100 Reasons Why I’m Not A Cowgirl – August 11
My initial post was getting a bit long so I decided to start separating them into separate posts from here on out under a new section of the blog entitled “Journal”. This portion of my journey will still be under “100 Reasons Why I’m Not A Cowgirl” and the next chapter of my life will simply be under a “Journal” heading – or whatever title best suits . As we have seen from this, you never know what is around the bend for your life!
Yesterday, we went out. It was awesome. It was amazing. It was SO MUCH FUN! To most folks it might have looked like a typical Saturday but to me, it felt like Disney World!
I had originally wanted to go to a shopping center near us to walk (or wheel) around in the sunshine and get frozen yogurt, but we called and found out that they did not have handicapped accessible bathrooms that would work for me. I know, I know, most everyone supposedly has a handicapped accessible bathroom but most of them really aren’t.
Fortunately, we found that a mall near us does have not one, but TWO family bathrooms that are handicapped accessible. This is important because it means I am able to drink something while I am away from home and we can actually stay as long as we want (or as long as my legs will allow us).
So we set up a series of chairs to allow me to transfer from my electric wheelchair to a kitchen chair by the front door, and finally to my regular wheelchair which was waiting for me on the front porch (I know this sounds confusing but if you saw it you’d understand why the whole series of chairs is actually easier). We made it down the perilously wet ramp (it was raining) and managed to get into the car and on our way in under fifteen minutes – a new record.
It was wonderful being out riding in a car. I love seeing that I am heading somewhere and the freedom of being able to access things like fast food drive throughs – even though we didn’t go to any. Just knowing that, should I decide I wanted a large diet dr pepper, all we had to do was turn into McDonald’s and order it and they’d hand it to me through the car window! Usually, to get something like that requires far more effort and several beads of sweat these days.
I began to feel defeat when we were unable to find a handicapped parking space. I have a temporary handicapped placard for my car and that kind of space is essential because my husband has to be able to get my wheelchair right up to my door so I can transfer into it using only my arm strength rather than my legs. Looking for a spot became more and more frustrating but we finally caught one after about ten minutes of hunting as a family was pulling out!
We ate lunch in the food court, which was AWESOME! I don’t even remember what I had but it was just getting to eat at a somewhat restaurant that was nice. Katy Rose got Chick-Fil-A, Brady got pizza, and Ricky got Chinese. Oh yeah, now I remember, I ate some of Ricky’s .
I was in my rented wheelchair so Ricky was pushing me around and we were both trying to carry trays while looking for a table that I could wheel up to. Every single one of them were occupied.
I gotta tell ya, y’all think I’m all cheerful spirits and optimism but that one little thing, after feeling like I had overcome so many obstacles to be able to go somewhere, just about cracked me. I felt so frustrated and this inner voice (which I usually keep chained in the basement) said “See? You should have just stayed home. See how much trouble you’ve gone through just to get to go to the stupid mall and now your kids can’t even sit down and eat their lunch because they have to find a table that you will fit at.”
You have that voice too, don’t you? I think we all do. The trick is, rather than listen to it, when it starts chiming in you’ve got to turn around and tell it to sit down and shut up because you’re living your life and you’ve no time for that mess.
I think the moments in our life that are the bleakest are when we listen to the voice, rather than quiet it.
I think the people who are the saddest are the ones who don’t exercise control over their own mind.
At that time, this kind man and his daugther, who were sitting at a table for four, called out to us and told us to take their table as they hastilly cleaned up their things and even pulled a chair out of the way for me to roll into. I nearly cried in gratitude.
It was wonderful.
This is a pic I took of me and Katy sitting at the table. I took it with the front facing camera on my phone and the case is blurry over the lens but I choose to think of it as a heavenly aura ~winks~
We went shopping next and I found a pair of shoes that fit! This is a big deal because due to my fractures, my legs and feet are always swollen and become more so at the end of the day or when I sit in a wheel chair for any given amount of time. Of course, I can only wear a shoe on my left foot but still, I like to wear a shoe from time to time.
Katy Rose pointed out the other day “You know, Ma, this is really handy because if you have any shoe pairs with the right one missing, you can wear them again!”
Leave it to my girl to find the cutest bright sides in any situation.
So I’ve been wearing a Tom’s shoe on my left foot in my normal size and it makes my foot feel like it’s going to bust out of that thing like the Incredible Hulk at the end of the day.
I found a pair of tennis shoes that are slip on (they don’t look like it, but they are) with laces to tighten them up if need be and extremely comfy. I got a size larger than I normally wear and my husband helped me try them on. The sales lady was very kind and helpful. Even after having been sitting up for a few hours (which makes my legs and feet throb and swell) they were still not tight. We paid for them and I changed almost immediately.
I’m thrilled to have these and hope to take my first steps in them when the time comes in a couple of months.
Aww, Christy’s first steps. Again. Lol!
This is a photo of my new shoe on my Bionic Leg, as I refer to it. I am LOVING This brace. It allows me to bend my leg 60 degrees, which is HEAVENLY. I wear it constantly, except for when I take a shower. It is so comfortable that I never feel the desire to take it off, either, unlike my other braces which all seemed to be made for 6’5″ men and kept my leg ramrod straight.
