To walk again, perchance to dreamDec 21 02:24
We live in exciting times. The lame are walking again. People paralyzed like you on me, for years on end, are finally getting the chance to walk because of groundbreaking neurostim technologies, like ReWalk, Esko and other cool neurostim technology.
As someone who’s been dreaming for the day to walk again for 18 years, it makes me wonder what it must feel like to be on your own two feet after waiting 5, 10, 15 years? Do you feel like your old self or do you feel like a brand new person?
What really interests me are the “oldies,” the people who’ve grown accustomed to not walking. Recently injured people of course take to the ability to walk as a return to their old selves, but for someone like me who’s been injured for 18 years and has had to force herself to be happy with how she was in order to survive, to thrive, getting up and walking again could feel very very strange, like walking through a gilded room thinking there’s a booby trap lying in wait. Or like you’re trying too hard to be cool.
Part of me ponders what it must physically feel like, or not feel rather, when you‘re up and walking but can’t feel your legs. I remember walking to be a full sensory experience. To walk again, but not feel my legs, would definitely take some getting used to and may even be unfulfilling because it‘s not how you remember it, like how I felt when I started using my standing frame. Wha? I’m standing? *looks down at feet to check* And don’t even get me started on the annoyances with being winded after only standing for 5 minutes….
I’ll never be 14 and perfectly able again. You‘ll never be whatever age you were and perfectly able again. If any of us do get the chance to walk again because of neurostim technology, going in expecting a completely new experience, not one you’ve been waiting for years to relive, is a wise game plan.
No matter how it may feel, we’re witnessing a miracle everytime someone with paralysis gets up and walks again because of the miracle that is muscular neurostimulation. Sure, it’s wires, but it’s a wirey miracle. If you took this technology in a time machine and transported it to the 1500’s, they would surely agree .
Got a chance to walk again after several years? How did you feel?
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Tiffiny Carlson is freelance writer and writes the “SCI Life” column for New Mobility. She's also a C6 quad from a diving accident that occurred when she was 14 years old. A lifelong resident of Minneapolis, Tiffiny has been a writer in the disability community for over 10 years and writes for several publications and blogs, as well as her personal blog BeautyAbility. Her work has also appeared in mainstream publications such as Nerve.com and Playgirl.