Working Through Temporary Disability

Friday was a “red letter day” for me. My right leg is now free. I am out of the cast, out of the boot and learning to be mobile again. Whew, this has certainly been a journey in waiting and patience. Although it is not over yet, I feel I am more than on my way.

It is hard to be disabled in any way. I certainly have much more respect for those that are handicapped full time and contend with obstacles on a daily basis. I have discovered many little things that I had to contend with daily. Here are some of the discoveries I made on this path over the past couple of months.

  • I wish I could put a big X across this photo.

    I wish I could put a big X across this photo.

    Those yellow raised squares at the street corners are awful. Maybe they help the visually impaired, and I am sure they do. They were an obstacle for me. It is hard to get over them with a knee scooter or a wheelchair. Not fun.

  • Signs in restaurants and other places of business, that say they have handicapped accessible bathrooms, have the heaviest darn doors that lead into the restroom. Some of them were almost impossible to open and manipulate my scooter or crutches at the same time. On a good note there was often someone close by to hold the door open for me so I could scoot on into the bathroom. People are kind.
  • Sinks in the restrooms were a good height when standing up but not always so when in a wheelchair. The sinks were often not near the dryers or towels.
  • Trying to get out of Starbuck with the scooter, and a drink was next to impossible without help. That was the one place that I actually had to ask someone to help with the door. The people there were so occupied with their computers they did not even see what was going on.
  • Handicapped spaces are not always near the front door of venues. And…what happens when they are all taken?
  • Some of my friends were hesitant to park in the handicap spaces until I reminded them that this was not about them, it was about what would make it easier for me.
  • Elevator Doors, were either good or too quick to close. I am sure there is a mechanism on them that would help the door be a little slower to close.
  • Even a small step can look giant when on crutches or a scooter.
  • Home Depot and Lowes have electric scooters you can use in the store. This was so easy and convenient.
  • Bed Bath and Beyond also had a wheelchair I could use. I got to the point that if I knew where I was going, I would check on line or call ahead and ask if they had a chair or scooter I could use.
  • The electric scooter was a God send at Zoofari (the Wild Animal Park). I also did not have to wait in line to see the butterfly exhibit. They move the handicapped to the front or near the front of the line.  It was a nice perk, although I paid for it with the renting of the wheelchair.
  • If I had wanted I could have rented a beach wheelchair and gone to the ocean. I did not, yet it was nice to know it was available.
  • lyft_emblemOne of the harder parts of having a broken right ankle was my inability to drive. I discovered Lyft (similar to Uber). It did not matter if I was going a few miles or a distance, all I had to do was make an appointment on my cell phone app. The drivers were never more than 10 minutes away. I met drivers from all over the world. I loved sitting up front and asking them about their lives. Lyft was a life saver for me. I did not have to get bored and rammy at home.
  • I have good neighbors. Kelly would bring her 2 year old boys over and I would have a chance to visit and play. My neighbors on the other side offered to help when they could. I am blessed.
  • I really appreciated all the people who took notice and were willing to offer me help. Just bringing my tea to my seat at the local coffee house meant so much.
  • And here is the biggest one for me to remember, IF YOU NEED HELP, ASK!!!!!!

I know that from now on I will try to gently remind myself to not be too quick to judge why a person is parking in a handicap space. Not all disabilities can be seen. Yes, I will take the time to hold doors open or close doors if someone needs help and maybe even if they don’t. I would like to believe that this is one more reminder to myself to be kind. Sometimes it is about all one can do. Be Kind.

I am slowly beginning to walk. I will be calling physical therapy on Monday to set up appointments. I am ready to progress and move on in my adventure called life. My bike is anxiously awaiting for me to climb on board. And, yes, I am ready to do some hiking. My sweet little Roadtrek is calling to me as well. As I have been learning over the past 3 years, I am taking it slow. Baby steps, one at a time. Patience, patience, patience.

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o-ORIGIN-OF-OK-facebookEverything is OK!!!! I decided to make sure you all know this before I go further into this post.

Two weeks ago I had an appointment with my dental hygienist. I always tell her she better not find anything, when she does a thorough inspection of my mouth. This time, however, she found something on the back of my throat that was enough of a concern that she had the dentist come in and look at it.

