My Enabler

Last updated: January 2019

I was recovering from my first major exacerbation and had been bedridden for more than 3 weeks. After being in a coma, I had experienced a fair amount of muscle wasting. I was left so weak that I was unable to even push the blankets back in an attempt to sit up. The doctors and nurses were concerned. I was still unable to walk to the door of my room, the criteria for leaving ICU.

A cure was a long way away

It was a frustrating time because when I first woke up, I thought I was cured. It was the first time in a long time that I was not gasping to catch my breath. Then I realized that the medical staff had stabilized me. My breathing was normal, but I was far from cured. A cure might come sometime in the future but it was a long way from now.

The first tool I was given was a walker. In my quest to leave my bed and the ICU, I needed to use it. Being anxious to get both my mobility back and get out of ICU, I accepted. I looked at that walker and I think I heard music playing in the background. I knew that this was going to be my way out of ICU.

The walker was my new normal

Surely I thought, I would only need to be using a walker for a short amount of time, just until I returned to normal. After all, I was only 60 years old and I was certainly too young to be using a walker. I soon realized that this was my new normal and my walker and I would not be parted anytime soon.

As I walked the halls of the hospital, I noticed the different kinds of walkers and noticed a variety of accessories that could be added to the walkers. Having a basket was only the beginning. There was the possibility of a (coffee) cup holder. A tray that sat on the seat would allow me to carry stuff from room to room. They also have organizer mesh bags for carrying more personal and private stuff like a wallet or bathroom products.

So, I borrowed a walker from the hospital while I was there, but the first order of the day upon my release was to get my own walker. As soon as I got my new walker, I began to accessorize with a cup holder and a basket.

The enabler

My walker gave me back my freedom. Now, I could walk around the block, shop through stores, getting to and from doctors’ appointments without panting or feeling like I was going to pass out.

When I returned to work, my students asked if they could name my walker and they baptized her: The Enabler.

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