Get Out

Sometimes good fortune is truly good fortune. A Younger Wells made reservations several weeks ago to visit. I had plans for us.  Many plans. Mostly loose plans. Highly flexible but many plans over a few days. Good weather, bad weather, indoor, outdoor I had plans. Those fell apart rather spectacularly when, well, I fell apart. 

My guest still agreed to visit–much to my surprise, great enjoyment and supremely high-need! He knew what he was in for making the visit even better for both of us. Actually better for all three of us. Even best for AWeb as it gave her a nice break over several days.  I altered our plans to have two rather long outings. One day full of chores, the other full of fun. Voting was top of the list, picking up an order of paint from the paint store was the bottom of the list with many things between. 

I withheld most–ok, almost all–details from AWeb—she didn’t need to know the details as they may have sent her bonkers or resulted in her taking even more time off work. Naturally on my first trip out post-op it rained. Rain is to post-op-crutch-dependent patients as Simon Bar Sinister is to Underdog. I had yet to climb the stairs I had descended a few days earlier with the biggest difference being the volume of medication coursing through my veins. While my trip home and down a handful of stairs to my dungeon is a little chemically-induced fuzzy, I was well aware of the task of climbing stairs and being hauled around in a  bumpy car.  I  smartly loaded up on Rx before heading up and out and away we went. 

Thank you President H.W. Bush

Again I was shocked at the level of attention delivered by my guest as we shuttled around from place to place, errand to errand throughout a few hours. Highlight, bar none, was the trip to my polling place to cast my votes.  How happy was I when I was driving right up to the doorway due to the wet conditions and my lack of experience (at that time) with crutches. How happy was I the the polling place had coffee and cookies in a hallway just off the main drag. 

Riding around the ‘hood for a couple-three more hours clicking off chore after task, errand after duty was a snap. By the end I’d had enough—my leg had bounced around at a bad angle more than anticipated. Actually I hadn’t really anticipated anything; I simply assumed I’d be ok. Day 2 on the road was better in some ways; far worse in others. We had only a couple destinations; based on Day 1 I knew we had no business scheduling more. 

Hardly a body on the mall….
…few bodies in any direction

Cruising around The Mall during the offseason is the best. Easier parking, shorter lines, fewer strangers photobombing your keepsake pics. We settled on 1.5 plans. One-point-five as the point-five needed to be somewhat flexible to my strength and speed at getting around. I did get around and should I have time one day I’ll deeper comment into several pain-points of getting around The Mall with something of a disability.  We completed our agreed-upon plan in the immediate Mall area then headed to the highlight of the day: our pre-arranged tour of The Capitol. I’d arranged to have a wheelchair available so I could survive. Five stars to the office of (my) Congressman Donald S. Beyer Jr. (VA-08) for their constituent services in arranging a 5+ star tour given Congress was out of session and I had a special request. Repeat: Five Star+

Past dusk…..waiting for my ride home
Oh boy…a long crutch trip up a big hill ahead

It was early on I was beat. Actually it was before the tour. We needed to walk a few-to-several blocks from the car to the east side of the Capitol–anyone who’s done that knows it’s a bunch uphill. Fortunately the Capitol Police came to my rescue for the last 100 meters by sending for a Gator to take me to the elevator. Fortunately also I’ve done the tour many several times so paying complete attention was unnecessary. We rolled through the tour in a sometimes empty building, including spending several minutes hanging out in the House Chamber.  Again, my guest was Five Star all the way—getting a wheelchair around the U.S. Capital is not exactly easy.  

I was more than relieved to have survived the day.  I was more than foolish to have attempted the day. I was more than fortunate to have survived the day (really both days) incident free. On the sly I knocked back a couple drinks that night. Well–maybe AWeb knew and didn’t feel up to cracking me for mixing (still a bunch of) meds with a couple drinks. Either way–I needed to deliver a final thanks and toast to my guest for all the work he did, the spend (dollars and time) he incurred only to be faced with mostly a non-vacation vacation. Frankly a couple drinks that night was the least risky thing I did that day or on about three days that week. Here’s my belated toast to hoping he comes back once I’m healed and we can really do DC the way I had planned.