Sunday, June 08, 2008

Paying the Price

One of the aspects of having multiple medical issues that I just can’t seem to come to terms with is that I now have to pay a price for doing normal everyday activities.

After being cooped up for the last two weeks battling an infection, I’d reached my tolerance of staring at the same walls all the time and needed to get out and see something -- anything -- different.

The HipHubby and I had been talking about going down to check out the Boardwalk in downtown Christiansted, so we headed there first. It’s not a bad place to take a stroll and look at the boats, but it’s definitely geared to tourist trade -- unless you’re interested in getting a meal or doing shopping for souvenirs or jewelry, there isn’t much else to do. We did spend quite a bit of time watching the critters that live in a shallow reef adjacent to the boardwalk -- there were some gorgeous, brightly colored crabs and oodles of tropical fish, including a pair of stunning bright blue fish that looked like a saltwater version of carp that were at least three feet long. Although the HH pushed me a great deal of the time (the power-assist aspect of my chair is dead, making it a 70 pound manual chair), I did self-propel quite a bit across the bumpy boards

After our stroll on the Boardwalk, I decided we should hit the “good” KMart and pick up a few things we need to put the house on the market. So across the island we went, where I proceeded to wheel myself around the store while we shopped. Fortunately, there wasn’t much on our list, so we were in and out in under an hour and then on our way home.

This little outing, which only lasted a few hours, has now cost me two days of extra sleep and more pain than I’ve had in the last two months.

It’s frustrating that just being normal comes with such a high price tag attached. It’s embarrassing and annoying to have to figure in large recovery periods for simply taking part if your own life. Not only can one activity -- especially if it’s any outing that involves transfers from my wheelchair in and out of the car -- cost you the better part of a week once you’ve accounted for the extra time you spend sleeping and nursing your body through the increased pain level, it can cost you relationships. Even your loved ones can get tired of having you go comatose for two days just so they could go out to dinner with you, and it takes a very rare and special friend to understand why you fall off the radar screen just because you decided to go to the grocery store.

I don’t mind paying with my body But paying the price with relationships -- that’s just too much to charge for leading a pseudo-normal life.

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