Thursday, May 14, 2009
I really wish I could say that Florida brought my "full-circle". It didn't. Or maybe it did but I expect more out of my completions.
It was fun, don't get me wrong. I loved travelling with my Wife - living out one of my last wishes. It's weird calling it that since I still look and feel good. Even on the worst days I was still alive and kicking. Then again, that's me. There was a screw up with the O2 supplier on, no surprise, the American side of things. I suffered a little but not enough to call the whole vacation over. So I swallowed my pride a little and did the next best thing for my health: whenever there was a wheelchair available (stores, park tours etc.) I sat in one. It's so much easier to use them when I'm thousands of miles from home than to be caught in one here. There's so much less explaining to do and over there I didn't even care to explain. Yes I got looks: I'm thin (that erases the "too fat to walk" excuse), I'm young (that eradicates the elderly reasoning), and I'm smiley (OK, who wouldn't be under the sun?). Being in a wheelchair here is a whole other story. People ask you the most stupid questions.
Exactly ten years ago I had a fairly major surgery that screwed up (completely and totally the ICU's fault: and that's another story). The recovery process lasted 15 weeks, 8 of those I was out of hospital with an open wound. I was told to stay in bed for at least 5 weeks but of course as sson as I could safely sit up, week 4, I demanded a wheelchair so I could at least get back to school. I spent the next month to six weeks (it felt that long anyway) in a wheelchair zipping around Concordia (which by the way is not that accessible). I had acquaintances stop me in the hall and look at me puzzled like I just went through reconstructive facial surgery. Some drama-filled friends/people asked me what the hell happened "to" me. (Come to think of it, they sounded more drunk than drama filled, but those were the days at ConU). Treatment changed - I became a victim in their eyes - something I never ever want to be or ever thought I was.
I don't want the "oh poor you" sympathy. It's not poor me, rather it's poor you that you can't see how it's like to live differently. I recall the gradual process of losing the chair. I graduated to a cane. I felt so free - I could come and go from my apartment, not depending on friend's for rides, or on the special bus. It's then that I felt sympathy for most able-bodied people. Mobile, healthy people don't know the freedom they have to be just that: mobile and healthy. When people give me the poor me attitude, I just think, poor them for not seeing any other way of operating in this world.