Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: FERHOODLE (confuse or mix-up) (03/03/16)
- TITLE: Racing a Circuitous Route Backwards and Sideways to Complicate the Journey Home . . .
By Judith Gayle Smith
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I live with a severe personality disorder. The culprit/victim are the same - me. I am oblivious to warning signs, and the road has to literally rise up and smack me in the face before I recognize the way I'm headed is in the reverse, perverse direction unimpeded by my brain.
I get about in a power chair. I bought it brand new online, still wrapped in protective plastic. I was fortunate, as it worked wonderfully for over eleven years. It has suffered the claws of our Turkish Angora cat - she claimed it as her scratching post. She did such a thorough job on it that I welcomed the rough patches scratching my back when I plunked down in it. And, no - I didn't think to keep it in a room Fifi could not enter. Great conversation piece though . . .
Multiple battery chargers and new batteries kept my chair operable, although I had many a false read for recognizing the power I appeared not to have. Quick thinking and multiple husband prompts to carry my charger with me.
Last Monday I was at my favorite gathering hole, making mocha and chatting with friends. Suddenly my chair stopped moving forward, almost whiplashing me sideways. Most alarming, as space is at a premium with tables, chairs, computers, folks milling about. But praise God, wiggling the joystick seemed to straighten me out to fly right. I lasted throughout the day with no further catastrophe.
Now, I must add that I had a similar situation months ago, on a city bus. I was horrified as my seemingly faithful old chair decided not to travel forward. I made it off that bus by a miracle, and found myself popping wheelies in every direction but forward. Seems one of my grocery bags got tangled in a lever that normally locked or unlocked the brake on my chair. Untangled and both brake levers in the correct position, my chair worked wonderfully once again.
Not one to take a broad hint, I went to beading class yesterday in the Fellowship Hall of a beautiful church in NW Portland. I live in SE Portland - a ride on a Trimet Lift Bus for door-to-door transporting of the physically challenged. I weaved in and around tables holding boxes of beads, beading supplies, and eager beaders - finally settling at the end of a long table with my Delft-China lookalike beads, carefully plucked from several beading trays. My chair behaved admirably - I didn't strike one person or even one table with my "zoom along" power chair.
Time for the lift bus to arrive to take me home. I headed toward the door to await the bus - and was dismayed immensely to find myself going in circles once again. I could not move forward. Nothing I tried worked. I even cut the rubber surround of the chair's joystick to see if something had caught in the lever to throw the balance off. Several people, hearing my little peeps of dismay - tried to change the position of my front wheels to see if that would solve the conundrum. I jerked a wee bit forward and then swerved to the right, repeatedly. I could feel the tears welling up. I kept calm so I wouldn't upset the rest of the beading class. We are a fragile lot - you don't want to be around us if we start dropping beads . . .
I had to leave my uncooperative chair in the Fellowship Hall, packing all my packages and heavy purse on the Lift driver's arm, solidly supported by his other comfy shoulder as we hobbled together to his bus.
I called the company that supplied me with batteries for my chair, explaining the problem. He sent his son to look at my chair to check if the brake levers were once again misaligned. They weren't. And the joystick wasn't the problem. The motor was - and the chair was not worth the cost to repair it.
I am my husband's caregiver, and I need to do things that he can no longer accomplish - and I desperately need a chair. Today I found one, at an unbelievable price with all fancy bells and whistles - and it is arriving tomorrow night. God truly answers prayers among the confusion.
An almost perfect happy ending - except, right after eating dinner, our little dog finally succumbed to his brain cancer, and died. I have mixed emotions, and all I can do is fall into my husband's arms . . .
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