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Able Bodied

January 3, 2022

I have one term left at the school of Advanced Bio-Mechanical Rehabilitation. I will write about graduation soon; for now I wish to talk about the difference between being disabled and able bodied. This is, essentially, a transition that I must make at graduation and I will talk of the bio-mechanical aspects of this. I spent the first 28 years of my life in an able bodied body and then, all of a sudden, found myself without so much function that I lost comprehension of what it is to be able bodied. I am then confronted with the question as to what makes one able bodied. Most consider this as the ability to walk, with the ability to perform bodily functions as a second thought, while, in my experience, bodily functions are the first that must be regained. They are intrinsic and it is within intrinsic structure that we must seek the answers to what makes us able bodied.

I am so far from walking and yet feel so close to being able bodied. For too long I lived with catastrophic collapse of the entire body while, at the same time, suffering paralysis from the waist down. Not only was there no hope of regaining the use of my muscles, while in such a condition, I also had little understanding of where hope lay. For nearly five years I wandered in the darkness until I met a gentleman who taught me various eternal truths of the body. I learnt to understand that the structure of my body is not dependent upon the lack of ability to use muscles and so I came to see that the structure of my body could be dramatically improved …..and that’s what I’ve done, over approaching 21 years!

Whereas once I was dead weight, from the waist down, now I have so much levity, from the transformed structure of my head, neck, shoulder girdle, chest and even pelvis, that my entire body has life in it to some degree. Now I can hold my head high, in a purely structural sense, and have so much capacity down to the chest that I’m working on the finishing touches to the structure from the waist up. A little more drawing out of the back, a little more strengthening under the shoulder blades and a little more stitching under the rib cage and I’m pretty much there. The waist down has always been a different story, and in some respects that has not changed, although, even there I have engineered such structural improvement that I truly feel connection through the hip joints and have flow right down into the feet. I no longer live with worry that the flesh of a little toe may start breaking down.

My pelvis has woken up to such a deep level that I’ve embarked on a new phase of regrowing my damaged pelvic floor and left bum cheek. I still want a cushion, but the increased flesh on my bum and the massive improvement in the strength of the lumbar sacral junction, together with greater volume to the pelvis, has resulted in being able to sit so comfortably. To be able to relax, in stature, with no regard for consequences, as those consequences will never be too great, is much of what it is to be able bodied.

Understanding how much disabled people struggle, with the ability to simply be in this world, goes a long way to understanding disability. I’m so flourishing in my ability, to simply be, that I hope, soon, to leave the world of disability behind.

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