One of the recognised psychological side effects of finding yourself paralysed and wheelchair dependant, and consequently entirely dependent on others for help with even the most basic of tasks, is the feeling of worthlessness and uselessness, combined with the feeling that you are somehow regressed to childhood and your opinions are almost invalid to other ‘grown up’s’.
It feels like everybody suddenly knows what’s best for you, everyone other than yourself.
And you sort of get used to accepting that, at the same time as despairing of the situation.
I went to work yesterday, and for the first time in a long time, realised that people were not only listening to me, but that they thought that I actually knew best.
And of course the best part was that they were right – I did know best ( having done this particular job for 26 years ).
The effect on my self esteem was quite profound. Not feeling like a parasite for nearly a whole day was incredible.
If not exactly hanging on my every word, my junior colleagues and members of the public that I advised on matters of the eye, listened attentively and heeded my offerings and explanations, maintaining eye contact throughout ( always a good sign, that one ).
In short I felt important again.
My staff and colleagues were so very genuinely pleased to see me actually at work, rather than just in work, if you get me.
I got great feedback later on from Scott, Helen, Med and Jaskiran about me being there – ‘as though I’d never been away’ was a term used.
I could only speak to people, not actually perform my ‘job’, as my equipment has not been adapted as yet, but my voice was heard once more in ( my ) practice ..and it felt great.
I explained my situation briefly to those members of the public that I talked with, and was touched by the compassionate reactions of all of them.
Several long term customers/patients came and found me to tell me how good it was to see me back, and it was all I could do not to cry on one occasion.
You could say that I felt loved.
Roll on my next visit, next week.
I have to thank Pia, for insisting she drive her car all the way from Chiswick, where i live, to Staines, at 10 am, then coming again at 6.30 to get me into my car, and follow me home all the way, then get me out the other end…. Is she going to do that for the next 20 years, I wonder?
She is good looking, so I don’t mind, now I think about it.