen in Changi Hospital for an early lunch, where I had bumped into a small group of doctors for my stay in Changi (for the first month of getting Stroke), also getting their lunch! To their credit they remembered me and asked how I was doing. All the smiles and "thumbs up" they had given then had such a positive effect on me, lunch somehow tasted better too LOL
No matter how I pretend it did not matter as much, it did, and the boost of confidence really helped the day pass better, even later in the afternoon, when I made my way to the Chinese acupuncture sessions (three times a week, mind), which ended up with me and my sis (a chaperone I have still, mind) purchasing a box of pizza and an awesome loaf of cinnamon-infused bread (super nice! super guilty with my diabetes! treat myself! sugar-rush!).
Today is a milestone day for me. Today I take yet another step towards "independence", and hopefully an eventual recovery in full, when I can chuck away my walking cane (of course I will donate it for free at the hospital) and sashay down any street, any lane, any pathway laid before me.
I had mentioned on my FB that my life's priorities have changed after the Stroke, and they indeed have altered my life's habits and aims, and today seems like one of those "first days", in many more "first days" to come, and I am fine with that.
Cheers to more glorious days ahead!