Thank you for your patience during this uncharacteristically long intermission. We now resume our regularly scheduled program, already in progress.
The day following my free-wheeling, jibberish-hollering, whooptie-do through the winding corridors of my apartment complex, my helper decided that I was a handful too large for her small hands. With her lips pursed into what looked like the top of a drawstring bag, she backed out of my door without explanation. None was necessary. She’d signed on to take care of me before she found out that I would wake up one day with such enthusiasm that I couldn’t help but make her an unwilling participant in my vociferous, unintelligible shout-out to anyone within range. My behavior had been neither demure, nor proper and I couldn’t blame her for abandoning her post. She’d been hired to cook, feed, clean, wipe, tiptoe and silently read. She had no idea I wanted a party!
So I was helper-less. But I wasn’t helpless.
Word spread quickly that I was now a lone wolf in need of a pack. The apartment ladies organized a meal briggade and the guys were handy in helping me out of bed and into my chair. Now instead of one helper, I had more help than I knew what to do with. After just a couple days of all that neighborly hovering, I sent everyone away with huge thanks and a brave grin.
I had a refrigerator filled with fabulous home-cooked meals and I was able to scooch myself in and out of my wheelchair easily. (Remember, I wasn’t paralized … just disconnected between brain and legs.) I was able to stand, sit and scoot myself around fairly well. Little niblets of hair had begun to give my head a good five-o’clock shadow.
I. Was. Awake.
It was August now and the pool below my balcony was busy with swimmers and lined up with swim-suited sun lizards all greased up and nicely frying on their lounge chairs. Sacramento is a heat-lovers’ delight in the summer with its triple digit days and balmy breeze-filled evenings. The pool below was a blue magnet. It called to me.
When I could no longer stand hearing the siren call of that beautiful blue pool, a wild thought flashed through my now tumorless brain. If I could get into the pool, and hang on to the side … maybe I could convince my legs to move. Maybe there was one over achieving brain cell that still knew the Macarena and was able to teach its neighbors. Maybe those legs of mine could dance yet. The equipment was all there. I just needed to turn on the electricity.
The stairway to the pool was just two steps from my door. Literally. Two steps. I wheeled myself to the door, opened it and with a deathgrip on the doorframe, I stood. I was so close to the entry to the pool, I needed nose plugs to keep from inhaling that fresh, cool water. Holding the doorframe with my right hand, I let my left hand flutter to the side of my leg. I patted my leg.
“Left leg,” I said aloud. “Left leg.”
My left leg took a small, halting step. Damn! Hooray for one good brain cell, I thought.
I was now halfway to the top of the stair railing. Just one step to go. Precariously reaching my left hand toward the top of the railing, I bravely let go of my grasp on the doorframe. If this didn’t work, I was about to do a serious taa daa trick down a long flight of very hard cement stairs.
“Right leg,” I quivered, tapping the leg with my right hand.
My right leg took enough of a step that my left hand was then close enough to grab hold of the stair railing.
I did it! IdiditIdiditIdidit!!!
Except now I was at the top of a flight of stairs. I could just as well have been on the moon. There was no way I could “left leg, right leg,” tap myself down that stairwell. So, I did the only reasonable thing for a bald-headed, jibberish-speaking, rubber-legged woman. I sat down on the top stair. Then I butt-scooched my way down those hot cement stairs, across a ten-foot expanse of only slightly less- hot cool deck and all the way ino the shallow end of the pool. That glorious, butt-cooling, leg-encouraging blue expanse of pool.
With one hand on the side and a grand look of relief on my face, I took one big water step to the cheers of an incredulous audience and the crowing delight of my one Amazing, Fabulous, Glorious Over-Achieving Brain Cell.