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Friday
Aug092013

Titanium - My First Real Chair

Sixteen inches. The width of my dining room chairs is sixteen inches. The man's voice had a texture that reassured my choice. I scrolled through the options as he described them. Cherry Red. Azure Blue. Sub-Lime Green. Titanium.

Titanium was more an option than a color choice. It was the option to leave the metal of the core of the chair looking bare - With a coating invisible to others, that protected it from the elements. Titanium makes a statement. It says I am fierce. I am not afraid of the world. Just dare me.

Choosing a chair on a sofa next to a walker, a scooter, a crutch, a stairlift, a toilet riser in the other room, can be daunting. You'd think maybe I would be more confident in taking this step toward mobility, but I couldn't help but feel like a fraud.

Wheelchairs were for people who could not walk at all. Who cannot feel their legs. Who need colostomy bags. I can still lock my legs to stand in the shower. Shuffle my feet with a walker to the toilet. I am the lucky one.

I had not earned the right to the TI Lite ZRa 2 low-profile ultra light-weight chair. That was for others more deserving than myself.

Until yesterday. When I tried to get to an X-ray appointment to determine the placement of the spinal cord stimulator leads in my spine, with nothing but my walker.

There is a delusion that haunts you when you go from walking to a chair. Perhaps it's the 'phantom limb' of mobility. When your brain is so used to knowing it can do something, that you are forced to adjust your thinking to adapt to the newness of disability. Yesterday was my last-hurrah of walking. For now. A reality-check that it should not take ten minutes to do something that usually takes ten seconds. That is how long it took for me to get from the radiologist's door to the curb. A total of twenty feet.

The chair sat on my screen. The voice gently enthused for me with my purchase. As though he had been there before. On a sofa, next to a walker, and a scooter and a crutch. A salesman without the sales. He didn't need to sell me on anything, and he knew that. He had guided me carefully through every option possible. I had no idea about all of the moving parts available, in immobility. Especially the option of Titanium.

My chair is one I am sure others like me dream of. I used to think it was a cool one too when I would see the guys I've worked with zipping around in it. It has bad-ass written all over it. A way of fending off the stares of pity with super-human powers of steel.

I learned a lot yesterday about people who use the chair. I learned that most people in chairs are just like me. We can still feel our legs. We can take a few steps or transfer to a shower. We can move our feet and use restrooms too. We just simply aren't like most people anymore. Which is why there is the option for steel.

The card went through. I closed my computer. And it was done. The official purchase of my first real chair. Twenty-four inches wide, eighty degree angle, Sub-Lime Color Package trim, custom-cushion, and a sixteen inch seat. With a Titanium core.

It was then I realized, getting my first chair felt a lot like getting my first car. I never thought I would have one of my own. But that doesn't mean I don't deserve it.

I will look at this next phase of my mobility not as a step back. But a roll forward. It is an opportunity for me to get from A to B without a Z in-between. I will use energies to heal rather than hinder. And there is no rule that says once I am in a chair - that I can never leave it behind. Except to someone else, who dreams of a chair with Titanium. Just like mine.


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