A New Set of Wheels

Sept. 1, 2018    A few weeks back, I attained the grand slam of falls, going left, right, forwards, and backwards. My fiercely serious PT wasn’t amused by this story and dimed me to the neurologist. The call to Hanover was taken by the equally serious Neurology Assistant. The Doctor and I might have shared some winks, nods, and chuckles. These two felt empowered to prescribe a walker. A Rubicon is being crossed.  My view: walkers are piloted by the old, the unfit, and the unresolved. In other words, not for me.

The fiercely persistent PT set me up with a house walker. I felt silly, standing there while receiving two minutes of instruction. How hard can this be? For my first journey, I traversed the busy rehab center, maneuvering around patients, equipment, and watchful therapists. I avoided the many mirrors. It was strange to feel safe, upright, and stable. I realized that every lurching step, even with the cane, is an effort focused more on staying on my feet than reaching a destination. The walker solved the problem of safety but incubated a plague of resistant pride.

Midway Airport presented the antidote. My flight arrived at Gate A-16 and I had to connect at B-18. This a long journey. Everyone had a full measure of hurry-up. The river of travelers  parted around me as though I was a stump lodged in a river. I felt vulnerable, urging myself to go faster than I should. My shoulder bag, light when I packed it, banged persistently into my cane and knocked me off stride. Its weight pinged my hips, back, and knees. That walker would be pretty nice right now.  I’m in.

At the medical supply store I got hooked up with my Rollator. (It’s not simply a walker.) While they carved through a forest of paperwork I checked out the other offerings: straddle stools, canes, wheel chairs, support hose, braces. Yup, this my world. Give me one of everything. For now, hold the bed pan.

With the walker jammed in the back of the Golf I plotted my maiden voyage. Somewhere smooth, flat and without judgement. I headed to Wal-Mart. I maneuvered through the aisles nodding to folks in electric carts and wheelchairs while offering a knowing wave to fellow Rollator pilots. I’m amongst my people, the dinged, damaged and infirm. This is a pretty big club at Wal-Mart in Keene NH. And many of these folks weren’t shopping. They were simply in a comfortable place without judgement. Aisle 35 looked to be their farthest horizon. But this script can be flipped. The wide, spinning world can be navigated without judgement if you choose to see it that way. With my Rollerator and a new resolve I’m ready for this larger place. Thanks, Wal-Mart. That was just a fling, I’m moving on. Midway, I’m coming for you.

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