Being handicapped, in a word, sucks.
Especially when it happens quickly or suddenly. In my case, it happened quickly. I went from walking normally to needing a cane in less than a year, and then to c-crutches in a few months. Now, I can’t leave the house without my extra legs, and there is little hope of being able to abandon them any time soon. Even with the c-crutches, I sometimes fall, like during commencement last week. Thankfully, the people at IUPUI are predominantly great people, and stopped to help. I am exceedingly grateful for that. I wish I could have spent more of the day on my feet than in a wheelchair, but I digress.
The condition I have is called Multiple Sclerosis. Simply put, I have scars in my brain and upper spine. If you’ve ever had a scar, you know that the tough tissue tends not to have much feeling. In the brain, scar tissue does not transmit neurochemical signals very well, causing a variety of problems.
The most visible issue is the problems with my left leg. I have a hard time lifting it, and the knee and ankle barely work. Sometimes, when I walk, my foot does not come back up, and I end up standing on my toes, or, even worse, on the top of my foot. It takes a bit of effort to keep from tumbling, and I don’t always make it. Sometimes, I position my leg wrong (since I cannot feel where it is), and I tip over, like at commencement. Then there are times when I cannot even lift it enough to take a step forward. I’ve been frozen in place before.