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March 3, 2014
Life on Planet Kathy
Life in the Snail's Lane
by Kathryn H. Kidd

This week is a momentous week on Planet Kathy. Wednesday marks the one-year anniversary of the day when I got released from the rehabilitation hospital and got sent home to live a so-called normal life.

If I had thought a year ago that I’d still be sitting in a wheelchair at the one-year mark, I would have been  more than a little surprised — but I shouldn’t have been. My chief therapist, Wonder Woman, told me when I got discharged that I’d be spending “at least a year to eighteen months” in my wheelchair after discharge. Being the optimists that we are, both Fluffy and I translated that to mean “up to a year.”

I guess we should have cleaned the wax out of our ears.

Now we’re thinking of that eighteen-month mark, but we’re still thinking of it as up to eighteen months. Wonder Woman never said that. Her words were “at least.” We’re still thinking, “up to.” We are still wearing those rose-colored glasses.

I keep trying to do new tricks, here at the gymnasium we call home. Today I tried to go up our stairway to the second floor. I have not been on that floor for over a year, and I am forgetting what it looks like. I have been doing 20-25 steps per day on a little set of practice stairs, and my body finally thought it was ready to try the real deal.

In my quest to conquer this new challenge, I decided I’d do the first five stairs up to the landing and then take a rest there. Fluffy thought I was being a little optimistic, but he cleared off the first five stairs and he also cleared off the wonderful leather stool on the landing so I could sit on it and rest when I reached that resting point.


First I tried my weak right leg. I got it situated on that bottom step and then tried to get my left foot up there. I was a dismal failure. I landed back in the wheelchair with a plop and sat there to survey the situation. This was not going to be as easy as I had thought.

Then I decided to start with my stronger left leg. My last physical therapist, André, said to always start with the stronger leg when going up and the weaker leg when going down. I decided to listen to him for once, but it didn’t get me anywhere. In fact, I did worse that way than I had the time before. My stair-climbing experiment was not a success.

Twice in the past week, friends have asked me what I do all day. I’m sure they are not trying to be rude. The truth is, just being Kathy takes a whole lot longer than it used to take. I don’t know why.

Here is a typical weekday:

Yes, we are living at a snail’s pace. But there’s nothing wrong with a good snail.

Most people live life in a blur, compared to the way we live it. They watch the news. They zoom back and forth in automobiles. They listen to music that puts them in frenetic moods. Stimuli bombard them constantly.

We know, because we used to live this way too, but my medical adventure and Fluffy’s unexpected retirement from the work force have changed our lives radically in the past year.

Nevertheless, from our vantage point, the snail’s way of life has some advantages. It is not altogether bad to live life from quarter-speed, if you can manage it, which most of us can’t. Even I couldn’t have managed it, if my body hadn’t stopped me in my tracks and managed it for me. Now I have no choice but to live snail-like, one precious inch at a time.

We have learned many lessons in the past year. One of them is this: It doesn’t matter how fast one goes; it only matters which direction one is going. As long as I am going in the right direction, I have an eternity to get there. And because Fluffy has slowed down to join me on the journey, we can enjoy every sublime moment of the adventure.

Copyright © 2022 by Kathryn H. Kidd Printed from