Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Chair

By looking at the title, you would think I was writing about the electric chair. Well for me it might as well be, I'm actually referring to a wheelchair, which for me might as well be a death sentence.

Several months ago my doctor wrote me a prescription for a wheelchair. I had made a joke to my doctor about borrowing a practically antique olive green wheelchair from my church that creaked and clanked so loudly that people 100 yards away were aware that I was coming from behind. The doctor said there was no need to borrow a chair, that I could have my very own, yahoo.

The main purpose of the chair was to have it available whenever I need to walk long distances. Lately I poop out just going grocery shopping, so a trip to a warehouse store, the mall or a large campus would quickly send a circle of stars spinning around my head, and at times a medical crew trying to figure out what to do with me.

Some of you may be wondering what the big deal is. Yes, I know I'm not in it permanently. Yes, I know I'm lucky that I only need it for short spurts of time, and yes, I know I'm lucky I don't have cancer! For me the feelings for "the chair" run deep. I have a sister who was born with Cerebral Palsy, and for most of her life she used crutches to get around. But there were times when a wheelchair was needed. My sister often had major surgery on her legs or hips during the summer, and a wheelchair was needed to get her around. Now being the big sis, I had the privilege of pushing her around. I was her care giver during the summer, and being kids we loved going to the mall. It was only about a mile away, and the walk included crossing over a good sized hill with a paved sidewalk in which I would balance on the back posts of her chair and we would fly down the side of the hill. We had a blast on these trips, I was 12 and she was 8 and we would often push through the mall as if we were parting the red sea. People would dodge us in fear of being crashed into, and we had no fear of being chastised, because who was going to get mad at a 12 year old pushing an 8 year old in casts up to her thighs. These are good memories, but I had a roll to play, and I was not the one in the wheelchair.

For me, I've always been the care giver, the pusher of "the chair", my sisters defender, the healthy one. I was given this roll when my sister was born, and proud to have it. I have known from a very young age how fortunate I am to be able to walk, to be able to help, to be healthy. When I was a young child I always thought I would have a child who is handicapped, because I knew how to do that very well. I never dreamed I would ever have a need for a wheelchair. So here I am, and I can't move forward with this issue. I have two choices, get the chair and do the things I enjoy and miss, or don't get the chair and be stuck at home missing the things I enjoy. The sensible part of me knows what to do, but the emotional part of me still can't move forward.

For many who have illnesses, the difficult decisions, that mountain we refuse to climb are different. For some it may be quiting work, asking for help, using a shower chair, not driving or maybe as simple as using a daily pill box. Each decision is based on our past, our experiences and our individual viewpoints, and these decisions cut down to our very core of who we are.

I know for me this decision means giving up some of my independence, it's admitting I'm weak, it's losing one more thing to this disease that has taken so much from me already, and finally it's losing who I believe I am, the roll I was born into. I'm still no closer to filling my prescription, but hopefully I'll get there sooner rather than later.

Still inspired,

1 comment:

  1. Michele, I hear you loud and clear, when my Hubby took me shopping and to lunch in Melbourne(city) last Sunday, it was just one of them day's, i struggled to stay upright every 5 minute's i felt dizzy & not too good, not to mention i have a full thickness tear in my right hip(painful)need's Surgery, reality yes a wheel chair would have been a better option, but i feel like i would be giving part of my soul away, call it pride or just pure stupidity..But i too was the strong one out of 4 girl's, always' picking the pieces' up and helping...I have a disabled hanger for my car, yet at time's i refuse to use it, the stares of other's an my inability to accept i need this..My Hubby parked the car in a disabled park on Sunday an a guy not much younger than us, said ploitely hey mate it's a disabled park, be carefull the ticket inspecter's are every where, Tim replied we have a disabled hanger. I just felt my whole face flush and wanted to hide under the seat, the guy looked like he felt bad for saying it..I guess i feel i am giving my last piece of independance away and who i really am inside....
    Great Blog Michele..Trace :0)