I haven't written about my rehab in quite a while. As the changes become more gradual, as the impairments become less intrusive, I notice it less and less.
When Scarlet wonders if my boots are comfy for walking, I am reminded that this is the first year in five years which has seen me wearing boots everyday. When I scoot out of the Uuvula without raising the steering wheel or moving the seat back or thinking too hard about the transition, I often find myself smiling.
It's the subtle things that being perforated took from me which impacted my life on a daily basis. They poked my heart, reminding me of Christina-Taylor's loss and Gabby's infirmities and my own achy ass. As the twinges become less frequent, January 8th becomes less relevant.
It doesn't become less painful to think about. It doesn't heal the permanent hole in my heart. It doesn't lessen the terror that skinny-white-boys-in-hoodies create in my soul. It doesn't let me sit comfortably in the middle of a crowded auditorium. I'm still concerned about security when I'm in public spaces, it still takes me forever to cross a busy street, but it's not always there.
That's a mega-change. When asked, I'd say that I thought about getting shot and its consequences "all the time." Today, I have to say that I can sometimes spend an hour or two without remembering the bullets flying and Christina dying. I spent a delightful Thanksgiving with JannyLou and Fast Eddie and not once did sorrow darken my enjoyment of the festivities.
It's not that I have forgotten my little friend. That, I am sure, will never happen. Nor have I forgotten the fear and the angst and the pain. It's just that they are moving a little bit to the side these days. I can hold other thoughts front and center without January 8th creeping in from the edges.
Our shooting was still big news when it happened. Now, it doesn't even make the list of Recent Mass Shootings. There have been so many. There has been some change; gun safety is an issue in the Presidential campaigns. Sensible candidates have been elected, and their recalls have been held off. The NRA is not quaking in its boots quite yet, but our side is gaining traction. The cultural changes are still lagging sadly behind. Does NCIS have to show every character pointing a gun at me in the opening credits? Their cast sent us a signed photo and a ball cap after the event. I wish they had taken a look at what they could have done closer to home. I have to fast forward through the music now.
I stood on one leg while moving the other today. I balanced and exercised and didn't fall over. I was scared, but I did it. When the larger world's reluctance to recognize the enormity of the gun safety issue begins to impinge on my sanity, I remember things like standing on one leg. I remember that I can do a plie now, without hiking my hip or hearing crunching and crackling from my joints. Big Cuter's comment that I have more endurance and energy is one that I hold close to my heart. He wants his mommy to be safe and whole, but I'm close enough right now for him to relax and stop watching me out of the corner of his eye.
It's a month short of 5 years since my life was upended. I still have miles to go. I am in pursuit of a fluid gait. I've abandoned the wheelchair and the walker and the cane and the two hiking poles and the one hiking pole and I lost the Disabled Parking Placard and feel no need to replace it. I still can't sit for an extended period of time, but nobody should sit still for an extended period of time. I'm upright and moving under my own power.
For now, that feels pretty good.