It hardly seems possible that in the space of just one week there should be so much change in my physical ability. Don’t get me wrong, the progress is still gradual – appropriately, the logo of the GBS support group is the tortoise – but it seems to us as though God is answering our prayers and bringing acceleration to this gradual healing.
Over the last month I visited two events, where I was proudly telling people how I was now able to use a wheeled zimmer frame to walk. Although still primarily using a wheelchair, it brought me great pleasure to know that I could get up and walk if I wanted to.
Getting up into a standing position is now easier than ever, and I am now using crutches, instead of a zimmer frame, to stand and walk. I’ve spent the week getting used to what feels like a new mode of transport, and by this last weekend it was definitely true to say that the crutches have now displaced the wheelchair as vehicle of choice. I’m using splints (called AFOs) which fit inside my shoes to counter my floppy feet, and these not only help in themselves, but stimulate all sorts of muscles to reintroduce a normal walking pattern.
Last month I went to Winchester Family Church for the first time since getting ill. At that time they prayed that I would soon be able to walk in, rather than be pushed in, in a wheelchair. So it was great to be able to do just that last Sunday – a real, tangible answer to many of your prayers!
Although not yet discharged, I have been staying at home since Thursday. It’s been like a taster of what life-after-discharge will be like, an ideal chance to get around the initial problems of life at home before I get to them. For example, I have already started to use the stairs: going up on my bottom, and down normally, holding on tightly to both sides! This means I’m now sleeping upstairs in my old room at nights. We’re keeping the downstairs bedroom just in case, but it is great to be able to sleep in my own bed again!
During my stay at home, Mum, Dad and I have gone to meet the rehab physiotherapists at the local pool, and back at the Neuro unit’s gym. The team have taken Mum and Dad through how to help me perfect the art of standing, as well as how to access the various disabled facilities at the leisure centre. I think both sessions have given them confidence to help me in a more practical way.
With less than two weeks until discharge, the things I’m praying for are:
• Safety and normality on the stairs
• My floppy feet – that the splints would work and for lots of muscle activation
• My core – essential if I’m to meet my long terms goals of being able to ice skate and ski
I know there will be a day – I pray it is not too far off – that I will smile upon the excited announcement of my use of crutches, just as I now smile upon the enthusiasm I once held for the zimmer frame. Yet I know the fact of my progress at any stage, whether to a gutter frame, zimmer frame, or crutches, brings God glory.
It makes me wonder how our omnipotent Creator views our wordly aspirations, which, at ground zero, appear so massive, targets almost unassailable. As I, in retrospect, smile at goals achieved, so he must smile at this or that target we humans hold, knowing it is more achievable than we on earth realise. It is, I suppose, a function of being human that we too often set our sights too low. I think the important thing is that, wherever our aspirations lie, that we take Him at His word, and believe that He will come through for us – a simple yet deep trust in Jesus. This, if anything, is what I will take away from my experience of Guillain Barre Syndrome.
C.S. Lewis said:
If we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it seems that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too more weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.
More than the knowledge that I have a story of ongoing healing, the biggest thing on my horizon is, and I hope will ever be, the knowledge of a relationship with the One who is healing me, day by day.