As of midnight tonight, I am no longer handicapped .
Legally, at least. My disabled parking tags -- the ones obtained after my foot reconstruction surgery in September -- expire today.
This was the first time I'd ever been able to park in handicapped parking, and I have a few observations:
First, and fairly obviously, any joy gained from getting to park up close to the grocery store or other buildings is far, far outweighed by the fact of needing to park that close!
Second, it's come as a surprise that I still have some need for the tag after all this time. Oh, I knew it would be three months after the surgery before I could walk again, but I wasn't expecting that at that time I'd just be barely walking. I thought that once I could put both feet down I'd be up to my old speed in no time. After that, I thought, the remaining months on the tag would just be a bonus.
Not so. Although I'm a lot more mobile than I was before surgery, even six months later, my foot feels far from "normal" (or, as my wife likes to remind me, whatever passes for "normal" with me). It stiffens when at rest and tires quickly when in use, either standing or walking. (No riverdancing yet!)
My mom had similar foot surgery three years ago, and reports that even now her foot is not fully recovered, although sloooooow progress is still being made. We agreed, as veterans of both hand/wrist and foot surgeries, that we'd have our hands operated on twenty times rather than one more foot surgery, if the option were available. It's just a really big deal, comparatively, with lots more pain, inconvenience, and length of recovery.
So, I'm not back to normal, and I'm certain that I could get an extension on the handicapped parking tag if I asked. But... I don't think I will. For one thing, the extra walking will do me good, even if it isn't as comfortable as it used to be.
But most of all, it's my way of acknowledging that I am blessed, very blessed, that the tag was temporary in the first place.