Deb Brandon: Living in Radiant Color

Then the Other

I don’t know why I tried. I just did. Heel-to-toe, one foot, then the other, ankles wobbling dangerously.
Did I just say, “then the other”? There hasn’t been a “then the other” in a long while.
I shifted my left foot to the side and turned. “Sarah! Sarah! Look what I can do!”
Sarah, my yoga therapy teacher, looked up quizzically as I tried again. Once more, I held that second step. “I have my balance back!”
Since my first acute brain bleed, I hadn’t been able to walk heel-to-toe. I couldn’t get past the first step without losing my balance.
Here I was. Not only had I made it to the second step, but I was holding it.
Perhaps it was a fluke. Perhaps I was going to lose it, now. Or now. Now? But I didn’t. My ankles wobbling threateningly, I stayed upright, for a second, another second, and anoth— my arms started flailing as I swayed violently. I quickly widened my stance to regain my equilibrium.
Sarah chuckled. “Well, you’re not doing that well right now.”
She didn’t understand. This was huge. “But I haven’t been able to do this in years.”
I was more than seven years past the brain injury and I still couldn’t pass the sobriety test. I carry a note from my neurologist in my wallet, in case I get stopped by the police. The note explains that my unsteady gait is a neurological issue.
I’d come to accept the fact that my balance wouldn’t improve.
I had only recently started yoga therapy. Was that what made the difference? Was yoga going to heal all my residual deficits, or at least take my recovery to a new level? Will I eventually be able to pass the sobriety test?