I’m still flawed and I’m still here. And I like to walk. In fact, I cherish walking for a whole lot of reasons, mostly just because I can still enjoy bipedal ambularity.
I don’t take walking lightly. I was paralyzed on the right side of my body fifteen years ago, with very little expectation that I would ever be moving on two legs again. This was the result of a brain malformation that led to a hemorrhagic stroke. That whole experience had a way of…adjusting my gait just a bit. Alright, it actually threw walking out the window and made me re-examine every way in which I used to move and the meaning of those movements.
For good measure, I had a surprise cancer diagnosis a few years later and ended up having a tumor removed from the bottom of my right foot and a summer of recovery as a hunk of my skin from one part of my body was grafted onto the bottom of my right foot. After all, walking around with a hole on the bottom ambulation point is not a good thing. A few years later, my body wasn’t done with flukey issues and I had a second stroke, again knocking out movement on the right side of my body. This was due to a vertebral dissection, thanks to a bony protrusion from a my backbone deciding to get into a knife fight with my right vertebral artery. The artery lost and clotted up to stop the bleeding. One night I sneezed and a hunk of clot had the audacity to break off and lodge in my cerebellum. A second paralysis of my right side was one of the results.
The left side of my body must have felt neglected. An old knee injury had resulted in a nasty piece of legislation in my left knee and osteoarthritis developed. And became unbearable. So I bought a new left knee two years ago. I had to learn to walk, yet again.
The good news in all of this is that I can, in fact, walk. My gait is odd. I compensate in a variety of ways due to the lingering effects of neurological disruptions and anatomical changes. My balance is challenged. But I’m grateful to be able to walk, as ungraceful as I may look, doing a gracious thing that God has given most of us the ability to do.
Walking, for me, has become a really important metaphor for…well, walking, I guess. I’m very flawed, but I can stand upright and propel forward. I don’t take that for granted. Many folks are unable to walk. And humans have a way of overlooking people and things which are below eye level. That’s why children jump and shout to get our attention. That’s why folks who can’t jump, and maybe don’t shout, speak from wheelchairs. But they often aren’t heard. You know, out of site and out of mind.
I do other kinds of walking too. We all do. My mind walks, taking in all sorts of stimuli, information, cable news and sunset views. My mind wanders through all sorts of terrain, from distasteful to sublime, always with a limp much like my walking gait. My mental balance can be unsteady and I am often in need of better movement patterns to correct my dysfunction.
Physical therapists tell us that it is a mistake to add strength to dysfunction. In other words, if movement patterns are flawed, its best to first try to correct the flaw than make the flawed movement stronger. There will likely be injury down the road if one adds strength to dysfunction. So as to my non-physical propulsion, I’ve decided to restart my blog and see where it takes me. My goal is to help others in their various forms of walking. But first, I need to stop, observe and just pay attention to how other humans are trying to navigate through life.
Copyright Daniel Blake 2019