Monday, April 7, 2008

Miss Observant

I couldn't figure out what my daughter was grumbling about yesterday in the bookstore; she was several steps ahead of me and I had stopped for just a moment. Then I saw she was trying to clear obstacles from my path and was clearly ticked that they were there. Each time I turned, she moved footstools or chairs out of the way so they'd already be clear when I wanted to move ahead. Sometimes I forget whether I am wheeling or walking (except from the different pain produced by each) until barriers remind me that I can't get where I need to go or someone reacts to me. It usually doesn't take long for someone to remind me how I move, whether I am directly accused of being drunk for walking slowly and stiffly or whether a mother pulls her toddler tighter in her lap and purses her lips as if I'm contagious, but with my kids opening doors and clearing paths, sometimes I forget a little longer.

Last week when I went into a building someone came up to me and asked if I needed help with a door. Though I didn't need help there, the offer was appreciated and in contrast to those who ignore me. One of my friends says she asks people if they need help reaching something in stores, but feels uncomfortable doing so, isn't sure if that's the right thing. I told her that's exactly the right course of action, and it would be rude for someone to respond negatively. It would be different if she was insistent about it.

My son wants to know if surgery will mean I won't have to use the scooter as much or at all. I don't know. I have read about people having reduced low back issues after C5-C6 decompression, though that wasn't the expected result. The rheumatologic/genetic issues can't be addressed with this surgery. I have my lists of questions, my fears, my what-ifs. I hold in memory the story about a man who didn't have surgery and who sneezed and became a quad and died from the trauma, the stories of people for whom risks were more than just an unlikely statistic, the stories of those for whom surgery went well, with outcomes as good or better than predicted. My symptoms aren't as severe right now--does this mean I can wait a few more years, or will they be back next week? The cognitive dissonance is kicking me down.

My mom called yesterday wanting to know if I'd scheduled surgery. No...they're closed on weekends. I haven't got the second opinion yet, though I will talk to Wunderkind again this afternoon (I really hope I don't call him that by accident). I just hope my list doesn't feel like the Spanish Inquisition to him.

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