Thursday, 10 October 2013

Get Tested, Get Home

It's a dull, dreary morning here in Calgary, the sky an ashen grey outside my window, the streets dry but appearing damp, the sounds of the cars softened by the heavy air. Even the birds have abandoned my tree this morning, leaving only the rhythmic noise of traffic rolling by to provide a break for the solidness of silence. These are the sights and sounds of a quiet Thursday morning as I gaze upon another day.

It's a blood test day today. I need to be across the street at the blood lab where where once again I will play pincushion to the talented vampires that make their irregular extractions from my now well tracked arm. Yet there is a challenge today, an impediment to my usual ease of progress into my personal torture. My power wheelchair is broken and has been taken in for repairs.

Up until today, going across the street for blood work had actually consisted of two or three separate things. First there would be that which I must do, my required donation for scientific study and testing. That, having taken far too long and yet happening in such quick dispatch, would leave me free with my power wheelchair to head over to the Mall, where the delights of Starbucks and Cinnzeo await. There, with my pinhole poke duly bandaged, I would reward my efforts with something tasty and completely dietarily inappropriate.

Having consumed my coffee and cinnamon bun, in the case of Cinnzeo, or simply a Hazelnut Latte if Starbucks, I would turn my attention to the attractions of Market Mall, making my way through the wandering interior pathways to be inside entrance of Safeway, whereupon I would shop. Mostly I would get the small day-to-day things, a few fresh vegetables, some milk, perhaps a few staples if needed, and then roll over to pay and leave. On some occasions I might find myself at the flower counter, selecting a rose or carnation.

Today this ritual, this series of rewards for the infliction on my person, is at risk. Without my power chair the ramble across the street, through traffic, up and down sidewalk ramps, into and out of doors, becomes not just risky but tiring. While I can certainly do it, the pleasure becomes work and the sensory delight diminishes with the onslaught. Today, it is a task, not a treasure.

In fact today I will most likely use my truck and simply drive across the street. I know this seems wasteful, but I am the one pushing the wheelchair. The slope out of my garage is daunting enough. The risk of crossing the street with wanton drivers paying more attention to cell phones than pedestrians or wheelchairs, the potential for damage; it's a bit much. Yet having the truck will likely preclude the other activities. It's just a hassle. So today it will be simple. Get tested, get home; that's enough for now.


  1. Good blog today. It reminds us of what we take for granted. It shows how you (Richard) are still able the appreciate some of the little pleasures of life, but how easily even those are stolen from you. Will you at least go for a drive? (Do they have drive through Starbucks close by?)

  2. Ultimately I decided to stick with my manual wheelchair and brave the road. I left the truck parked. However when I got home I made a hazelnut latte for myself. I'm not sure when my PWC will come back; I didn't realize how much I would miss it until this morning.