Speaking involved removing the oxygen collar (with hose attached) from my tracheostomy,
attempting to cover the end of the tube coming out of my neck, and forcing air to come up through my larynx and vocal chords. It took effort. At the Speech Therapist's office I tried several times and failed. But I finally came up with my first words: "Hello! I can talk!"
What I intended to say: "One small step for me, one giant leap for mankind!"
(It is a joke, Reader Dear. Only a joke. Please do not roll your eyes!)
|Oxygen collar and hose.|
At the same time, I was learning to walk! My first steps unassisted were toddler-esque: who would know there is such skill involved in keeping one's balance! Walking for stretches down the hall, two nurses followed closely with my accessories and a wheelchair, awaiting the point where I would wear out. And the staff insisted that I could not leave my bed unassisted.
Walking, however, was such a new and exciting endeavor. Please do not give away my secret, Reader Dear. At least once I crept carefully and laboriously to the bathroom (perhaps three yards away from my bed) on my own. (Of course, the rolling stand with the feeding bag had to accompany me, but I managed). It was dragging myself up off of that toilet to stand erect again that nearly forced me to expose my illicit activity. ("No! Pulling on the hand rail is not allowed! You must be able to stand without pushing or pulling!" was preached to me in my short stints of physical therapy ["Well," I murmured to myself, as I contemplated pulling the call bell to summon a nurse to haul me upright and deliver me (with a complimentary scolding) back to bed, "This is an exception!"])
(Yes, yes, Reader Dear...I'll say more!)