Sunday, April 24, 2011

Off the Bed and Out of the House

I sit low in the car and stare through the Florida haze. face taut with strain. I open the door a crack, lift my legs with my hands and pivot. My hands grip the top of the door; knuckles white and hoist myself up. My breath is ragged as if I’ve been running. The sliding doors reflect the afternoon sun. One foot in front of the other, I make my way over 100 yards of tarmac and through the yawn of doors. My eyes focus. They are on the left. “The riding carts.” I hobble over to the closest one with a hangdog air, grimacing from the tortuous pain.

Grasping the handles, I slump into the seat. “How do these things work?” Press the on/off button….nothing happens. The machine is plugged in so leaning way back to the side, legs in the air, I yank the plug. Sitting on the cord, pushing the button with my right hand while clutching the lever, I jerk forward, slamming into some shopping carts. Heads turn. I smile awkwardly and stammer, “My first time.”

I have sunk to new depths. I rode a cart around Lowe’s today. Yes, the ones I see at Wal-Mart, and often smugly and unkindly remark to Jim that “the rider” would be healthier walking.

Unrelenting, mind-numbing pain humbles you. Pulling myself, literally from bed each morning groaning and moaning, my knees feel like thumbscrews are being tightened by some invisible force. They pop, swell, and throb. A wimp through and through, I huff and puff like a woman in labor.

Gone are those perceptions of myself as the strong woman striding through the jungle while others fall by the path. Medicare is just seven months away and all those MRIs, PET scans and other acronyms will be possible….. Old is something to embrace… “JUST GET RID OF THIS PAIN.”

I have arthritis. “That’s all?” you say. “There are people far worse off than you.” Sadly, my tolerance for pain is not as tolerant as previously assumed.

A nurse practitioner with a smoker’s voice prescribed Celebrex and something only temporarily for pain, not that addiction tops my list of concerns at this moment.

In the midst of my depression, I started to call a friend that is older by a few years, knowing she would be sympathetic and offer good advice. Turns out she had fallen and broken her femur and is in the hospital. That put things into perspective.