In the play “Our Town” by Thornton Wilder, one of the characters who’s passed away, returns to earth to relive her 12th birthday. While delighted to see her parents and childhood acquaintances, she’s disheartened how little people appreciate the simple joys of life. She realizes every moment of life should be treasured.
When you’re seriously injured like Rich and I, you instantly realize the difficulty of doing even the simplest tasks from getting out of bed and dressing to making a pot of coffee, vacuuming, bending over to pet a cat, pulling a weed or retrieving the mail. Anything that can be done takes two to three times longer. What we can’t do, we need to recruit others or wait until we can do it ourselves in a few months.
Despite having several people who’ve volunteered to help us shop, Rich and I decided on Saturday morning to do it ourselves.
We carefully strategized, verifying our local grocery store has electric scooters, and discussed options for getting in the car. Around 8:30 a.m., I rolled out of the front door in my wheelchair with my walker, folded on my lap. Rich followed in his walker, after locking the front door.
Using a code, we opened the garage from a keypad. I then got in the car, and backed it out so there’d be enough room for Rich to get in. The next challenge was folding my wheelchair and lifting it into the car. While bulky, it wasn’t too heavy. With that said, we were both rested from a good night’s sleep.
We then got into the car, using our walkers, which were then folded, and placed overhead to the seat behind us.
Once we got to the store, we retrieved the walkers, and went to the back of the car and pulled out my wheelchair. Once Rich got into the store, using his walker, he plopped on a scooter, and I asked the woman at the service desk to stash Rich’s walker so no one would take it.
Shopping was a breeze, with Rich in a scooter and me in a wheelchair. We felt so proud of ourselves… until our groceries were bagged, and we realized we needed to carry them outside. Fortunately, a grocery clerk helped load the groceries, and wheelchair into the car.
With shopping completed, we used the McDonald’s drive-through to order Egg McMuffins and iced coffees. In the past, at least once a month, we’d start our Saturday mornings at McDonald’s before running errands.
Our mission accomplished, we joyfully returned home.
We decided the best approach was to pull the car into the garage, close the garage door, and then unload the groceries into the house. Sounded reasonable, but the grocery bags were very heavy, and carrying one while standing on one leg, and hopping with the help of a walker was exhausting.
Next, we faced the challenge of carrying the large cups of iced coffee into the house. The only option was to hold a cup in one hand with the other hand on a walker, hop on one leg, and then carefully place the cup inside the house, reaching over the two steps into the house.
Getting the wheelchair out of the car and into the house was significantly more difficult than a few hours earlier when we were rested.
Once everything was inside the house, came the task of moving the bags of groceries from just inside the garage door to the kitchen, unloading, and putting everything away in the refrigerator, pantry (by the garage) or bowl on the counter.
Half an hour later, we sat down and enjoyed our McDonald’s breakfast then retreated to the bedroom for a well-earned nap!
Next time, we’ll not take the wheelchair. I’ll use a scooter like Rich, and we’ll put our groceries in more bags so they’re lighter to carry into the house.
Thank you to Jonathan Borba for his photo on Unsplash