Humming Thrumming

I knew the day was going to be problematic when I was walking to work today.

I started a new job and it is only ten minutes away from where I used to work. I figured, ten minutes! I can do ten minutes. I can walk that, I can do it, no problem!

Let me tell you, it was a long ten minutes.

I had to stop part way there and sit on a fence that is part of the bridge that over looks the road below me. There was nowhere else to sit, so it had to be there. I had to sit there. It was sit or fall down. My legs were spasming so badly, so intently, that it was sit or fall down.

I felt as if I were dragging rocks, dragging large sacks of rocks instead of my legs and my feet. I was sweating and breathing heavily, the effort to walk almost too much.

I sat on that fence rail and breathed in and out, in and out. I started counting, willing away the tears of frustration over a body that doesn’t want to work right, willing myself to focus, knowing that I was half way there.

One two three four, one two three four, one two three four, one two three four five six seven eight, one two three four five six seven eight….

I stood to walk again, my legs like stilts. I continued to walk, continued to push myself forward. When I got to the starbucks, I ordered my latte and sank greatully into one of the large cushy chairs they had. It was deep and inviting and I could feel my legs uttering a silent thank you.

When I got my latte, I walked slowly, ever so slowly, hoping that my legs wouldn’t react at being made to walk again. My hopes were in vain. I could barely make it to the front of the building, but I did and sank greatfully onto one of the benches there, the sun shining in my face.

I breathed a sigh of relief, sipped my latte, and was happy I had decided to arrive to work early. I could wait, wait for my legs to untangle themselves, to stop their constant humming, their thrumming.

I thought I would be alright for the day but when I went into the building I saw there were no elevators. I had to climb the stairs. I can handle one flight, perhaps two. But I looked up at the six flights of stairs that I had to climb and nearly cried.

Curse the man who invented such a cruel torture as stairs.

I got to the top, congratulating myself silently, thanking my legs for not spasming while I was going

 

                        up

            up

up

 

They were quiet, no elephant legs, no stone legs of the elephant man. I felt him inside me though, felt him wanting to come out, felt him waiting. He would wait until the end of the day to come out and make himself known.

I foolishly thought I would be alright. I thought I would be fine. I had walked to work, I had climbed the mountain of stairs. I would be alright.

On our lunch break, I was talking to a few of my new co-workers. One of the women was talking about a friend of hers who isn’t really disabled, who is screwing the system. I spoke up. “That makes me so mad. They’re giving us a bad name.”

The guy sitting next to her looked at me. “Us?” He asked.

“I’m disabled,” I said. “I have Cerebral Palsy.”

He laughed and looked me over. “I don’t know you,” he said. “But I know you don’t have Cerebral Palsy. You don’t look like you have a disability. You’d be a cripple if you did and you can walk fine.”

“Don’t judge a book by its cover.” I spat out. I was mad, hot mad, red mad. “There are all kinds of disabilities.” 

I didn’t enlighten him the way I had my other co-worker from the other day. I was too mad, to upset. I am not a cripple, but the disability I have is crippling. There is a difference, however subtle. There is a difference.

I passed through the day, made it through, congratulated myself, even knowing that a little part of me, a little tiny part in the back of my head, was dreading the walk back to the buss stop.

But I had conquered the stairs, I had conquered the bridge of pain. I could conquer them again, I WOULD conquer them again.

I am not crippled, I am not disabled. I have a disability that is crippling and I am differently abled.

The spasms started almost as soon as I had left the building and started walking. I knew then that the Elephant Man had lain in wait for me, that he had hidden himself, pulled himself up inside me to wait and to bide his time. I marched on, hoping that I could make it, hoping that I would make it to the buss stop.

I almost didn’t.

I got to the bridge again, that awful bridge of doom and my legs were in horrible pain. I could feel them singing inside the stone. I trudged down the bridge, could barely walk because my legs refused to work. They refused to move the way I wanted them to move, to move the way I need them (oh so desperately) to move.

I was now barely walking, it was more of a shuffle. To keep my mind off the pain, off the stone legs of the Elephant Man, I sang the only tune that came to mind:

Tip toe, through the tulips, past the garden, that’s where I’ll be. Just tip toe. Through the tulips, with me….

I kept singing, out loud and in my head, trying to ignore the pain and the tears that wanted to fall down my face. I made it to the buss terminal, knowing that stairs were coming but at least they were going

Down

            Down

                        Down

 

And I thought I could handle that. My legs had other ideas, other thoughts. I nearly fell, lost my footing and had to grab the hand rail. A man coming down the stairs behind me laughed, then quieted his laugh when he saw I was in pain and went on his way down the stairs.

I thought of swearing at him, but all my concentration was on making it down the stairs, so that I could wait for the buss. When the buss came, I prayed, hoped and prayed there would be a seat available. There was, but someone took it before I could. He was sitting in the seats saved for the old, blind, those with children and those who are disabled.

I thought about pointing out to him that I needed that seat more than he did, that I could barley stand on my own two feet. But then I had a flash of the man from work: You don’t look disabled.

So I just counted and held on to the bar, letting the buss take me home. I counted, knowing that I would be able to sit down soon, that everything would be alright once I sat down….

One two three four, one two three four, one two three four, one two three four five six seven eight, one two three four five six seven eight….

Advertisements

About Jamieson Wolf

Jamieson an award winning, number-one bestselling author. He writes in many different genres. Learn more at www.jamiesonwolf.com
This entry was posted in Muscles, People, Spasms, Walking. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Humming Thrumming

  1. DJ Kirkby says:

    Wonderfully descriptive. Nice to see you like to use the term ‘differently abled’ too.

  2. Sluggerbaby says:

    Hi Jamieson,

    Excellent site – understandable why you needed to step away from it for a while, but good to see you back. This has been on my “favorites” list for a while; didn’t know what had happened.

    I’ve been a mostly-silent member of the Muse Conf. Board for almost 3 years – that’s how I found out about you, and this website.

    Keep up the good work; you are a diligent writer – no doubt you’ll get another opportunity to publish.

  3. Caffey says:

    As being disabled too, one that others don’t see until they talk to me, since I’m deaf, I often too have to ‘confirm’ it, which I don’t anymore. I too say I’m a person first who happens to have a disability. My disability isn’t first, I am!

    Thank you for sharing this.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s