I am so unbelievably excited and nervous to go back home this summer that I added a countdown timer to the top of my blog :-) I don't know if it helps, or makes it worse, but it's nice to know how much time I have left to prepare for the trip anyway.
I know the timer says "Time left to Minnesota", and earlier I posted that I would be going home to Grand Forks, North Dakota. I assure you they are the same place. I was born in Grand Forks, ND, but lived in East Grand Forks, MN. It's a little twin cities type set-up in northern Minnesota, with a river and a state line separating the two. So it's basically all the same place.
I can't help but go over the details of the trip repeatedly in my head. So much so that I could hardly sleep last night. It will definitely be all-consuming for the next 50 days.
Sometimes I am excited and feel strong and confident that I will be able to go without my chair, and other times I get really scared and start to feel the separation anxiety. In reality, I know I can do this, it's not a second thought as to whether or not I am physically capable. The only issues I will have will be the mental aspect, and I just need to start getting myself prepared for that now. I have depended on that chair for so many years that it's a natural reaction to want to reach for it when I get tired or when something is so far away I know it's going to take me a while to walk there. I have to get over that and learn to leave that chair right where it is and just go for it. People walk around with crutches and walkers all the time, and down here in Florida some of them are a LOT slower than me, so I have to stop worrying so much. I'm just so young that I get stared at a lot more, and then I get nervous, and then it's harder to focus on my walking. Must learn to block the looky-loos out.
Yesterday I started off kind of tired and weak with my walking, but I forced myself to push through it. I managed to do quite a bit without my chair like showering, making food, etc. These are things I will need to be able to do quite efficiently before I go. Making food is pretty easy as long as it's simple (easy meaning I don't have to sit down), and showering was fine as long as I have a shower chair to sit in while in the shower. For that obstacle, I will be buying myself a folding camping stool that folds to the size of my hand so I can carry it around with me in my backpack. This will be my shower chair, and emergency place to sit should I be somewhere without its own place to sit down. I know I will only be stronger and more in shape by the time I leave, but I want to be prepared and safe. My entire trip would be ruined should I fall and injure myself. As much as it pains me to even think about it, I am prepared for that, too. In the event that I should fall and injure myself, I will have to rent a wheelchair for my time up there. If the injury is so bad that I cannot manage to drive home, I will have to fly back home and go back up again when I've healed. This is all just plan D, because I know I will not fall.
I've made myself a checklist and will keep checking it and making sure I am fully prepared for the journey. I certainly wouldn't have to do all of this if I were going with my chair, but that's the fun part. The planning and the training are all part of the trip, and that makes it that much more exciting and fun. It's definitely hard work, but I have never been afraid of that!
So, once again today I will be walking as much as I possibly can. I am gradually working my way to not using the chair at all during the day, only at night for late-night bathroom trips. Eventually, I will get back to no inside chair like I was before my last major fall. I am much stronger and more confident now so another fall is a lot less likely, although still possible.
Step count today: 252
Steps I'm behind: 6,915