This week has been full of surprises. Perhaps it’s life’s way of lightening up the drama that we’ve been managing, but I have found myself in some pretty precarious situations lately.
First, I failed to mention an important detail about our trip the international raceway the other day that I just have to include here because of all of the surprises I’ve received over the week, this one was the most outstanding. As we were leaving the raceway, making our way to the truck, Drew was following me through the grass and dirt path through the parking lot to the truck. He was growling because the ride was so bumpy, but other than that there was nothing to explain what happened next. It happened in such a flash. I turned my head to check on Drew and in my peripheral vision I just saw a flash of black and red immediately behind me and though I didn’t recognize any shapes I instantly knew that it was Drew in his wheelchair and he was about to hit me. I was instantly scooped up as the foot plate rammed into the back of my knees causing me to collapse backwards on to Drew and his chair. Several things enter my mind simultaneously upon me realizing that I was now an involuntary passenger on Drew’s wheelchair. In order of how they entered into my mind:
- I’m sitting on his leg with the fixator.
- I’m probably suffocating him because my back is pressed up against his face
- The chair has a weight limit of 125 lbs and I’m embarrassed to say that I exceed that weight limit (but won’t say how much).
- We are dangerously close to the rear ends of vehicles which could seriously injure one or both of us should Drew run into one, seeing as he can’t see where he’s going. And, the financial consequences of the damages to the car, the injuries to us and the damages to the wheelchair.
My hands were full. I was carrying an umbrella, a back pack, a drink and some various stickers and souvenirs
from the racetrack and even though Bob the Wheelchair guy, who strongly emphasized that should we ever need to stop the wheelchair that we should grab Drew’s arm and not just pull or push the wheelchair itself, flashed in my head I could not reach around to grab Drew’s arm to stop the chair. I certainly didn’t want to put my feet down in an effort to stop because no amount of human effort could stop a 311 pound chair in that way. So, as my feet flailed trying to retain balance on the chair so I didn’t fall off and then be actually run over, I screamed, “DREW! DREW! DREEEEEEEW!” until he finally stopped.
Though it seemed to last an eternity, it was only a 5-6 second ride. I quickly jumped off and began a verbal assault onto Drew like I’ve never unveiled before. I yelled at him all the way back to the truck, all while loading the wheelchair onto the back, while belting him into the backseat and basically until he fell asleep 4-5 minutes down the road. Somehow, my sitting upon his leg didn’t hurt him and I can’t possibly begin to understand how or why because I know he had to have had a significant impact and weight on his poor little foot in which he screams if you so much as breathe on his toes. He wasn’t injured and I wasn’t injured by some miracle. I have never been so surprised or angry with him as I was that day. He did apologize and I could tell he felt really bad.
His only explanation about the event and why he had done it was, “because I’m mean.” I’m not sure what that means because I wasn’t fussing at him prior to the event. He wasn’t in any trouble. Even though he was annoyed with the bumpy ride, I don’t think he did it because he was mad at me. I don’t think he did it because he thought it would be funny. And, I don’t think it was an accident. I think he intentionally hit me, but I just can’t figure out his motivation. So strange. It wasn’t funny then, but now I think about me stuck on the front of his chair like a bug on a windshield and I giggle a little bit.
But, the wheelchair wasn’t done #$%^ing with my life. The other day, I loaded his chair up on the back of the truck to go grocery shopping and I was glad to finally be done with the whole process as I placed the pin that holds the ramp all together into its slot when I couldn’t get it to push through the other side. I couldn’t remove the pin either. By this time, I was sweating bullets from all of the physical exertion of loading and strapping the wheelchair that I thought to myself, “$%^& it. I’ll worry about it when I get to Wal-mart.” So, I’m off to Wal-Mart and I’m on the road for about 1 minute when it occurs to me what has happened.
I probably already knew what had happened back at the apartment, but I have an incredible sense of denial and avoidance. You see, the pin is a contraption that slides into a slot to hold the ramp in place. On the end of the pin, is a little rotating piece that once you have
placed the pin all the way into its slot, you flip it around so it locks the pin in place so it doesn’t fall out during the drive. What happened as I stuck the pin into the first hole was the rotating piece rotated around so now I
couldn’t push it through the other side of slot. And, I couldn’t pull it back out because the lock was up. So, without being able to pull this pin out of its slot, it’s virtually impossible to unroll the ramp therefore get the wheelchair off of the bed of the truck.
