Thanks for nothing, Walmart!

I try to not be too negative about things in life. I know that my life is different because I am in a wheelchair.  I know that some things I took for granted pre-paralysis are now off limits to me.  But, for the most part, I’m still able to do most everything.  I’m pretty clever when it comes to figuring out adaptations.

But today I had a major slap in the face and I’m pissed!  My husband had asked me to stop by the store on the way home from court to pick something up for him.  On a whim, I decided to not go to my normal Target and try the neighboring Walmart.  It had opened within the past year and I hadn’t been there.  So I parked and went in.  There were no hand baskets by the door.  I went by every checkout stand.  None.  Then I went to the other entrance and couldn’t locate any there either.  I asked an employee if he knew where they were.  He replied that the store decided to stop using them because they kept getting stolen.

“So, how is someone like me supposed to shop?” I asked.

“That’s a good question.” He said.  He had nothing else to add after that.

So, I decided to find a manager to ask them what happened to the baskets.  After waiting a really long time, and watching the head store manager walk away, an assistant manager came over.  I asked her about the baskets.  She called in on the radio to ask if anyone had seen a basket “floating around the back somewhere.”  I’m guessing the reply was “no” because another employee nearby said “We don’t have those no more.”  (I stifled my inner grammar police as I was focused on the bigger picture.)

The lady offered a paltry sorry as I rolled away.  I was so angry and upset that I felt like I could be reduced to tears at any moment.  That may seem like an unusual thing to be upset about, but it’s just another slap in the face.  I should be able to spend my money the same way as everyone else, but apparently I can’t.  It’s always the little things that break the proverbial camel’s back.  And I am one emotional camel with a very weak and messed up back.  I called Walmart customer service and the lady on the other line, while polite, also couldn’t care less.  So, I packed it up and went down the block to Target where they had baskets and gladly accepted my patronage.

Refinishing life

When I first became paralyzed, I thought my life would never be the same.  I was in tears when my physical therapists or occupational therapists would tell me to sit on the edge of the bed.  I didn’t think I could do it.  I had no faith in my body or what it would ever begin to do again.  Slowly, as time went on, my recovery progressed.  And I had a newly discovered faith in what I could do.  And what I could try to do.  I’ve always tended to be a cautious person, not one to really go out on a limb trying new things.  So when my body traitored on me, I was worried about pushing it too hard.  When I would sit there crying about sitting on the edge of the bed, some people would look at me, then the floor, then back at me again and try to figure out why a two foot fall would scare the living daylights out of me.  But when you’re injured and vulnerable, it can all be overwhelming.

So cut to today when I was out in the garage refinishing some dressers which my mom gave to me to use in the baby’s nursery.  They were her parents dressers, which then became hers which she then used for my brother.  They sat unused for a bunch of years and became chipped and cracked.  The hubs spent yesterday fixing the cracks with wood glue and clamps.  He then planned on stripping away the varnish, sanding and staining in the next few weeks.  I decided that since he does so much already, I’d surprise him with stripping the varnish and sanding myself.  It was half because I wanted to surprise him and half because I didn’t want to tell him in case I couldn’t actually do it all myself.  And since today was a court holiday but not a school holiday, I actually had some time to get to this project.

I was able to get all of the drawers out of the dresser (which for those of you who are able-bodied, this is actually somewhat challenging to a person who doesn’t have complete core strength), take all of the hardware off, paint the stripper on then sand it off.  By the time I was done, I was a sweaty, dusty mess.  But, I did it!  I couldn’t get to the front of the dresser because it was facing a wall and I couldn’t get in front of it.  And, when I tried to move the dresser, I was worried that I would re-split some of the sides which the hubs fixed yesterday.  Plus, a solid wood dresser is heavy and my spine is finicky.  So I left that to do when he’s home to help.  While I can do a lot of stuff, I have to be honest and know that I can’t do it all by myself.

sanding drawers

I took that picture and sent it to the hubs so he could see what I was up to.  And to get the proper amount of accolades, of course!  He was super surprised and excited.  And worried about the mess I left and whether there was still room on his side of the garage for his car when he gets home from work.  I tend to not clean up after my projects so well.  But, part of the surprise was that I actually did clean up after myself.  Yes, I’m very thoughtful.

So, it’s kind of fun to think that the snively scaredy-cat who was afraid to sit on the edge of the bed is now pushing limits and attacking projects that I never even did before I was paralyzed!  If I could go back to that cry baby in the hospital I would tell her that life rolls on and that she will adapt.  It’s amazing what we can do when we have no other choices!

