Friday, 3 January 2014

Lessons From A Wheelchair

The snow devils came once again last night, layering my city in sheets of white, snow upon snow, crusted with a crunchy top layer of thin, crisp ice. The temperature outside, merely freezing for the moment, is at a peak and ready to slide into the depths of arctic chill. I'm sitting here in my living room, looking out my window and thinking about the errands I had planned for today.

I wanted to take my kilt and jacket to the dry cleaners; should have done that yesterday when it was merely mushy. I wanted to take my truck through the car wash, the last few days have seen the Calgary street mud fly up in a concerted effort to hide the blue paint with brown and grey muck; should have done that yesterday when it was merely mucky. I wanted to go to the liquor store and stock up on missing items, bringing my supply to its fully glory and status, as it should be; should have done that yesterday when it was merely yucky.

Even though I contemplate housebound-ness today, I am not truly trapped here. I have, in my first full wheelchair winter, learned how to push on through the drifts, break the crust and force my wheelchair up a slippery slope onto the sheltered sidewalks of most malls and stores. I have learned to glove up and go, despite the dampened chill that inevitably makes its way into my fingers and hands, suffering the slings and arrows of ice and snow on the wheels of the chair. I pop up my front wheels in a mini-wheelie and lurch forward, wheelchair stamping my way through the drifts and drops. I am not trapped; my options are merely less appealing than a trek on a summer's afternoon. All it takes is time and patience.

Wheelchair life has its challenges but it is not completely limiting. I still go dancing. Aside from the Deep Vein Thrombosis, a gift of spending all my time seated, and aside from the shortened stature and low view provided from this vantage, there are not a lot of things I cannot accomplish in the chair. Stairs, sand and narrow doorways are my greatest impediments. Even these roadblocks in my travels can be overcome with a bit of planning and a bit of help. I get around.

Today, however, I think I might stay in. The kilt can go another day. The truck can stay dirty for a while yet. I don't really need more alcohol. All of these things are options, not necessities. I have all I need, and what I want I can wait for. These are lessons you learn from a wheelchair; timing and patience.

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