So, it is a beautiful cool morning with the sun peaking over the mountains. I went outside to take a gander at my flowers and move the sprinkler. It was so lovely that before I knew it I was a pulling a few weeds from the soaked earth of the bed that was just watered. Usually I am not strong enough to pull them, but with the soil saturated, quite a few came up easily. My garden beds are lined with rounded wooden edges and the lawn grows right up against them.
Without thought I moved my wheelchair's controller and discovered I was stuck. No problem-this happens. I shifted into the high torque gear and tried to move. Nothing, but the whirring of wheels. Looking down I discovered that my right front wheel had driven over the wooden edge and was now buried up to the frame of the chair and turned at right angle to the barrier. To add to my predicament the grass was wet and my strong back wheels were spinning uselessly on the slick surface. Now I am seriously stuck.
No problem, my son is in the house and my neighbors are usually around. I reached for the cell phone to call him, after all, I always carry it in my wheelchair's pocket. No Phone. OK, neighbors then. I scan down either side of the street. No one is out and about. I know it is futile to keep trying to rock myself free--a 250 pound wheel chair with one wheel buried in the mud, one slightly in the air, and the other two churning on wet grass all being weighted down by my rubenesque frame aren't going anywhere under their own power. What to do.
So, I sat there for the next 10 minutes, but it felt like an hour. One can't crawl or scoot with only one working limb. How long before my 18-yr old son, who when I last saw him was settled in his room, playing his favorite video game, talking to his girlfriend on the phone, and blasting music, would notice I was missing?
Finally, I saw a car driving slowly down the street. I waved frantically and they stopped. Thankfully, it was a nice couple from around the neighborhood; not a scary character from Deliverance. The man knocked on my front door-no response from son. Then, they tried unsuccessfully to release me. They offered to drive home and call my husband at work. It suddenly occurred to me that my son's bedroom could be reached. Success, my son came out, lifted me upright from the chair, they pulled my chair out of the mud, and I was free.
Such a relief. And a scare. And a reminder of how vulnerable I am when I am out and about. I can't pull doors open, as the recent 20 minutes I spent in the Target restroom shows. With my cognitive 'hiccups' I can get lost walking the dog in my own neighborhood. With an unpredictable bladder and colon, I have to overcome inaccessible bathrooms. I no longer ride the city bus or 'walk' to the neighborhood coffee shop. More obstacles exist; from my MS symptoms to physical barriers, than I any longer have the strength to overcome.
This morning's scare is a reminder of how quickly I can be in trouble. The shoulds are running through my brain; I should have had my phone, I should have told my son I was going outside, I should have known better than to try to pull weeds or drive on wet grass. But, I was only going out to move a sprinkler a few feet and didn't expect the lure of flowers, freshly watered in the early morning morning sun, and the delight of discovering that a few weeds were loose enough to pull.
All is well now--even though my arms will hurt more today and my wheels are caked with mud. Nowadays, I guess I have to plan for everything--even to be spontaneous.