Daily Life

Being Physically Disabled During A Pandemic, Part II

So, my first post on this topic was written all the way back in March of 2020, a year ago. Things have changed quite a bit since then. Here’s how.

In those days, I’d just had SDR. I went to physical therapy four times a week, Monday thru Thursday. It was hard but necessary work. Physical therapy was a critical component of my rehab. I was incredibly weak and needed to put my muscles and legs to work. I attended all sessions wearing a mask and washed my hands constantly. For many sessions, I was the only patient in the facility, which put me at ease. Fast forward to a year later, I’ve graduated from physical therapy to personal training once a week. Yay! Still wash my hands repeatedly and wear a mask.

Personal training and physical therapy are very different experiences. I’m still stretching in personal training, but our workouts are really focused on strengthening. I love it! I feel like I accomplish more with strengthening exercises and sets, if that makes sense. Really feels like more of a challenge than physical therapy. I like to view the exercises as mini goals and try my best to reach them. Honestly, I was tired of the same old routine at physical therapy. I mean, parts of it were fun, don’t get me wrong. It’s just that the other parts became really stale, especially for me––I’ve been in physical therapy all my life. So, besides those times when my physical therapist would change it up and play catch with me to work on my balance, endurance, and core, it got kinda boring. Tremendously helpful and important, but stale and boring by the end. Personal training is new and exciting, plus it’s both challenging and fun! My trainer switches up the routines so I work a different part of my body and don’t get bored. I love to see the progress each session whenever we increase in either reps or weight, or both, depending on the exercise or machine. My progress in personal training feels much more tangible. It’s progress I can see and feel. Take a few weeks ago, for example, when I was able to open a very stubborn jar of salsa. I opened it standing up, too! Without losing my balance and falling over. Um, hello! Talk about a victory. I think I was excited about opening the salsa for three straight days. Seriously!

Let’s not forget that this time last year, I was working on using a single point cane outdoors. An extremely daunting and scary goal, surely. Although it’s a year later and I’m using the crutches outside and the cane inside, I’m still really proud of myself for even trying the cane outside. Being proud feels better than say, feeling disappointed I couldn’t master using the cane outside. Even though I chose to move away from that goal, I still conquered a part of my fear. Like, I know I at least tried, pushed my limits, and that’s enough for me. Besides, using crutches outside is wise, puts my safety first, and allows me to be more self reliant. Wins all around!

Last year, coronavirus was rampant in New York City. Streets were eerily empty. Won’t forget that feeling. Won’t forget seeing those huge white trucks parked outside of the hospitals, either. Now that the vaccine’s arrived, there seems to be some hope that the end of this grim reality is near. I’m extremely grateful that I’ve received my first dose of the vaccine, and am waiting to receive my second dose at the end of this month. I was finally deemed eligible. While booking the appointment was a little tricky, my experience of the process itself was pleasant. The people there very helpful and efficient. Personally, I’ve never been spooked by needles or anything, so getting the actual shot wasn’t a big deal. Had some pain at the injection site afterwards, but that was to be expected. I’m definitely looking forward to receiving my second dose. Like I said, there’s a sense of hope. Finally. Hope felt hard to come by this past year. Better hold onto it tightly.