The Choice to Move

What would you do if you were told that you wouldn’t have full use of your limbs tomorrow?

Having a fully functioning body is something that most of us take for granted. It’s something we forget to be grateful for. There are a lot of things we don’t appreciate until they’re taken away from us, whether on a temporary or more permanent basis.

In 2009 I was restricted to a leg cast for 6 weeks during the summer after finishing final year university exams. The novelty of having everyone do things for me wore off after about 2 days. The joy of finally being able to walk unassisted made me empathise with those who are permanently disabled. I finally got an inkling of the frustration my dad must have felt, particularly as he’s also the type who finds it difficult to sit still for long.

Little accidents like the one I had last week continue to serve as a good reminder. It involved quite deep second-degree burns to ¼ of the skin on the back of my right/dominant hand. Due to absentmindedly throwing my favourite Under Armour top on the ground next to me, on top of one of the mini tea candles spread around the edge of a studio as I put my shoes back on after class. As it was bunched up, the flame caught in a couple of different places and one jumped over to my right/dominant hand, melting some of the skin off while I acted quickly to prevent the fire spreading.

I felt fine (it was ‘only skin’) but was talked into going into A&E to be on the safe side. 3 hours of waiting – the first hour was fine, the second hour felt like someone poured acid on my hand, the third hour the painkillers (which I hate taking) finally kicked in. Thankfully all checked out and there was no immediate serious damage to hand function. Until that point it hadn’t really clicked that it could have been so much worse. Yes it is a nuisance – I have to go into my GP to get my hand checked for infection and dressed by a nurse every 2 days. Showering is a nightmare because water keeps leaking through elastic banded gloves and then I have to change the outer bandage with my left hand. Again, a reminder of what my dad would have had to do post-stroke, when he had to relearn how to do the most basic things with his left (non-dominant side).

It’s now itching like crazy because the edges of the wound are starting to scab and heal, but I have to keep it covered longer. It could take up to 3 weeks.  What’s funny is that a lot of people have asked me if it will scar. Honestly? I don’t care. Why? Because having a strong body with fully functioning limbs is so much more important to me than having pretty hands!

What this all comes down to is perspective. Perspective and the choices we make on a daily basis. With developments in technology we’ve slowly gotten lazier as a species. If not mentally then definitely physically.

So coming back to the original question. If you lost the use of one or more of your limbs tomorrow, is there anything you’d do differently today because you can? Would you make the choice to move more? Make things with your hands? Take a walk in the park rather than binge on crap TV?