Wednesday, June 16
Life is funny sometimes...so point at it and laugh!
A little levity today...and a lesson in just embracing those less than awesome moments in life, and laughing at them.
I thought I'd share some of the more 'stellar' moments of my life in a wheelchair, just a few, because to try and remember all the times I've looked like a dork over the past 23 years would take me another 23 years.
Might just as well start at the beginning. It was the first time I was allowed to leave the rehabilitation center after the accident in 1987 that caused my paralysis, so I was obviously new to the whole 'wheelchair/spinal cord injury' scene. I was only on an afternoon pass, and this was somewhat monumental since it was my first public outing with wheels. We went to a restaurant for lunch, and ended up waiting in the hostess area for a bit due to the large crowd of Sunday diners. The longer I sat still, not pushing myself around, the more cramped up I began to feel and my legs started having spasms, trying to kick straight out in front of me, but I kept placing my hand on them, holding them down so I didn't freak people out.
Finally, a table opened up and we began to follow the hostess into the dining area, when my right leg had a hard spasm, and kicked out straight in front of me, unfortunately sending my shoe flying across the restaurant, where it less than delicately landed on a table where several senior citizens were eating. Suffice to say they were not amused, thinking I'd done it on purpose. With a red face and a vow to never again venture out in public, I retrieved my shoe, and apologized.
* For those who don't already know this, it's not unusual for paralyzed limbs to have muscle spasms and shake or kick out. Many take medicine to control this, I just deal with it and look at it as "exercise" for my legs.
Obviously I got over it, and even dared to go out into the world again. And a few years later I learned that I didn't even need to leave my house to be mortified.
By this time I was married, and the hubster and I decided to order a pizza from Domino's. My better half was busy when the delivery guy showed up, so- no problem, I grabbed my wallet and answered the door. He turned the box to show me the total due, not saying a word, and then he gestured again and I realized he was hearing impaired...good on Domino's for being an equal opportunity employer! I was feeling a bit of kinship, knowing that he knew what it was like to live with a disability, when disastrously, this was a moment in time when my leg decided to make itself a solo act again, and it kicked out in a rigid spasm, landing square in the delivery man's crotch. I backed my chair away from him at the speed of light, to put distance between his nether regions and my fresh foot, and began apologizing, knowing he couldn't hear, praying he could read lips. I motioned for him to keep the change, a larger than necessary tip, and he didn't argue, just turned to go. I did call the Domino's and asked them to make sure he understood what had happened. The manager on the phone assured me all was well, although we never saw that same delivery man again.
Lastly, just so you'll know that not all of my foibles involve my disability...when my son was small I learned the embarrassing way not to let him walk around naked all the time just because he wanted to. He was so funny, he'd stand there talking to anyone, in all his 7 year old glory, hands on hips, buck nekkid, as we like to say around here.
Around this au naturel time, he'd also taking a liking to crawling into the metal cage/dog crate we used for training our dog. He was combining these two habits one day when the doorbell rang. I can't quite explain to you the feeling that grips you by the throat when you realize that your kid is naked in a dog cage and someone is at the door. Thankfully, it was my neighbor, Waneen (a whole 'nother story) -- and seeing him in that state didn't seem to faze her (if you knew Waneen, this wouldn't surprise you.)
BUT, I did sit down that afternoon and have a talk with my son about being naked all the time and locking himself into the dog cage. I'm happy to report that today he's a healthy, almost 19 year old young man who does not, to the best of my knowledge, run around naked or spend time in dog cages.
Posted by Team Chastain at 11:56 AM