My new doctor said I am free to exercise my legs and even feet, as long as I don’t put any weight on them (this brace won’t let me over bend my left leg) so I sit in my bed several times a day and paddle my feet, rotate them around, do leg lifts, and knee bends as much as I am allowed. I hope this will give me a head start once I am able to use my legs again and will help keep me from losing too much muscle.
This is us at the mall. We did not buy that massive giraffe thing, it was just standing outside the store we were in front of and Katy is never one to miss an opportunity to love on a stuffed animal.
Random pic coming up…
This is an example of two highly trained, very skilled dogs. One is keeping my leg warm while the other warms the bed.
Just call me the dog whisperer.
The Kindness of Others
My family continues to be absolutely overwhelmed by the kindness of others during this. I joked about doing bedside slow cooker cooking in my first post and I did actually set up a station on a reachable table in the kitchen with my slow cooker and some ingredients, but I truthfully haven’t had the energy to do it just yet. I know it looks like I sit in a wheelchair or lay in a bed all day, but the energy it takes to get from one place to another is staggering (and more than mildly annoying)
So when a friend said she was going to set up a meal schedule, my first thought was to toughen up and deal with it myself rather than accept help from others. Not because I didn’t appreciate it, but because I hate for people to have to go out of their way for me.
But then I talked to my husband and I saw how excited my kids got when a friend came over and cooked supper for us and I decided that this was one of the many blessings God was going to teach me about during this time in my life.
I really don’t have the words to describe what a blessing the meals have been to us and I can’t even begin to tell you how appreciated they are. We have them scheduled for two nights a week but there always seems to be a third night, too, and when a meal shows up at our house, honestly it feels like God sent it.
This is definitely one of the most challenging times in my life thus far, but I am gleaning the most amazing nuggets of wisdom from it and each day so many blessings fall into my life amidst the trials and frustrations that I find I’m completely unable to keep gratitude at bay.
Still, If I could take this away from me right now, would I?
Some of y’all might be expecting me to be all noble and say “absolutely not”.
I appreciate your lofty view of my integrity
But if I could stand up right now and feel the weight of my body supported by my legs, if I could walk to the bathroom quietly, alone, and without having to announce to the family what I was doing and rely on my husband to help me, if I could walk out onto my back porch and look up at the sun shining through the trees in my back yard, if I could hop in my car and run to the grocery store on my own, if I could see more than the three wheelchair accessible rooms in my home, if I could go for a walk outside like I love to do when I need to clear my head, if I could lay down to sleep and not be kept awake by slow healing bones and bruises each time I shift – I imagine I’d jump at that chance.
But the beauty of life is that God lays out for each of us a journey, and along the way we must navigate difficult terrains and experience challenges in order for us to be prepared for whatever lies around the next bend – and to eventually be able to navigate the final leg.
And so I don’t have that option. I am on this path and there is simply no easy way to get to the end.
And I have the wisdom to know that this is a good thing….
My car is named Dolly Dolly is sitting outside in the rain right now feeling quite abandoned, I’m sure. Because her seats are too high, I can’t get up in her, much less drive.
But in a couple of months, Dolly, I’ll be back.
You and me are going to go for a spin.
We’ll pick up a couple of kids from school and take the long, meandering, scenic route home.
Because life has taught me over the years that if you only take the shortcuts, you miss the best parts of the journey.
In other news, my book is still debuting in late October and in light of recent events my publisher has redesigned my book tour to be more manageable for me.
My doctor says I should be walking by then.
His exact words were “You won’t be walking fast and you won’t be walking pain free, but you’ll be walking.”
I’ll take that.
I can handle the pain part.
Pain, whether physical or emotional, serves as a reminder that we are alive, and that we still have work to do.
The difference in responses to pain (again, whether physical or emotional) are those who cry out “I’M IN PAIN! I SHALL LAY DOWN AND DIE!” and those who say “I’m in pain, I will do what is needed to move beyond this because I know there is a better day ahead.”
I also have my first television appearance for the book coming up before the book even debuts. Right now that is scheduled for September 15th and I will still be entirely in my wheelchair during the broadcast. The network knows this and still wants me on and plans on working around it. My mother will be flying with me so I can have help, and we are going to drive two hours to the Nashville airport when we go because Southwest flies out of there and they are a blatantly wheelchair friendly airline. I don’t want to risk being somewhere and having a flight crew expect me to climb up stairs or walk down an aisle in order to board a plane because that just ain’t happening. If it was up to stubbornness and grit, I could totally pull it off, but this ain’t about stubbornness and grit.
So see? Even though it feels and looks like I am sitting still most of the time life is still moving on and I’m still bobbing along in the ebb and flow of it all.
…and I’d like to state, for the record, that ever since this has happened, I have not missed a single day of getting dressed, doing my hair and putting on my makeup. I’m pretty sure that seals the deal on me being a lifetime holder of my Southern Belle card!
I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. ~Psalm 16:8