I immediately felt a wave of disbelief and fear run through me. Jim died of complications from salivary gland cancer. Even though I would like to believe that would not affect me, well it does. The dentist suggested I watch it. Immediately I called my primary physician. After a visit with this doctor I had to make an appointment with the ENT (ears, nose and throat) doctor.

My appointment was for May 10th. Oh great, I began to have sleepless nights worrying about what this might be. With the help of my psychiatrist, (yes I am on an antidepressant), my appointment was moved up to this past Wednesday.

The ENT Dr told me that he was almost 100% sure that it was tonsil stones but he could not give me  a total thumbs up. I had them biopsy it, painful but doable. Yesterday, Saturday, he called to tell me that the biopsy was all clear. It was a regrowth of tonsil tissue. YAY!!!!!!!!! I am so relieved.

ENT chair

ENT chair

It is interesting to see my reactions to this whole and thankfully short episode in my life. I think I am doing much better with coping and dealing with the grief that surrounds Jim’s death. When I walked into the ENT office and saw the chair in the middle of the room it immediately reminded me of the many times Jim, my husband, sat in that chair. I burst into tears, looked at my friend Phyllis, and said “I don’t want to do this”. I did not expect this reaction from myself. I was surprised at my reaction and relieved that I had a good friend with me to give me a hug when I most needed it.

I hope that the crying effect of Jim’s death will lessen over time. I am always caught by surprise when it happens. Don’t get me wrong, I do not spend my days sobbing in my house, yet in the moments such as this one, when it happens, well it just catches me without warning and I am surprised. I know is part of grief but I really hope it continues to lessen over time.

People are kind. The nurse, patiently waited while I had my few second episode. Then she went on to brief me on the upcoming visit with the doctor. I appreciate that kind act of waiting, because that is what it is. I have experienced this many times since my diagnosis with breast cancer, to Jim’s cancer and then death. That few moments of waiting while I pull myself together is a blessing and a kindness and I appreciate it. Waiting feels like a kind hug or pat on the back and is filled with respect.

 

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Waiting

My last post also addressed the issue of waiting. It is a waiting of another sort. Waiting for my leg to heal, waiting to put the house on the market, waiting until I can figure out my life without Jim and waiting some more. I think this kind of waiting is also a kindness that I can give myself. It too can be a waiting filled with caring. Caring for myself, caring for my situation and being patient until I am fully back up to speed with life. Once I am fully recovered, which gets closer each day, I hope I will continue to carry this lesson in waiting forward with me.

Today I am thankful. Thankful for my health. Thankful for others that continue to love and support me. Thankful for good friends. Thankful for those professionals who support and help me along this path in my life’s journey. And…because it is Mother’s Day, thankful for all the mothers out there in the world who help their children to wait with grace and be thankful.

Today I am so very thankful for my state of health.

 

 

Waiting

images-1I have been asked by a few friends when I am going to post on my blog. Oops, I realize it has been a while since I have posted. I think I have been waiting. Waiting to get out of my cast (remember the fateful fall in the desert), waiting for the next step, waiting to finish the house. Well it certainly looks like I have been waiting.

The work on my house is finished. I have a newly painted interior of my house. My sidewalk and yard drainage is complete and I have a new driveway. Everything that was taken down is back up and the house looks fresh and pretty. Next step is to get my friend and realtor, Barbara, out here to help stage it. Then when I can walk, it goes on the market. Finally. I will continue to wait to see when this all happens.

Yesterday my cast finally came off. Yes!!!! I am in a boot, definitely not as pretty as my casts have been. I am able to practice partial weight bearing for a week and then progress. It was good to see my leg. It has gotten thin. Where did all that Scottish Dance muscle go? I have been promised it will come back.  The first thing I did when I got home was to get a bucket of water and soak that right foot. I have missed it, so I am planning to treat it real nice. It felt good, first time it has had a bath since I was in the desert.

What does one do while one is waiting.

  • Read
  • Discover Lyft. I can go to the local coffeehouses when I get bored at home.
  • Watch good movies.images
  • Read
  • Muck around on the internet.
  • Take photos. I really like this one.
  • Breath and Meditate and do chair yoga.
  • Read
  • Rely on the goodness of friends to get me out of the house once in a while.
  • Watch the finches at the feeder-take pics.
  • Read
  • Contemplate life and other profound questions.
  • Enjoy spring in my yard.
  • Read
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Spring in the Yard, Finch

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Spring in the Yard


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Spring in the Yard

Well, you can get a good idea. It is a good thing I like to read. It has helped to have such good friends close by. Phyllis, Dee and I worked well as a team getting the blinds, mirror and shades back up. Phyllis has been so instrumental in helping me move forward with house preparation. I would not be this far along without her. Thank you Phyllis.

