Saturday, February 9, 2008

Disability and Dreams

When my level of pain increased and daily functioning became more difficult last fall, I had a dream about using a wheelchair. The chair became an extension of my body and my intention, and I turned, moved, glided as I have not been able to do since en pointe in ballet, or off pointe, completing a row of pique turns, one smoothing into the next. It's probably the same free feeling people get on a bike, on horseback, skating--I don't know since I've had only zero to two experiences with each of these, which were slow going. I was surprised that sitting in a good seat, my pain was no longer crushing down on me but was lifted, away. I moved easily, finding myself among others who also used wheelchairs. The dream made me think, yes, this (mobility equipment) will work.

Last week I dreamed that everywhere I turned in my scooter, chairs blocked my path and I could not get past them or push them out of my way so that I could get to where I was going.

Real experience of my scooter falls between these extremes. I am not pain free, though I experience pain relief. The scooter seating contributes to some new pains, exacerbating the bad pain I get from bad seating while relieving the worse pain I get from too much walking. The difference is that I can do more but I will still hurt; the rheumatologic factor is not something that's predictable. It's a fine balance and a bit of guesswork how much I can do. But I am far more free than I was. There are physical obstacles to getting around, but not usually so bad as the dream. (I have to say that I hate double doors in buildings constructed before 1990. Glass and metal sandwich, and people can't help me if they want to since there's no room for them to stand. Gah.)

What are your dreams about disability or mobility?

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