Work anniversary

I’m in love with a new feature on Facebook- the memories feature.  Each day, it brings up my activity from years past.  It hilarious to read through to see what I was doing or thinking in years past.  Sometimes, I have no clue what things mean, but I’m sure I thought they were hilarious (poignant, important, meaningful, memorable, etc.) at the time.  It’s also fun to see pictures or posts that people put on my page.  It’s kind of like A Christmas Carol and I’m Scrooge looking to see what Facebook post ghosts will visit me.  Will I remember something fondly?  Will I wonder what the heck I was thinking? Will it inspire me for things to come?

This morning, as I sat in court waiting for the hustle and bustle to begin, I clicked to see what memories from years past Facebook would bring to me.  And this is the post that came up:

FB memory

Two years ago today was my first day back in court after becoming paralyzed!  Less than two months after becoming paralyzed, I was right back to the grind.  I remember the immense sense of relief that I had going back to the courtroom.  That moment gave me a brief sense of normalcy.  I remember being so nervous about what people would say, or about how I would be able to function.  I was worried about what my clients might think.  But as I went back, I realized that nothing had changed but my legs.  I was still me.  And actually, working was what helped me keep my sanity and get back.  Helping my clients gave me something to focus on so I wouldn’t be down on life.  It gave me a sense of purpose.

It’s funny now thinking back on that day when I got to go back to work.  Even when it’s frustrating, I still love what I do.  I get to help people when they really need some help.  What’s better than that when trying to not sink into depression or aggravation over things in your own life?  So thank you Facebook for reminding me of that joy I felt 2 years ago!  I’ll try to remember that feeling a bit more when I get angry or frustrated with life and I’ll try to channel that into all things positive.

An ode to my dogs

When I was in the hospital, one of the hardest things was the fact that I couldn’t see my dogs.  6 weeks of no dogs was like an added level of torture.  My dogs are pampered, to say the least.  They’re my little buddies.  My constant companions, if you will.  So to live without them for so long was awful!

This was the day I got home after 6 weeks in the hospital.

This was the day I got home after 6 weeks in the hospital.

Ever since I’ve been home, they’ve been glued to me.  Well, my boy dog more than my girl dog.  If my boy dog could permanently attach himself to me, he would.   (Even now as I type this my little guy is on my lap.  I have the tan fur on black pants to prove it.)  He seems to not be comfortable unless he’s sleeping on my lap.  This is sweet until you consider that living in a place where the average summer heat is 110 degrees plus, that gets a little toasty.  But, I don’t even mind.  His little face is so content when he sleeps on my lap that I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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What’s funny though, is that before all of this, I never really understood the importance of a service dog.  I mean, yes, I know that they can really help people retrieve things or alert to certain medical issues before they occur so the person can prepare.  I guess I just never thought about it beyond the obvious.  Beyond the superficial outer layers.

But I’ve come to an even deeper understanding.  The other night I was having a really hard time sleeping.  I couldn’t get comfortable.  Then my mind was racing with worries about being in one position too long and the fact that I am scared to death of getting pressure sores, because the treatment of those are awful!  And it would require lengthy bed rest.  So now I’m super freaked out about them.  So there I was trying to get comfortable and tossing and turning.  (To fully understand the impact of this let me explain: Say I’m on my right side.  I have to turn my body so I am on my back.  Then I have to sit up to uncross my legs.  I have to take off the sheet which has likely become tangled by this point.  Then I lay back down and turn my body to the left.  Then I grab my right leg and drag it over to be on top of my left leg.  And then I again try to untangle the sheet because somehow in my sleepiness, I always get too wrapped up.)  So tossing and turning and getting comfortable is not very easy.  And it get frustrating.  My girl dog will sometimes put up with a toss, but is gone before the turn.  But my boy will put up with it and stay in the same spot.  So on this particular night, when I was especially uncomfortable and frustrated, after I rolled and was still not comfortable, he came over and stretched out against my back.  It was so comforting and calming that I almost immediately calmed down and fell asleep.

So now I completely understand on a whole new level the importance of service animals.  I don’t trust mine to fetch me food as I know it would be eaten in seconds.  And I don’t trust them to not bark at birds or other dogs in public.  And I’m not going to tote them around in a giant purse in places like the movies.  I am lucky in my disability that I don’t need a service animal like that.  But I am so glad that I have my little pups in my life to help me in situations when I don’t even realize how badly I need them.  That is the amazingly beautiful thing about dogs, whether they’re formally trained or just naturally intuitive.