Stared Disability In The Face And I Thought…

Yep... Couldn't do that.

At about 2am, I bolted awake flailing about as hard as I could, unable to feel or move my arms.

Apparently I had just slept on them wrong and they went to sleep, as the feeling came back within about 20 seconds.  And ooh did it come back.  Spent the next five minutes breathing heavy from an overdose of adrenalin and aching arm muscles.

As did my poor girlfriend who was equally startled awake as I was waving my lifeless arms back and forth, nearly whacking her in the head.  It was dark and she had no idea what was going on.  She thought maybe it was a sleep walking episode like I used to have as a kid (and once with her years ago).

And in that sudden, barely half awake instant, you don’t think “Oh, my arms are just asleep.”  You think, “Holy shit!  I can’t feel my arms!  I’m losing my arms!”

They say that when you’re about to die suddenly, your life flashes before your eyes.  The past, that is.  But when you have a sudden non-life-threatening, but possibly life changing event happening, it turns out your future flashes before your eyes.

And was it something like “Oh no!  I’ll never be able to hug my girlfriend again!”  Nope.  It was, “I’m going to have to learn how to eat with my feet!”

I immediately pictured some TV show I saw ages ago about a guy who had no arms and learned how to do everything with his feet.  And, as I’m flailing my arms wildly, hoping the feeling comes back, that’s what I thought.  Eating with my feet.

We always think we’ll be brave and collected when something like that goes down.  And honestly, my girlfriend knows a guy that recently had a stroke, lost all feeling in his legs and collapsed.  Then proceeded to spending 20 minutes dragging himself to a phone to call an ambulance.

That’s “made for TV movie” kind of bravery.  I think you’d need more time for a Oscar winner like 127 Hours.  But 20 minutes should definitely get you a movie of the week on NBC.

In my 30 seconds of numbness, I was about 10 seconds away from screaming  like the new bottom in cell block 5.  I’d like to think that soon after that I would have gathered my wits to obtain help.  Getting to a phone to dial for help (with my toes, of course).

But who knows what each of us would do in that kind of situation?  Guess I’ll have to start sleeping with a voice-activated bluetooth headset on. 🙂

And how was your night?

Phil Johnson

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