Since I no longer travel extensive road trips, I’ve cut the question: “Are we there yet?” (Although you can still catch me muttering, “I have to use the bathroom.” But that is a different story.) The newly and often mentioned phrase is not said by me, but by Mom. The outing routine is much the same—get me down the set of stairs to the garage, guide me by the elbow to the passenger’s seat and be sure I make the car seating, as I ungracefully flop down and hoist my legs in. Depending on what jacket I wear or hand function that day, I may need help buckling my seatbelt. After I am set, the purse and my “extra needs” bag is piled in, walker to the trunk, and anything the driver needs is checked before take-off. Then we go!
Getting out of the house is becoming more difficult; even simple errands can take longer periods of time…shopping we plan a few hours. I have not been out much (besides to Beans for coffee and chats) since the beginning of December. Winter is much harder and we have not even had hardly any snow…but the cold and early darkness only add to my hand and eye conditions. I also lack confidence in my bowels these days. So, often I remain home. I am comfortable, but I don’t think it is healthy to remain comfortable in lack of confidence, focusing on myself.
Now that Marcia has a new place, she wanted us to come over. Mom and I did typical take-off procedures (modified) and ran two drive-up window errands before heading across town. The plan was a late lunch at Panera Bread and then rendezvous to her place. We parked and Mom placed the handicap sign, turning to me, she states her question in confidence statement: “I hope the walker is in the trunk.”
I usually don’t say anything in reply, other than a confident, “I am sure it is,” sort of head nod. Maybe it was the fact I was having a harder physical day or the fact that I had to use the bathroom-I responded, “If we don’t, then I don’t know what I’ll do…” and made a dumbfounded expression on my face.
Mom gets out and I see the trunk open as I grab my purse and hoist my legs back out of the car. In anticipated motion, I glance out towards the back of the car, expecting to see walker wheels floating in my direction to carry me off into Panera Bread Wonderland full of soups and sandwiches. Instead, I saw Mom’s cute, black slip-on shoes. My mind goes blank. I look up and see her tell Marcia, who had just arrived, “We forgot the walker.”
I have no idea how my face must have looked, as far as expression, but I simply ask, “How are we going to do this?” Like the answer isn’t already obvious—walk. Marcia and Mom help me out of the car, each having an elbow. As Marcia closes the car door, I start laughing. I even raise my right arm like it is a victory stunt and blurt out, “What a great blog entry!!” As if the world needs to share in the faux pas.
You might be asking, “How did you miss the walker?” Easy…as anyone else falling into routine of normality and forgetting something–phone, wallet, house key. You don’t realize it until you need it. My case may be a bit extreme, but it makes sense and was bound to happen at some point. I have two walkers, one for the house and one for the garage. If the garage walker is not in the car trunk then it is placed by the stairs, making a tight squeeze past it to my passenger seat. If it is not there, it was left in the trunk from the last outing. Yesterday as we ate, I got to thinking…the walker was not by the stairs. Can’t blame us for assuming normality.
I am honest when I say this—although it made the night interesting and I doubted my feet and balance in the dark, I cannot imagine a better timing for it to happen. It forced me to focus on trusting my family more and enjoying the times together…making new memories. So often my health stories are not joyous, but this one is worth sharing in laughter.