When I was in the hospital, paralyzed on the right side, with double vision, right hand bent at the elbow, fingers closed in a fist by my right shoulder- I had a task. It was a “simple” task.

The resident occupational therapist presented me with twelve horizontal lines on a single piece of paper. With double vision, I saw 24. I was to draw a single vertical line through each horizontal line. 12, 24? It didn’t matter. One posed a challenge!

I had double vision, right side paralysis, hand closed in a fist, right elbow bent. It was the beginning of the impossible. I know you can’t move your right side, but please draw lines. I know you can’t see, but please bisect the lines accurately. Simple tasks. Yet, I couldn’t do them. Place these six clothes pins around the perimeter of this container. Simple task, impossible challenge. Lay across this big exercise ball. Lean forward to put weight on the upper extremities. Pick up the scattered bean bags. Simple task, impossible challenge.

Be it in the hospital, in rehab or in life. Simple task, impossible challenge. Be what you were. Be strong. Be confident. Be self aware. Be self assured. Be.

Not since Christmas Day 1995. I’m new. I’m different. I might even be better! But I am who I am.

(Anyone else humming “Popeye the Sailor man”, right now?) Now. Life is full of “simple tasks” that are in no way simple. But I live. Life.

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