I’m not looking for your empathy or even you’re kindness; I’m just looking for you to be a little more mindful. Yes, I’m talking to *you*. You parked your car in front of that store (illegally) and blocked the path for others to get up the ramp. You shoved that shopping cart against my heel in the supermarket, and while I am *certain* that this act was unintended; it scared the heck out of me. You jumped in front of me another time as I hobbled into the store and stopped, disregarding the fact that I was making great effort to stay balanced while walking. You hung up the phone while I was entering my social security number because I couldn’t move my fingers quick enough. You stood in front of me while I was watching my daughter play basketball or either of my son’s wrestle. In an attempt to ‘help’ me, you pulled the door to the Thai food take-out place fully open; the door I was struggling with, yes, but causing me to lose my balance as you pulled it away from me.
The ‘you’ I’m referring to here is probably…. No, most likely me. These things are actions that we just do, right? Unfortunately, since recovering from GBS and just *starting* to regain my independence, these are just a few examples of things I probably would have also overlooked. My physical therapist might even suggest that I’m just “a pussy”. My wife often thinks I choose to use GBS as an excuse to disengage myself from activities as well. Both of them *might* be correct *sometimes*, however let me lend some perspective: When its dark outside and my visibility is limited in any sort of way, it scares me. I’ve lost sensation in my feet; not being able to see absolutely clearly *and* having limited sensation to feed back to my brain in terms of where my feet are (aka proprioception) can make everything challenging. Sometimes I have to pick up one, two, or three kids from an activity or school at night. Sometimes its raining. Sometimes my super mindful neighbor will park in front of my house therefore blocking out any sort of lighting between my house and my car (now also across the street for extra fun).
It’s a week before Christmas (yeah I’m a Jew but my family celebrates both). I know you folks aren’t being un-kind. I know you have thousands of things that you are trying to accomplish before the day ends versus the five or ten things I’m trying to accomplish. I totally get *you* and I’ve given up trying to assume that you should get *me*, since I don’t even understand me most of the time. Think about how you might feel if you’re world was shut down though. What if you lost all your coordination, balance, and feeling in your hands and feet. What if nobody saw your struggle? I’m willing to bet you might put your phone in your pocket and carefully navigate the isles of the supermarket. I bet you would *never* park across an entryway to a store, or stand in front of me, or stop short, or any of those things. Happy Holidays everybody!