We aren’t long distance runners. We aren’t great at jumping. Stairs really aren’t too much fun. The thing is, there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s not easy to do, but I really find there’s an inner satisfaction to be found by accepting our own limits. That doesn’t mean not trying things and just refusing – I can walk short distances, and the odd step or two doesn’t send me squealing into the night – but it does mean you don’t have to beat yourself up over it if something is a bit too tricky
As tough as it can be, try and focus more on what you can do than worrying over what you can’t do. Sometimes you can always meet yourself in the middle. We have stairs in our house, but most of my effort is taken up by walking up or down them. So what do I do when a load of washing needs to go from upstairs to downstairs? What happens when you want to take a cup of tea up to bed with you? What if just coming down the stairs is too tricky?
I find that, for many things, there is a way to adapt and overcome. If I tried, for instance, to carry a basket of washing down the stairs, I’d fall flat on my face and dent the wall on the way down. What’s more, the washing would go everywhere. So what do I do? I put the washing on the landing, and walk down one step at a time, pulling behind be at the same rate. One step down with my feet, one step down with the washing. It takes a while and makes a bit of a racket, I admit, but the job gets done!
I like a brew at bedtime as much as the next man. But if I walk up the stairs and carry a mug, it’s going everywhere. No one likes a mess or a scalding now do they? So I follow the above steps, but in reverse. Climb up one step, but the tea on the step above. Climb one step, one step up for the mug – and so on. It takes a little longer but, you know what? The tea gets up the stairs and so do I. Who cares how long it takes? (As long as it’s still not. Nothing worse than cold tea!
When I was younger, even walking down the stairs was too tricky. But my bedroom was upstairs, so what was I supposed to do? Fly? Get carried? No. I had to adapt and overcome. So, I would do what became known in my house as the bum shuffle. Sitting on the top step, I’d shuffle my way all the way down, one. I could get it going pretty quickly too, in the end, which was great fun so long as you can avoid the carpet burn!
If there’s a way it can be done by tweaking it or changing it, then give it a go – minor obstacles don’t have to hold you back. Just make sure, if needs be, that there’s someone around to help you try, as there’s I can only tell you what has worked for me, and you may be different and I’d hate to think of someone getting hurt doing the bum shuffle.
In short, one thing I learned is that it’s totally OK to not be able to do something. I can’t think of one person alive who can do EVERYTHING. So why should someone with CP be any different?