22 July 2011

Some days are better than others

Let's face it -- some days I wake up and just feel lousy. The alarm goes off but I'm still tired, I want to sleep. My body aches all over. The dog barks, wanting to go out, and I really don't feel like getting up and out to take him for a walk. Can't I just roll over, go back to sleep, and dream it all away? Some days it's just all of the tiny little extra steps that wear me down. For me to get up and out of the house in the morning, it just takes longer than it did when I was able-bodied--and some of this will never change. 
I've always enjoyed slow mornings. I'm not one of those people who jumps out of bed, raring to go. I'm fuzzy-headed and want to spend 30 minutes drinking coffee and reading the newspaper before I even speak to another human being. Then I like to exercise (I used to run three miles or do an hour-long yoga routine), shower and get dressed. When I was self-employed, I usually started work at 10am.
As an amputee, everything takes longer. Morning coffee? Try walking around with a cup of coffee in your hand--on one leg. Showering? Just be careful while shampooing one-handed, holding a grab bar with the other. And putting on lotion afterward, I have to sit still, no walking into the kitchen for that second cup of coffee while I rub my hands together. Getting dressed, I have to follow a strict protocol: after making sure that all items are within reach, first put the pants on the prosthesis, followed by sock and shoe. Next, don the liner (and for me a second liner), then step into the other pant leg and put on sock and shoe. This is done sitting, with the prosthesis balanced between my legs and my pants likely dropping to the floor (which encourages good housekeeping). Next I stand up to don the prosthesis, trying to hold up my pants with one hand, steady myself with another by holding onto a chair or table, and simultaneously somehow using both hands to hold the prosthesis upright (usually my pants end up on the floor again). Once the pin is inserted and I have a secure fit, I can bend over and pull up my pants. Depending on the shirt I'm wearing that day, my camisole is tucked in or pulled over my pants (I usually wear a camisole because it makes my scarred belly feel protected). Tucking it in sometimes requires dropping my pants again.
As you can tell, this--pants on the floor--is one of my pet peeves. Especially when traveling and using public restrooms, I get very annoyed at having to drop my pants. I've figured out many ways to bunch up my clothes, brace myself against the wall of a stall or otherwise contort myself to avoid letting my pants fall onto the public restroom floor (yuk!).
So some mornings I don't want to face all of the petty annoyances that I have to experience in order to get out and face the world in the morning. Some days I'd rather stay in my pajamas and stay in bed. Some days I get pretty close to that (some days I work from home), lounging in shorts and t-shirts. But except for those days, I do get up and get ready and get out. I know that it's necessary for me to do it every day or soon I would not be doing it at all. It's one of the small steps in my slow recovery to return to full functioning. And no one can make that happen but me.

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