Having only one leg and being unable to drive, has made me revisit the fact that it is OK to rely on other people. I don’t have to do everything myself. There are other ways to approach a project and all of them are good. I tend to want to be extremely self sufficient. It is hard for me to be patient and let others complete a project in their own way and on their own time. I have been learning to sit back and graciously accept help. It helps me to remember to breath and remind myself that I really cannot get up on that ladder right now. My main job is to heal.

I am grateful for all the help others have offered. Whatever the activity, it may seem small to the person offering, to me it is huge and I am warmed to the core of my being by the simple acts of kindness of others.

Excuse but, now I have to get back to waiting. 😏 sad-waiting-for-you-quotes-for-google-plus-2-5990c8cd

 

What Am I Waiting For

Elsie hiding

Elsie hiding

OK, yes, I have been in hiding. This past spring has been hard for me. I decided this year that I was going to stay home and face my grief head on and find life again, not just a little bit of life but life full on. I am not there yet. I am getting closer.

One thing I have definitely learned, since I was diagnosed with breast cancer four years ago is to ask for help. I have continued this theme in my life through all the broken bones and Jim’s cancer and death. Asking for help, I discovered, is a sign of strength. It also reflects a commitment on my part to find the strength to move forward.

My healing team includes Beth (massage therapist & friend), Gayle (acupuncturist & a little bit more), Dr Wright (chiropractor & friend) and the latest addition is Heidi (psychologist). I decided that I was just being blah for too long so I decided two weeks ago to go back into counseling. It is good to have an unbiased third party in my corner.

Heidi wants me to journal. I bet that none of you know how much I dislike writing. Over all my years of adventure and travel, I have often had people say to me “you should write a book”. Well that sounded horrible to me. I have always seen myself as more of a story teller and yet, here I am writing a blog. Hmmm…interesting.

I have not physically sat down and started to journal. I was hiking in the mountains east of San Diego last Friday, alone. The whole time I was hiking I found I was journaling in my head. That was much easier. I saw myself coming home and putting all my thoughts on paper. Instead here I am blogging.

Hiking a Conservancy Trail

Hiking a Conservancy Trail

I made a statement when I was with Heidi that I felt I was waiting, not for Jim but just waiting. It was suggested that I journal about what I was waiting for. As I was climbing that trail this was what I asked myself about.

What am I waiting for?

1.  True Love. (sorry I had to start on a light note. The Princess Bride is a favorite movie of mine.)

2.  A big aha moment. Something that is going to define my life in it’s latest incarnation.

3.  I wait for someone to tell me what I should be doing next. (I know, I need to tell myself)

4.  Smaller aha moments would also be more than acceptable.

5.  I am waiting to feel the fullness and joy of life again. There are small moments but I want more.

6.  Hugs and recognition from friends and strangers. People who will take the time to ask me how I am doing and be willing to accept a truthful answer and then take me to a movie, go for a walk or play scrabble. (just a sampling of things to do)

7.  I am still trying to figure out  when to sell my house. This spring I have been very glad to have a comfortable home to hole up in. Seeing spring in my yard was a delight.

8.  Where is my next trip in my RV. I have not finished thanking my far away friends, although, right now it feels important to stay put.

9.  Sometimes I feel I am just waiting to figure “it” all out. What “it” is, I am not sure.

Engleman Oaks

Engleman Oaks

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Native Grasses

Cactus

Cactus

   More Photos of my Hike

artistsway-250x300There is a beginning of my list. I still plan to journal. I find the free form of journaling a comfort as I just write what my hand tells me to. Have you ever heard of the Book “The Artist’s Way”? This is a very good book that the reader needs to be involved in. I did the process of  journaling three pages every morning for weeks. It was  boring and insightful and I was glad when it was done. I find there seems to be a magic about putting your words down on paper, even when you don’t really want to.  Writing gave a different perspective to my thoughts and feelings.

This blog has certainly helped me see some truths that might have otherwise slipped away unnoticed. I also notice Journeys of Thankfulness helps me keep my heart and spirit open to the moment and is a heartwarming way to keep in touch with friends.

Journey On.