Like being in jail

I had this thought the other day: that being a stroke victim must be something like being in jail.

You can see people moving around out there, doing (more or less) what they want, but that freedom just isn’t available to you. You think “I can do that”, but in fact you can’t. You just don’t have the normal amount of “freedom”. You can’t run (my friends tell me they can’t remember seeing me run before, but whatever). You can’t bound up the stairs, or ooze down them without thinking you could fall at any time. You can’t even clap your hands at the school Christmas concert.

I’m not trying to be melodramatic. The stroke victims (and other disabled people) I know don’t whine about their problems, or say “Why me?” They generally seem pretty stoic about their situation – do their 10 or 15 minutes on the treadmill without complaining, thankful they can do that much. Even those who have difficulty thinking and speaking seem to accept what has happened to them.

Be that as it may, in my own case the feeling is that one day things will be different. That we’ll walk out of this jail without stumbling, or be able to kick the soccer ball around with the kids without worrying about tripping over our feet, or use our fingers again without that extra effort required to make them do what we want.

I often see and talk with other disabled people who don’t even have this hope – the hope of being let out of jail someday soon. I’m saddened that they don’t, and thankful that I do.

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