Welcome to your new life

Today, I found myself meticulously planning for a dinner outing with friends at a nearby restaurant, one of my favourites in Surry Hills called “Khois”. While it’s a place I’ve frequented many times, my considerations were more complex this time. I had to think about accessibility, given my prosthetic leg and wheelchair.

This was the same restaurant I had visited a few weeks ago, before I had my prosthetic limb. Back then, maneuvering in and out of the restaurant with only one functional leg was quite challenging, thanks to a high step at the entrance. https://jamesobrien.id.au/2023/08/leave-pass-lessons/ However, feeling physically stronger this time around and equipped with crutches, I was more confident about managing the entrance. Still I had to think things through, so there were no surprises for me or my friends.

“You’re looking so much better,” one of the owners warmly greeted me with a smile as we entered and took our seats.

For a big night out, I also needed to plan so I felt really good (having a shower) and by dressing nicely.

In recent months, during my stay in hospital and rehabilitation, I’ve mostly worn soft material shorts. I’m still figuring out how comfortable long pants will be in the long-term with my prosthetic leg, so I opted for shorts again tonight. I plan to experiment more in the future.

After a week at home, I think I’ve perfected my shower routine. I’ve arranged a shower stool near the shower door, complete with a small ramp for easy access. To ensure a smooth experience, I always keep my toothpaste, toothbrush, and shower gel within arm’s reach.

Safety is paramount, so I’ve learned to sit down on the stool before removing my leg to prevent potential accidents. I carefully place my leg beside the shower cavity and leave the bathroom door slightly ajar just in case I need assistance. Additionally, I take precautions to minimize steam and avoid triggering the smoke alarm, using the shower on the soft setting for a more comfortable and safe experience.

Amid my planned preparations, there were unexpected moments today.

In the morning, someone rang the front door buzzer while I was still in bed, and I hadn’t put on my prosthetic leg. The thought of rushing to answer the door felt daunting, so I decided to let fate take its course. “Let the cosmos deal with it”, I thought to myself.

Later in the day, a friend called to say she was in the area and wanted to visit. I enthusiastically welcomed her, but I knew it meant donning my prosthetic leg once again. It also prompted me to tackle the dishes, which I had initially intended to leave for later.

My good friend has recently returned from Sweden and brought back for me some delightful Swedish gifts.

Among them, Swedish confectionery with just one gram of sugar for the pack—a true diabetic’s delight! She also brought me some Swedish quiz cards, a fridge magnet, and a book “365 unika and roliga uppdrag” (365 unique and fun/enjoyable assignments/tasks) that encourages new experiences every day. And then writing about them, in Swedish. This will keep me busy, and my mind occupied while I remain on sick leave.

The book’s opening line, “Välkommen till ditt nya liv,” translates to “welcome to your new life”. My friend put her arm around me as I began to get a little teary.

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