6. Fringe Benefits

Ernie, Ruth, Karine and Ezra came to visit us!  After VT, Mom and I met them at the mall.   We did not think to bring Jack the chair, but it would have been nice to sit down and be wheeled around since the main elevator was broken and we had to traipse over to the Sears wing to ride the other lift.  I seriously considered trying the escalator, but decided not to rock the boat by introducing the high likelihood of bodily injury.  We had other things to do, namely, eat dumplings and fro yo!  That’s right, after we visited the food court we made our way back downstairs to the new frozen yogurt place.  I, of course, was mainly interested in the fro yo, but I think my babies had as much, if not more, interest in the chairs (fun colored swivel bar stools).  Mom spotted me and after a couple of minutes I managed to get into mine.  The babies did more spinning than eating, and i laughed the whole time. The chairs were the happy side benefit of our fro yo party, and I’ve learned to recognize these fringe benefits well lately.

One day in the 3rd  Hospital in OR I was sitting in my wheelchair next to my bed, enjoying a few minutes of solitude.  “Maybe this is the Lord’s way of making me more compassionate,” I thought.  Greater compassion has not made an appearance in my life, nor has increased musical aptitude materialized, so I’ve accepted that the fringe benefits I was seriously hoping for are not going to happen.  What did happen, however, is that I got to spend more time with my family, instead of going it alone in OR or Africa.  (I told Mom and Dad that I had thought I had just dreamed they were there when I woke up since I missed them.  I then considered that I could have come up with several scenarios that were much more enjoyable than the one we found ourselves in, so maybe it was real after all.) I also met a bunch of nice people I never would have met otherwise.  E.g.  I don’t think I ever discussed my conviction that the whole hospital experience was a dream with my Occupational Therapists since I enjoyed their company so much that I didn’t care if they were real or not.  It helped that their job did not involve poking me in the arm to draw blood or making me do squats, but OT2 and OT3 were genuinely nice people that I would have liked in normal life, too.

When I got home and showed up at The Place, OT6 was my main Occupational Therapist, and I learned from her that laughing wasn’t just a happy side benefit, it was as important and helpful to me as the therapy itself.  FYI, I met a former patient of hers who had broken his neck in a car crash ca. 2 years ago and was walking around now like nothing happened, and doing unheard of things like sipping a cup of coffee while in motion!  In an environment where seeing people with broken necks  and amputated limbs is common, laughing with OT6 made me feel like everything was like it used to be.