You wake up in the morning. You can't feel much of anything from your lower back, down the backs of your legs to the soles of your feet. Little by little, however, sensation is coming back.
You reach over the side of the bed and get your back brace. You carefully roll yourself into the back half (your shoulders and hips must stay aligned), put on the front, and fasten all the straps. You swing your legs over the side of the bed and grab the bookcase for support, and pivot your body up, sideways, to sitting. You slide into your shoes, and go make coffee.
Lisa's already left for work. You're alone in the apartment, so you use your walker. You can walk to the kitchen, but it's flat-footed and very slow.
Later, after breakfast and a shower, plus several breaks in between (you tire easily), you dress and put on your ankles braces. (Your ankles are too weak to support a lot of walking.) Figure that all of this, from the time you woke up, takes about two hours.
By late morning, usually, your therapist arrives. You may do some foot-ankle exercises, leg exercises, or balance work. This is important since you're prone to losing your balance, either forward or back. Today you and your therapist will walk down to the lake.
You grab your cane, and leave the apartment. Your therapist will follow you on the stairs, at the ready in case of any problems. The walk to the lake is less than half a mile, all down hill, but it will take you about half an hour, including two or three rest breaks. You'll walk along with your therapist, chatting about architecture, history, politics or science (or political science), or nature, or the weather, and then get very quiet when you need to step off a curb, or cross a street, or walk on uneven terrain.
You arrive at the lake and rest a while. It's a good time of year for these lakeside walks. Almost all the migratory birds that visit in the winter (about twenty-five species) are still here, but most are preparing to depart.
After the uphill climb home and the inevitable forty-four steps to the apartment, it's time to rest. Your back hurts a little and your ankles are swollen, but you feel better the instant you lie down and take your braces off. Before you do, though, check your schedule. You might have another therapy appointment this afternoon. No? Then the afternoon is yours; you can do anything you want as long as it involves staying in the apartment, and changing your position from sitting to standing to laying down every twenty-five minutes of so. (Your back gets achy, your legs get tired, your butt goes numb -- well, the parts of it you can feel.) Don't worry, this is not as bad as it sounds. Think of it as a smorgasbord: you can do a little bit if nearly everything you want to do. And so the afternoon passes.
Soon, Lisa will be home, and you and the cats will do a little welcome dance. Yours will be a very little dance.
Maybe you'll cook dinner tonight. Gauge your energy, though. See what you're up for.
This time of evening, things can start to seem normal again. You can sit and talk to Lisa and sometimes forget that anything is different or difficult. And then sometimes you'll remember again, but count yourself lucky to have someone to share your life with, to take care of you, and people all over the place looking out for you. All in all, you're pretty fortunate.
Hey, it's almost time to take your pills and go to bed!