Monday, December 28, 2015

Full Stop

Image Description: The words FULL STOP painted in orange on a metalic gray wall.
For the last two days, we've been cosseted in our apartment, with virtually no contact with the outside world. Once the door closed, on Christmas day, behind the last of our guests leaving, a silence fell in the apartment that was profound and deep. We went to bed, that night, full of plans for the morrow.

But we got up, and by 3 in the afternoon, we realized we weren't going to do any thing that was on our list of plans for the day. Well, there's tomorrow. But tomorrow came, and again, late in the afternoon I was still sitting in my housecoat, bundled up, in my chair in the front room. In two days we watched 11 of the LGBT films that Netflix has to offer. Our own little film festival. We watched them, talked about them, ranked them, and, in a couple of cases, learned from them.

It was a wonderful couple of days but, there is always a but isn't there, I kept having a variety of different feelings about the day. Those feelings were as a result of having to push away, or push back, the intense drive to go out, to BE out. I'm not sure but I think there was a kind of fear behind that drive.

The hospital visit that ended with me in a wheelchair started with me in intensive care. I was in a room, with no windows, in a special bed which had an kind of air mattress where air blew, through tiny holes, constantly around me. I used a bed pan, as I couldn't walk to the toilet only a few feet from the bed. The tremendous relief I felt when then came in and turned off the air on the bed and let the mattress settle down so I could get out and, with assistance, walk to the bathroom, was indescribable. The excitement I felt when the wheelchair came into the room for the first time, signalling the opportunity after several days doing little but sleeping, that I was to leave the room I thought I was going to die in, brought me to tears. During those days, I developed this need, buried deep down in my soul, to get out, to go do, to be somewhere, that has never left me.

So for the past two days I've been grappling with that demon. I had nowhere I needed to go and nowhere I needed to be, I simply wanted to be 'in' ... and 'being in' and 'being shut in' are different things. I had the luxury of choice. But I've not chosen like this before. And it was hard.

I realized that disability makes things different - because things have meaning attached to them like they didn't before. BD, before disability, I'd stay in without a thought about it. I would have seen it as simply a decision I made that had no other possible meaning. BD I had never experienced the fear that one day, staying in, might not be a decision.

It's been a great couple of days. I feel right and truly rested. But today, I want to go out, we're out of bread, we need a few things, and it'll be nice to feel fresh air on my skin. But it's my choice. I've not given in to that fear. I see it, I recognize it, and I even respect it, but I won't live my life with it at the till.


It's still my hand that determines the course - even when that course involves a full stop.

1 comment:

Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt said...

Going out is always bittersweet for me. It is physically difficult, and I don't have much energy to do things while I'm out, AND I know I will pay for it with even lower energy for several days afterward.

I do it anyway, but the calculus goes on each time: what can go wrong (no available parking), what will I do if I get stuck, is this outing worth the cost?

I'm determined to do as much as I can to maintain mobility and mental health, but it is usually not worth it.

But if I don't keep it up, the day will come when I won't be able to.

Enjoy your outings - and your staying-ins.

And Happy New Year.