When you are bound to a wheel chair, everything changes. Each transition, every move becomes an ordeal. What once was routine becomes impossible; what was once common place has to be carefully thought out. What was once involuntary must be planned in advance and meticulously executed. Nobody looks you straight in the eye. They tower over you and talk above you in the space you once occupied. You feel imprisoned, confined within your own frame.
Don’t get me wrong. People in wheel chairs can and do achieve and accomplish just about anything they put their minds to. But now, thanks to an Israeli innovation, we can do the one thing that not even endless amounts of sheer determination could have yielded. Small electric motors built into the braces that are strapped to my legs lift me from my wheelchair. I am standing. A control pad by my wrist allows me to decide when I stop and when I go. The motors nudge my legs forward in succession—one step, then another and another. I am walking, as if in a dream—my dream. But this is real.