Last night I had a dream about me regaining my ability to walk. This wasn't the first time this scenario had played out in my mind as I slept, but it was by far the most vivid.
The dream began with me lying motionless in my bed in the middle of the night. Suddenly, I felt a pain shoot down my left shoulder. It was a pain I never felt before and it jarred me from my sleep.
My bedroom was pitch black except for the green glow of the numbers of the digital clock that sat at the corner of my dresser. As I woke to the pain, I looked over at the clock and saw the silhouette of my wheelchair. The pain began to make my fingers tingle. In my mind, I knew I should try to flex my arm or wiggle my fingers, but those actions have eluded me for the past 15 years.
I stared down at my arm for a brief moment and an unfamiliar sensation fell over me. As I looked down on my hand, I focused all my energy to lifting my arm to my head. For a few seconds I intently stared down my arm as something amazing happened.
My entire body began to tingle and my hand lifted up from my bed. I could feel my heart race faster and faster as I moved my arm towards my head. I was amazed at what I just did. For the first time in since I was a teenager, I was able to move my arms. I reared up as I was surprised at what just occurred. I felt the cool breeze hit my cheek as tears rolled down my face.
My entire body suddenly felt different. I no longer felt chained down by some mysterious illness. After I put my arm back at my side, I decided to see how much movement I regained.
I peered down at the red blanket that covered my legs. Underneath the cotton fabric, I noticed that my toes were wiggling underneath the covers. I smiled from ear to ear as I realized that my movement was returning. With my newfound strength, I wanted to see if I could get up on my own.
As if I was experience this sensation for the first time in my life, I slowly sat up in my bed and stared into darkness that covered my bedroom. I wanted to stand up immediately, but I still wasn't at 100%. After a couple big breaths, I mustered up enough strength and courage to stand.
Standing up was an amazing feeling. I could feel all of the muscles working in my body. I was a little wobbly, but I was too excited to care. My life was changing, just as it did 15 years ago. With what little strength I had, I started to walk to my parents bedroom.
The hardwood floor felt so cold as I staggered down the hall. It had been quite a while since I felt any sensation at the soles of my feet. Slowly, I made my way to my parent's bedroom. As I made it to the doorway, I released my excitement.
"Mom, dad..." I proclaimed. "I can walk!"
My parents jumped from their bed and quickly turned on the light. To their amazement, they found me standing at the foot of their bed.
"Gabe!" My mom shouted as she threw off the sheets and ran toward me. "How'd this happen!"
She gave me a huge hug before I woke from the dream. That was the last thing I remember before waking up.
I have dreamed about regaining my movement many times. I have dreamed about being able bodied and doing things from outside my electric wheelchair. But this time it felt different. This felt real. As I was dreaming, I felt like it was reality. The sensations, the images, the happiness. It all felt like it was really happening.
Was it a premonition of things to come? Was it just a fantasy of a future I will never experience? Who knows. All I do know is that I will never stop fighting. I will continue to hope and dream about overcoming my illness and regaining the use of my arms and legs.