Fortunately for the giraffe, as soon as the button is decompressed, it springs to life again, its limbs tight and firm again, its little pink body and neck upright. It would take months of gradual recovery--a process I am still undergoing-- for me to stand upright and walk without the aid of assistive devices. It took me from October 8th, 2013 until Valentine's Day, February 14th, 2014 to stand up from a chair without the assistance of another person helping me up. I relied heavily on my arms for the initial push upwards.
Through hard work pushing through pain and the obstinacy of my body with its atrophied muscles and demyelinated nerves I have regained my own super powers. Not X-Ray vision or telepathy or flight, but standing on my own two feet, climbing up and down stairs, showering and using the bathroom without assistance, lifting objects and fine motor skills, and most importantly walking. There was a time when I doubted I would ever walk again, even though as I left Mount Sinai Hospital after a one-month stay Dr. Laura Marcuse told me that I would. It just seemed impossible given my incredible weakness at the time.
If I have learned anything from this whole experience, it is the value of persistence and patience in the face of adversity. For months I had very minimal gains. During my first month, I had a measured grip strength in my hands of ZERO pounds (average for a male my age is about 120). A month or two in I was up to three pounds. Gradually I made my way up into the teens and double digits, and I now have a pretty damn solid handshake. A super power I regained at four months into recovery was the ability to open a pop top on a soda can. Something to be grateful for. Can you imagine what it's like to be that weak? Thankfully other fine motor skills such as typing and using mobile phone devices returned earlier in the recovery process, allowing me to communicate better with friends.
Recently I went out with friends for the first time since I was put in the hospital last October. Nothing special, just an evening of pool and dinner at a Thai restaurant, but man was it awesome to rejoin society! I managed the steps down into the pool hall without any problems although there was only one rail. I had a great time reuniting with two of my old friends. Both had come to visit me while I was in the rehab facility in Rockville, but it's totally different being out with friends on the town than having them visit you when you're in an institution. I finally feel like I'm regaining my freedom and getting back to my life! I'm very grateful.