We stroke survivors know that recovery ebbs and flows. Every recovery journey has its highs and lows. But take it from one survivor when I say that I will not let the fear of (literally) falling prevent me from taking the leap.
Last month, I was invited to speak at the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Rehabilitation Meeting in Geneva, Switzerland. It proved to be an incredible opportunity to share my story with stroke rehab on a global stage. And seeing as this was my first time in Geneva, I made it a point to get out and experience as much of the city as I could in the limited time that I had.
On my first day there, I ventured out for a walk around Lake Geneva in the crippling summer heat with one of dearest friends, Megan. Despite the uncomfortable heat wave, we enjoyed a nice waterfront stroll. Approximately three miles, two hours, and 649 gallons of sweat later, we decided to rest our legs at a café and enjoy a well-deserved happy hour on the lake.
Now, being a hemiplegic stroke survivor, I know that I don’t always have the best mobility or spatial awareness. This became alarmingly evident when, as I went to sit down in my chair, I misjudged the distance between the feet of my chair and the stone ledge it was precariously situated on. I tumbled off the chair and the ledge and onto the hard pavement below. I happened to fall - as it seems I always do - onto my affected left side, and suffered a pretty nasty gash on my left leg which bled onto my white skirt. Definitely not the ideal situation
Immediately upon impact, my friend rushed over to my side to help me back up to my chair (which we purposely pushed as far away from the ledge as possible) and clean the wound on my left leg from the fall. Kind of embarrassing for me, but I was thankful to have the support of my friend. And let’s also just say this whole falling situation made me more than ready for the Aperol Spritz that came my way about five minutes later. 😛
Geneva was beautiful, and I’m glad I got the chance to see such an incredible place, despite my mobility mishaps. But falling down is a part of life. We all fall down sometimes, that is unavoidable. But what really matters is not so much the fall itself, but how we respond to the situation.