It was snowy and mucky out and as Joe parked the car I asked him if he'd push me into the mall so that my gloves didn't get wet. I know, I know my tires would be wet, but what wheelchair user doesn't know how to roll back and forth on welcome carpeting in order to dry off tires. You see, I had a plan.
When we are on the road, I get a lot of opportunity to push myself in my wheelchair. I've worked steadfastly over the last several months to get my strength up so that I could do it myself. I was worried that I'd loose that strength over the holidays. I've learned that the muscle groups you use to lift weights don't correspond exactly to those you use to push a wheelchair, or at least to push someone of my weight in a wheelchair.
We were to meet friends for lunch and we'd arranged to get there about an hour early so I could give myself a good hour of hard pushing. I was anxious to see if I still had the strength and endurance to do distance pushing, which is, for me, the hardest, even harder than going up a short grade or a curb cut. We were set.
Joe got my chair out and I got in it but instead of waiting for him to get everything else ready, I decided to push only on the outer rim and head towards the mall. We got the last disabled parking bay, the furthest of them from the mall, so it was a fair piece but I headed off anyways. It wasn't steep, but it was a steady grade up and I found my muscles settling into the push and buy the time Joe joined my I was puffing but refused his help. I knew I could easily make it in.
Then we oriented ourselves and headed off. There were a few things to shop for and Joe went to do that as I marathoned it around the mall. Now this is marathon for me not marathon for anyone else. I got up a good speed and luckily there enough stretches that I wasn't endangering myself or anyone else. I did have to steer around fellow shoppers but I managed that.
Of course, there was the occasional jerk in the mall, by the time I turned a corner and headed north, I saw that the next big turn was located by a Tim Hortons. I was motoring by this time, and frankly, had worked up a real sweat. A fellow coming towards me, must have seen the work I was putting in and said, "That doughnut sure has you in a hurry." Well, Ha Freaking Ha. I didn't say anything, not because I couldn't think of anything but because I wasn't there to do anything for anyone but myself. I was there to work my arms and keep my strength up.
I made it more than half way round the mall in about half an hour. It's a big mall. I felt good about it. But it was time to turn around and head to meet our friends for lunch. Joe was buying something so I headed off by myself knowing we'd meet up at the food court.
When we got in the car after lunch I said to Joe that I'd felt like I'd gone on my first run since being disabled. I didn't know that you could run in a wheelchair. But you can.
I just did it.