Difficulty Level: Beginner

There are things that are more difficult to do now. This is hardly a surprise, it’s a lovely happenstance when your motor neurons burn themselves out and your muscles atrophy. But there are some things it never would have occurred to me would be harder.

Like putting my shoes on. I have no strength in my toes at all, so when I put shoes on, they just kinda curl under when I shove them in. I can’t flex them so set it right, so I have to push on the tops and sides of my shoes once they’re on to get my toes to try to uncurl so I’m not walking on them.

Scrubbing floors is harder, not necessarily because my energy pool is lower, but because I have no muscles in my lower legs anymore so kneeling on the wooden floors hurts. There’s no real padding, so it’s like I’m knocking my bones right on the wood. And then once I’m done with that section of floor, getting up to shift a few feet away is hard because I don’t have the strength to push myself up from a squat, so I crawl on my knees, knock knock knock, and ow. Sucks.

Same for standing a long time. It’s not that my legs don’t have the strength to hold me up as much as it’s the lack of muscles in my feet so I have no padding to protect me. It’s like standing on concrete, even in spongy shoes. After about an hour or so, it’s not that I’m muscle fatigued from walking around, I have to stop because my freakin’ FEET hurt.

I’m also finding it hard to stop short, when walking. My toes have no strength to balance me out. So when I walk up to the elevators, I have to make a lot of little cha-cha steps when I stop in order to not fall over. It’s easier now with the cane, but it’s still weird.

Maneuvering in the hallways at Intel has always been hard. There are a TON of very…..self-involved engineers here. There are the ones looking at their phones walking on a direct collision course with you. There are the ones gathering in clusters right around the corner so you crash into them when you turn. There are the groups of them walking three people across down the halls, leaving you LITERALLY no way to walk around them, so you wind up just standing there, waiting for them to either physically crash into you, or notice you and pull the cluster a little tighter to squeeze by you as you’re hugging the wall.

Walking through work now is like dancing in a minefield. I have to be vigilant at all times because if I get bumped into, I’m going down. I can’t quickly sidestep someone turning the corner too sharply. In the cafe, when someone stops short, I can’t avoid crashing in to them. So I advance cautiously, looking for potential problems, and keep a two person length in front of me at all times. I have become the granny driver of walking in the cafe.

I didn’t foresee any of this. When they tell you that you’re going to lose strength in your legs, you think “walking is going to be harder, going up stairs will be nearly impossible.” You don’t think “I can’t squat down to tie my shoes ever again”. Or any of the things above. It’s a bizarre safari of self discovery, and it’s not even upsetting, not really, not OH WHY ME I CAN’T KNEEL ON THE FLOORS TO SCRUB UP CAT PUKE ANYMORE”, it’s just been, “Huh. Okay. So that doesn’t work anymore.” and working out what to do instead.

Milk crates. Milk crates are what you do instead. Milk crates are my friend. You just park your butt on it, and lean over for scrubbing the floor, or sifting the litterbox, or tying your boots. Milk crates are awesome. They used to be book shelves, then moving boxes, now they’re butt support. Universal problem solvers.

Eventually I won’t have to worry about any of this stuff. I’ll be in a chair, and I’ll just run over the engineers who get in my way. There won’t be a balancing act when stopping short, just brakes. I’ll be sitting when doing the cooking. And the floors…well, someone else will probably have to deal with that. Problem solved for ME, either way. But it’s interesting, finding out these little things that no longer work.

One thought on “Difficulty Level: Beginner

  1. The things we all take for granted are simply stunning. I for one will never take for granted any part of my existence.

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