I spent about 15 minutes in the Wal-Mart parking lot in the sweltering heat using random sticks, keys, and anything I could find that was long and skinny in an effort to release the lock so I could remove the pin. Between me sweating my ass off and Drew hollering at me, I was at a very high state of frustration. So, I decided that I would have to go into Wal-Mart to buy some tweezers. But how was I going to get Drew in there? I couldn’t carry him. I couldn’t fit him in the cart front seat. So, I used two pillows and a blanket to fashion a somewhat comfortable seat for him. One pillow under his fixator leg and one pillow (actually, it was a plush Incredible Hulk hand lol) behind his back and a blanket to try to soften the seat. Drew really enjoyed this so instead of making multiple trips in and out of the store, I decided to just do my shopping with Drew in the cart.
I had to really refine my grocery list because towards the end, Drew was almost buried under groceries. I had strategically stacked items around him so it looked like he was in a prison of groceries. I’m pretty sure that somebody snapped a picture of me and Drew and uploaded it to peopleofwalmart.com with a caption: Look at what this mother is doing to her child!
Well, we get home and I get him settled. I know I need to go address the ramp situation. I take my tool box and I’m sitting under the ramp using every tool I have in the box to try to release this godforsaken pin. I have tools strewn all about around me. At some point, I grab a mallet. And, 35% thinking I’m going to break the lock on the pin and 65% just because I’m pissed off, I start wailing on the pin with the mallet. CLANG! ~silence~ CLANG! ~silence~ CLANG! ~silence~ CLANG! I do this until the muscle in my forearm is throbbing. Finally, a neighbor comes out to find out what all of the commotion is about. I’m relieved.
He begins to retry everything I’ve done until the sun goes down I’m holding a flashlight so he could see. He goes to his apartment, which happens to be right above mine, and brings out a wire hanger and the best thing I could have needed at that moment: a mango vodka drink. YESSSSSSSSSS! But, despite all the efforts with the hanger, he couldn’t release the lock. And, now it’s sprinkling. Luckily I have a wheelchair cover which I quickly place, but I’m not thrilled about leaving this chair outside overnight. But I have no other choice.
Luckily, the neighbor happens to be a mechanic and owns a shop and tells me his shop is open in the morning and he could cut the pin off. So, he did get the pin cut off and I’m now using a nut and a bolt in place of the pin because I have yet to find a farm supply store that has the correct pin size that I need.
The wheelchair has been behaving itself lately though.
I’m not able to think of a clever transition so I’ll just tell you about Drew’s lip. Drew’s lip has recently been the focus of anxiety the past couple of days. Friday, while the babysitter was here, Drew ate some lemons. Drew loves to eat raw lemons. Well, shortly thereafter I retrieved a quick snack from the kitchen and went over to hug Drew when he looked up at me and he had the fattest upper lip I ever saw! His lip had swollen twice its size! He looked like a male Lisa Rina. I was immediately concerned that he was having an allergic reaction or something though it didn’t make sense because he’s eaten plenty of lemons before. I wasn’t sure if I should call a doctor or go to the ER, or what. I decided to see what it looked like in 30 minutes and it got any bigger, I would take him to the ER. But, luckily, the swelling quickly subsided though it left his lip sore and chapped. The next morning, his lip had slightly split in several places leaving gashes of red and splotchy areas on his upper lip.
Thinking that was the end of his lip drama, this morning I’m cleaning the apartment while Drew quietly plays on the couch while watching Rio. He hollars for me and says he’s thirsty. I get close to him and his entire mouth is purple. Upon closer inspection, the area around his lips is covered in patechia, small pin point hemorrhages that are common with Thrombocytapenia (the T in TAR). Patechia looks like you take a red and purple marker and just make dots in a condensed patch. They can be a sign of low platelets. Considering Drew’s recent episode with his lip, I have a mini-heart attack. I urgently ask him what he did to his lip when he held a small toy in the shape of a bucket to his lips and sucked out all of the air inside creating a suction which allowed him to hold the bucket in its place without hands. The pressure he created in doing so actually gave himself a hickey. !!! It wouldn’t be normal for you and I to have the same reaction when doing that trick, but when you have low platelets, that can happen. So, I was relieved when I realized that he wasn’t going to die. My heart rate returned to normal and now Drew looks like he has a purple five o’clock shadow!