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Tuesday, August 11, 2009


composition in gray

Yesterday Jr realized his legs aren't working and they will not work any more. He asked me for the wheelchair. He was grateful when he saw it. That was how I wanted him to receive the wheelchair. I have strong suspicion that if I'd shown it to him when I brought it in the house, he'd have said, I don't need no damn wheelchair. He asked for it and it was here ready to receive him. Negotiating the doorway from bedroom to living room takes some skill he'll only get from experience. He has to take his hands off the wheels and pull his elbows in to get through the narrow space. He can make it half way. Then he can't get his hands on the wheels because the sides of the door opening don't allow the use of his arms and hands.

This morning at 10 to 4, I woke up on the living room floor where I sleep, and saw Jr slowly struggling to get the wheelchair through the doorway. The foot rests were off it too, which puzzled me, because I wouldn't have guessed he could take them off, let alone place them together in a corner out of the way. He was stuck in the doorway, half way through, trying to pull with his feet and figure out how to use his hands on the wheels the best he could, which was not at all. I've learned to leave him to figure things out for himself, the way he wants to. Me telling him how it works is just a blur in his head.

He tried to go forward and couldn't. Tried backwards and couldn't. Tried to turn around and couldn't. He sat exasperated, unable to figure out how to get the thing beyond half way through the door. He never called for my help, so I let him figure all he needed. There was a time he was fixed on turning it in the doorway to head back to the bedroom. It started getting on my nerves, and I said, "You can't turn in the doorway. You can go forward or backward, but not turn around." He already knew that. I was barking to hear my head roar. I quit watching and lay back down, leaving him to it. I was thinking if he can get those foot rests off, he can figure out how to get through the doorway. He did. I saw it a good exercise for his mind.

The bathroom has become a dangerous place for him. It's been that way for some time. I keep a plastic container from the hospital by the bed for him to pee in. A chamber-pot commode is in the bedroom nearby. As long as he could use the walker, he wouldn't use either one. It had to be the bathroom. Now that he has a wheelchair he uses the alternatives when the problem of getting to the bathroom and back is solved. That's how it goes around here.

These are just some of the details of knowing Jr that are essential to helping him feel like he's not entirely helpless. He's taken to the wheelchair. He'd been in bed since 4:30 this morning. Around 3:30 this evening he emerged through the doorway with his wheelchair, again taking some time getting through the difficult part, paying attention to it, attempting to figure it out. When he made it through the doorway he needed to turn slightly to the right. He couldn't make the wheelchair turn. He reached down to one of the front wheels and turned it to the direction he wanted to go, pushed the big wheel with his hand and it followed the front wheel. He learned how to work one at the nursing institution. It's coming back to him. The floor is carpeted and spongy, whereas the other floor was hard and smooth like a gym floor, but harder.

Once the major obstacle was behind him, he pulled with his feet and pushed the wheels with his hands, feeling tentatively for what worked best to make it go where he wanted it to go. He went into the kitchen and took out a bottle of ensure and shook it. That was his first food of the day. he drank it down slowly and we talked some. He said he was wishing he could sleep. He lies in the bed unable to fall into sleep.

He said he wanted some ice cream. I went to the freezer and put some frozen yogurt in his bowl and put it on the table for him. Now he can wheel right up to the table. I poured him some milk. I prefer frozen yogurt to ice cream, because I think it's better as food, though I don't know that. Also, I like the taste better. I don't tell him it's something he's never heard of, therefore worthy of suspicion, just put it before him and he eats it and likes it. He rolled back to the bedroom, negotiating the doorway easier this time. Before he got up to get in the bed, I showed up with his cup of daily pills, one of them his nighttime sleeping pill that's such a low dosage it doesn't help much or so it appears.

My friend Lucas Carpenter his here for a few days. I'll step out a couple of hours this evening and we'll meet at Sparta Restaurant and check out the new incarnation of a restaurant that years ago had a steady, thriving business. I've heard over and over the rent is the reason why every attempt to make a restaurant go there falls through. I don't know what the rent is and don't know if it's a reason. Some Cubans tried it with a year's lease, serving beer. Nobody went. Later, some other Cubans tried to make an Italian restaurant. I went twice and they weren't no Eye-talian to it, but the name. I gave them the benefit of the doubt first time, but after second time, that was it. Later, I heard the cook took a course in Italian cooking in chef school. He missed the major ingredient, whatever it is that makes it Italian. It's a German running the place now with emphasis on a German menu. We'll see. Maybe a Thai restaurant is next.

1 comment:

  1. Sorry I haven't connected in awhile. I have been reading your blog but just enough time to read and not comment. Thanks for mentioning my blog so kindly in yours. Sorry to hear Jr. had to resort to the wheelchair but very glad you had the foresight to provide it for him before it was needed. I hope I have as good a friend if the time ever comes. Hope to be in Sparta this weekend and am planning to try and get by to finally meet you. I'll give you a call either at home or at the radio station so we can set a time that's more convenient for you.
    Regarding Sparta Restaurant, hope your experience is better than mine. While the German fare I have tried has been excellent the other dishes leave something to be desired. Have been with my wife and friends and couple of times. Cheeseburger was ok (I can make better) and my friends tuna was just passable. The brat and German potato salad were excellent and wife had a knockwurst recently that was pretty good. Good luck.