The Decline of the Independence Empire

“Loss is nothing else but change, and change is Nature’s delight” – Marcus Aurelius  

The end of the summer is upon us and fall is definitely in the air.  I know I haven’t published a thing in almost three weeks however I do have eight drafts on the go.  The diversity of topics could confuse the guest announcer at a formal function for multiple personalities so I better get a few finished.  Each is based on recent personal experiences which most people find depressing “small talk” and I can’t blame them.

Many of these personal experiences may be disturbing to some people so I do try to keep these topics out of my day to day chats but at the same time I need to express them.  Those of you out there in the know realize what we are experiencing may sound emotionally draining but try carrying all of that stuff bottled up inside.  So thank you faithful reader, for allowing me the ability to get some of these things off of my chest…

The last two weeks of August were very tumultuous and required some re-examination of some of my core beliefs.  As much as I hate to acknowledge it my ability to maintain my independence may be waning a bit.  For someone whose independence is almost sacrosanct that’s a hard one for me to swallow.  I have been aware of these decreasing abilities for some time now but chose to ignore them.  In retrospect the move from my crutches to total wheelchair dependence happened twenty years ago which is probably the same time some of the doubts I am now facing were planted.

I had a number of incidence in late August that has really brought this home to me.  All of them involved being stuck somewhere without my car and a wheelchair problem.  The last incident involved a flat wheelchair tire.  When you are sitting there with a completely flat tire without my car you can start to feel pretty vulnerable.  That feeling of isolation plus being unable to wheel without potentially destroying a perfectly good $1000 Spinergy Rim wheel was distressing.

Where's the dignity?
When dignity is tied to independence do you stay quiet?

It was probably the first time in my life that I felt truly helpless.  That feeling was fleeting but it had still cracked my psyche.  I have been a survivor for so long that feeling of helplessness was haunting.  After sitting there for a few minutes like an old buck caught in the headlights of that on-coming 18 wheeler it clicked that this was one of those moments when I could actually use my iPhone for the actual phone factor.

Two taxi rides later, trip to the bike store to have the tire pumped up and then back home.  Extra tip for the driver since he was good enough to take the tire into the bike store.  Quick sideline here, I have never used a wheelchair accessible van in Nanaimo before.  A new experience.  The driver was a little unsteady on his own feet (he had the ambulation associated with stroke recovery) which did affect my trust level with him.  It’s difficult to put your own safety in someone who looks a little shaky themselves.

The idea of him pushing me up the narrow ramp at the back of the van was a questionable but unavoidable.  Once in this little “bucket” in the back of the van he attached all four of the tie down on my wheelchair but no passenger seatbelt.  I did feel better knowing my wheelchair would be held firmly to the van while I rocketed through the front window in the event of an accident.

Due to my limited trust in this driver guiding me backwards out of the cab I opted to hop out of my chair, have the driver take out my chair at which point I jumped back into my chair.  When, much to my chagrin, I discovered the tire was, again, completely flat.  However I was home, my car is ten feet away so I dismiss the taxi with, as I indicated, a reasonable tip despite the lack of trust on my part.  His level of effort was well worth it.

As he was driving away I realized it was five o’clock already, the wheelchair shop would be closed.  I VERY cautiously wheeled the fifty feet to my suite pretending to be a surfer hanging ten off the pumped up side of my wheelchair.  It did manage to take some of the weight off the damaged wheel but I’m pretty sure I looked more like a drunk staggering sideways than the romantic scene I had created in my head involving this cool senior surfer.

It took me until the next day to get the tire fixed.  One of my neighbours took it to Motion Specialties for repair then went and did their shopping.  Once they were finished their shopping they picked up my wheel and brought it back, repaired and refreshed.  While the tire was in the shop the tech had called me.

A piece of glass had not only punctured the tire but made its way to the tube.  I know the glass came from the ground in front of the garbage bin.  I had actually taken a picture of that area recently and pointed out to the building manager that broken glass is often scattered around the garbage bins.  I can’t step over it but I also need to take out my garbage.  Anyway Motion replaced the tube and I will keep an even more vigilant eye on the garbage dumpster area.

It’s the simple things that are the first to go…

 

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