To say that my life has been different since the accident is an understatement. So many things had happened since then that I never thought would ever happen to me. So many lessons learned.
Last Friday, during my third physical therapy session, I conquered one of my fears--the stairs. Since the accident happened because I missed the last step of the staircase leading to my room, I was in tears when I finally did a lap up and then down the stairs of the therapy room. It was a sort of release. I felt most of my fears melt away after that. I suddenly felt like I could do anything.
Eloisa taught me the technique of how to climb. Going up, it's strong foot first then injured foot. Going down is the opposite. You lead with the injured foot then the strong foot. After she taught me and the session was over, I thought to myself that it would be a while until I tackle stairs again. I need to get used to walking using a walker first. Little did I know that I would be facing stairs not 24 hours later.
Today, I noticed that Hereditary is showing at our local cinema. I asked my mom if we could watch it and she said yes. Since my brother took the car, along with my wheelchair in the trunk, I was forced to use the walker once we reached the mall. My mom dropped me off at the entrance and went to find parking.
Undaunted, I proceeded to make my way to the entrance. There in front of me were the dreaded stairs. There was a ramp right beside them for wheelchairs, but it was long and winding. In short, the stairs would be the directest route to my destination. Unfortunately, the railing on each side was too far apart. I need to be holding on to both sides to be able to ascend.
As I was pondering what to do, a man about my age standing at the top of the stairs said, "Do you need help?"
I smiled and said, "I'm thinking whether to take the ramp."
He smiled back and went down the stairs to stand beside me. "Let me help you," he said.
Making up my mind, I told him to bring up the walker first. Once he did that he returned to my side. I told him that I will be holding on to the rail with one hand and his shoulder with the other. We would ascend the stairs that way. He nodded and braced himself as I remembered what Eloisa had taught me.
With a deep breath, I slowly leaned some of my weight on my injured foot, leaning the rest on the railing and the man's shoulder, and lifted my strong foot up the first flight. Then I pulled myself up, resting my injured foot beside my strong foot. The guy climbed up with me. One step at a time we did this until we reached the top of what seemed like seven steps.
It was heaven. Another feeling of great accomplishment came over me. I wanted to hug the man for his selflessness, but I thought it inappropriate, so I thanked him instead. He said "You're welcome" with a smile. I was filled with gladness.
Step by step, I made it to the movies. We watched. And afterward, step by slow step, I made it back to the elevator and back down again to face my nemesis--stairs. They say God works in mysterious ways because as I reached the top of the stairs, security personnel were all huddled around the bottom of the steps, getting ready to close the mall down for the night.
With another smile, I asked one of them to help me down the stairs. Two actually came to my aid while the others were on standby. It was kind of cute and very endearing. I thought to myself, how can I be scared when so many people are willing to help me?
So, with my left hand on the railing and my right hand on the burly security man's shoulder, I lead with my injured foot. One step at a time, we went down together until I reached the ground. Once more I was able to win against my personal villain.
I thanked the burly man and he said it wasn't a problem. The second man who helped, stayed by my side as I made my way to the street level to wait for my mom to bring the car around. He even got a chair for me to sit on while I waited.
It's moments of selfless humanity that reminds me that most of the world might be a dumpster fire but there are still many pockets of goodness. My heart is full. That is why I'm thankful for my accident. It taught me to smile more. Be happy more. To not take for granted the little things like walking and putting on shoes. Most of all, it taught me the true meaning of being humble.