Wednesday, August 1, 2012

I Wish I Could (Living With Cogan's Syndrome)

Early June:

The winter and spring months were trying this year, as I developed Cogan’s Syndrome and became accustomed to mainly indoor undertakings; unable to partake in any strenuous—even normal—doings. It’s now summertime and for most people, there are an abundance of activities to choose from: strolls through the park; jogs along wooded trails; berry picking; dancing at weddings. I also hear the beach is a big hit these days—not with me, however, as my whole body tends to feel like it’s on fire afterwards. Rather than sporting a nice summer glow afterwards, my skin just returns to its ghostly white color. When I was younger, kids nicknamed me “Casper.” So, no, I don’t really enjoy the beach.

What do I wish I could be doing right now as summer begins? I wish I could ride my bike; I wish I could run around on the playground at the daycare with the kids whom I haven’t seen in months; I wish I could walk around outside, enjoying the warm weather for more than twenty minutes, without every ounce of energy being drained from my body. Oh, how I wish.

My hearing loss has prevented me from such things as listening to music, having normal conversations, etc. Vertigo thwarts me from feeling like a normal human being. I want to be able to do all of those things, but feasibly—for the foreseeable future—it’s impossible.

Recently, Sarah and I were driving home from an appointment when I noticed a bicyclist riding by.

“I’m hoping that, at some point,” I said, “my balance will return enough so that I’ll be able to ride my bike. I love riding! It’s so relaxing.”

“Yeah, I know. That would be good exercise for you, too,” Sarah replied.

“Yeah,” I said. “Could you imagine me trying to ride now? I’d get on, wobble around for a minute, and then fall off.”

We both laughed at the thought. It was easy for us to joke about my situation. I even think that at times it’s important to joke around, otherwise I’d be depressed more often than not. Regardless, some days are still harder than others—especially as summer approaches and I can’t do things that I could easily do just one year ago.

Sarah and I go for walks and I try my best to focus on the objects in my view, walking at a slow pace in order to hold back the dizziness. Unfortunately, after just a few minutes, I need to wrap my arm around her shoulder for support—not that the act of holding onto her bothers me. I’m grateful that Sarah is there to help. I thank God for her every day, as I’m not sure how I would manage without her by my side. It’s difficult, nonetheless, to face the fact that I can’t do certain things on my own. I often struggle with the fact that I “need” someone else to help me do something as simple as walking—an aspect of life that should just come naturally.

For now, I’ll stick to things that I can do: short walks; close-distance drives; writing. I’ll continue to hope that someday—soon, perchance—I’ll be able to add more activities to the list.

Summer is here; yet, it still feels like winter to me.

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