Freedom by definition is: the power or right to think, speak or act as one wants. The state of not being imprisoned or enslaved. To sum up it's bloody fantastic!
I love being able to get up, get ready and go out on my own. I walk along the pathway to my car, get in and then I'm off. Gone are the days when I would have to wait for my mum to finish work and come shopping with me. I am free to do what I want, WHEN I want.
My little car Penny, (I'm probably the biggest Big Bang Theory fan so it's named after Penny in the programme and it's a girl car because it's all pretty and blue) plays a huge part, since learning to drive my independence has expanded. I love just getting up in the morning and driving to college like it's nothing major. It's just what I do.
On friday I kinda got a little emotional driving on my way to physiotherapy. I just felt so in control saying bye to both my parents, getting in my car and driving all the way to Markyate (a journey quite long and one I never thought my parents would let me do on my own!!). I was 'driving' on cloud nine- I felt extremely lucky to have recovered well from a brainstem stroke, firstly. But also the fact that I stuck with learning to drive, passed first time and managed to get a car of my own. Yes, 'normal' people do it all the time but for a stroke survivor who was told she'd never walk or talk again, is pretty big!
Also, physically I'm more confident. Although when I'm shopping, I have a trolley to hold onto but so? I'm walking by myself. I walk all round the huge supermarket, I even go upstairs if I need to. I don't get fatigued as much now, my leg muscles are big enough to carry me round the shop without me having to stop to 'catch my breath'.
And as we probably all know, trolleys have a mind of their own, there always seems to be one with a wobbly wheel... but I'm testing my balance and coordination- so technically it's part of this whole rehabilitation process.
And for anyone that wants to go out on their own but is a little nervous or worried...
- They will help you.
If, like me, you have a weak arm and cannot pack your shopping, they will pack for you. The first time I went to a till and paid I imagined myself having to struggle with it all. But no. All the cashiers that I've been to will do it for you. And they're happy to help out.
- Walk around like you belong.
You have just as much right as anyone else to be shopping in that supermarket. People will look at you and they may step out of your way quicker than anyone else because they assume you can't push a trolley, but it's to be expected really. Just get on with your shopping, don't focus on anyone, do your thing.
Independence, freedom. It's a huge thing. After nearly 4 years I can finally do things on my own again. So it does take time. But believe me, there is nothing greater than when you can finally take that little step on your own. Remember, what may seem small to others, is a HUGE accomplishment for you. Let no-one dull your shine.
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