Monday, 13 October 2014

African Princess

I had a bit of trouble getting my pants on today; nothing serious, nothing unexpected, nothing dramatic. It was just that incremental, small bit of extra effort that I needed today as compared to a couple of days ago. I didn't put pants on yesterday, so perhaps that is why I didn't notice it yesterday.

Today one of my regular home care workers, one of the good ones, the 27 year old African princess from Addis Ababa, was coming to do exercises. She is a beautiful young lady with caramel skin and perfect teeth, long curly hair and an exquisite figure. She is Muslim, but not conservative; she laughs and smiles at almost everything, despite working many long, hard hours to send money to her family in Toronto and in Kenya. Her husband is back in Nairobi, awaiting clearance to immigrate to Canada and join her.

Getting dressed is a requirement for these exercises. It made me think about what is coming down the line. I began to ponder how I will dress myself when my arms weaken sufficiently that I cannot lift my legs up to put on pants and underwear. What will happen when I cannot roll enough from side to side to inch my clothing past my rear end? How am I going to get my underwear over my feet and up?

These are not thoughts in panic. These are thoughts in planning. If I think about these things well in advance, I will have a strategy in hand and the tools in place to help myself, to maintain my independence just a bit longer. One day, of course, it will all come crashing down. One day I will need help with these most intimate of tasks. This is the kind of thing I have to think about.

Simple acceptance does not come easy. I cannot just say to myself "Oh well; that's how it goes." I may be able to say that to others, to voice that thought calmly in public. Inside, however, there is a much different dialog going on. Inside this dying body is a mind rebelling at each new limitation and failing. In order to manage this process, I need to plan for ways of accepting as well as fighting the changes in my body.

I already have a foot strap, but once my arms are sufficiently weak that I cannot pick up my legs, the strap won't do much good. I have the lift system by my bed; that may be of some use. I may have to learn how to get dressed while fully prone, using the bed to hold my legs and somehow making whatever is left in my arms do the work of pushing and pulling as much as possible.

Or, I may just have to accept the fact that I will have reached the point of complete care. I hope they assign the African princess to look after me. I like her.

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