- Six weeks.... 42 days.... the time frame in which television begins advertising up-coming new programs..... the amount of time remaining in my non-weight-bearing status. A month and a half isn't really that long, but from my perch here on Douglas it seems endless. Little Cuter was trying to get me to focus on the fact that this is the downhill portion of recovery, that every day is one day closer to the end. Of course she's right. Of course that's good news. Of course that's the way to think about it. I just wish I could get away from
- Six weeks.... 42 days.... the end of March..... the snowbirds will be packing up their rental condos and returning to their frozen tundras, the hikers will be looking for higher and less steamy climes in which to climb, and I will be able to walk down my block. Maybe. Unless it stays cool until then it will be too late to put in my tomatoes, and that's a loss I'll feel all spring and summer long. Six more Sundays stuck on the couch watching young men play basketball and wishing that I could put on my own socks. I try to regain the high road, keep my chin up, remind myself that I am here to see the sunrise, but all this sitting around is getting really old really fast.... or maybe not that fast, since it's been 6 weeks since evil visited my family.
- Six weeks.... my birthday and Amster's birthday and the celebrations will be brought to me. No dancing this year... not that there was ever any dancing... but there was always the possibility that there could be dancing. TBG wants to buy me cowboy boots to replace the ones the FBI has decided are evidence in a federal crime but I have to wait until I can stand up and try them on. Delay of gratification is one thing.... waiting a month to buy new boots is torture, pure and simple.
- I am adept at hopping around with my walker. I can get from the couch to the kitchen without a hitch. Take me to the mall, though, and it's a totally different story. TBG parked in the very first handicapped spot in front of Barnes and Noble and we walked to the stationary section, located right across the aisle from the check-out counter. By the time I hit the exit doors I was exhausted, sweaty, and unable to hop another step. It wasn't the length of a football field there and back, denizens, and I was defeated. I tried to laugh at myself, but I was too tired.
- Ramps are wonderful inventions. There's no need to take a deep breath and tell myself that I can jump up an 18" curb. No one has to steady the brake-less walker so that it doesn't go flying away from me. I don't butt heads with the stabilizing human as I make my leap from the lower level to the upper. Ramps obviate the need for all that. But some ramps are steeper than others, and the very steep ones present their own challenges. At the hair salon, at the Tea Room, at a sandwich shop I had to have someone walk in front of me, holding the walker so that it didn't take on a life of its own and slide down without me. I'm trying to be brave, denizens, but sometimes the real world fights back.
- The distance from my bed to the bathroom seems to grow in direct proportion to my needs. The more I need it, the further it feels. Getting back to sleep after trekking there and back presents its own set of problems, but that's irrelevant to distance and probably not all that interesting.
Don't think that my life is all too far and too long, though. Friends have made the miles disappear as they fly to my side. January 8th seems a life-time ago, and my hospital nightmare memories are rapidly slipping into the distant past. High school and college classmates have collapsed the years as they've come back into my life with love and affection. I'm watching the palo verdes begin to flesh out and take on a yellowish tinge, the first step toward blossoming. The weatherman promises that this is the last cold spell we'll endure (cold being a relative term since Little Cuter and SIR have been relishing the 60's during their respite from Chicago's miserable winter this weekend) and I know that my days of moving from Douglas to the poolside are just around the corner. We'll heat the pool and I'll move my physical therapy exercises into the water and my progress will begin to impress the person I most want to be pleased : myself.
I am living each and every minute of each and every day. I am conscious of the fact that I am here to notice the changes in the clouds and the setting of the sun. I no longer find myself wondering where the afternoon has gone; I've experienced the minutes ticking by one by one. Sometimes it's dreadfully slow, but mostly it's blissfully present. Though it hurts to breathe (a bullet separating your lung from your chest wall will have that effect, it seems) it doesn't hurt all the time. Those moments of peace, of respite from the healing pains which annoy me as they reassure me, those are the times that bring a smile to my face.
And smiles are very very good things.... even if they are separated by distance and time, one from the other.