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Saturday, April 02, 2016

On Dependence and Independence and Gratitude

Jean Sexton muses:

Have you ever wished for your own personalized taxi service? Someone who would pick you up, take you home, take you to run errands? That is pretty much what I have had since getting out of the hospital in mid-January. It sounds nice, but it has its pitfalls unless you are so wealthy that you can afford your own driver.

The people who have been giving me rides are the kind folks at ADB: Steve and Leanna Cole and Steven Petrick. It is hard on the office when I have to be taken to a zillion appointments -- sometimes multiple ones per day. Instead of an appointment taking an hour of "Jean time," it suddenly takes two man-hours. As is typical of many doctor appointments, it may take a couple of hours and that suddenly becomes four man-hours removed from the ADB's ledgers. Some of my appointments have been early in the morning and that is hard because none of us are morning people. (In truth, I am the closest person at the office to being a morning person and those who know me chortle at that notion.)

It isn't just appointments. It is doing "normal things" such as picking up medicines, going grocery shopping, taking Wolf to the vet, and going to events. I cannot drive down to the Coles and go to a play with them. Instead someone has to come get me and then take me home.

We've been figuring out shortcuts. For a while I was so weak that Leanna picked up groceries from a list I gave her. Steve could pick up my medicine. Petrick would drop things by. Now I am up and about and feel normal, so I want to do more. I am grocery shopping and since I am trying to only go once a week so as to not inconvenience anyone, it takes a long time. We've learned that Leanna can take me and leave when she finishes her shopping. Then I can call a Steve to pick me up and take me home.

Independence is a goal I now have achieved as of a couple of days ago. I hated having to bother someone for early appointments, for doing ordinary things. I considered a taxi, but the price is too steep for day-to-day life. I live on one piece of a bus line and the stores I want to go to are on another. Add in the transit time and my cold things would no longer be cold. Back when I started I doubt I could have made the walk from the bus stop to my apartment.

I have to remember how many steps that I have made toward independence. I can lift more than 10 pounds, meaning I can take out my trash (the dumpster lids were above my capability to lift). I can move my chair back out when it "walks" toward the wall. I can do my own shopping. I can actually go to work and accomplish something. And now I can drive.

I have a deep gratitude to all those who have sacrificed their time to take me places. Most of the time it has been someone volunteering to take me somewhere or allowing me to catch a ride to a destination. That is easier for me to handle than having to ask someone to take me somewhere.

Now that I am driving again, I want to keep an eye on my neighbors. If someone is having a problem, I want to be able to drop by and tell them I am going to a destination; would you either like me to pick something up for you or would you like to ride along? Do you need me to walk your dog? Can I help you in any way? Then maybe I can repay all that everyone has done for me and pay it forward a bit.