65. You do what you can

Nail Polish:  Ruby Red Slippers by Deborah LippmannManicure by Jane at Nails by Timothy

Nail Polish: Ruby Red Slippers by Deborah Lippmann
Manicure by Jane at Nails by Timothy

It’s no secret that I miss my apartment.  When I was in the 3rd hospital and understood we were going home I tried to convince Mom to bring home my coffee grinder.  She talked me out of it.  She did, however, bring home a big Bible Study book for me (my “Perspectives” reader).  It did not occur to me that reading would still be a problem a year and a half+ later.  Now that I’m unemployed I’m plotting a trip to OR to get my things out of storage and on a truck bound for my parents’ house.  I’m looking forward to listening to the songs I recorded on my digital piano.  Most of all, I’m looking forward to the reunion with my bags and shoes.

There’s a teal hobo with a detachable cross-body strap that I think will be very serviceable for me right now.  When I thought I was Africa-bound I planned to establish a purse lending-library for my sisters.  That’s why I talked about purses so much with Ai Ai when she came to the 2nd Hospital.  I hadn’t decided what to do with the shoes.  Sometimes at night I paw through the contents of my old closet, bypassing the clothes and going straight to the handbags and shoes.  I carried a lime patent leather quilted barrel on the day I got sick, and I haven’t carried a non-cross-body bag since.  I have not worn a pair of heels, either, although I’ve often imagined myself wearing a pair of red sandals that are pretty worn down, but that I love anyway.

Right now it’s not a question of technique that keeps me from wearing high heels – it’s a question of feasibility.  For a while this past summer I experimented with some cute flats but when I got more concerned about falling and getting hurt I decided to wear my air cast as much as possible.  This air cast only fits into my sneakers, so I couldn’t wear it with my red shoes.  At this point I don’t even want to try since my balance is still rather poor.  But maybe this is one of those times when I should just do what I can and be happy about it.

The concept of “doing what you can” reminds me of a kid I saw in the 3rd hospital.  I say “kid” but he was really a young man (ca. 19), and I say I “saw” him because I never met him formally.  He was hard to miss, though, since he did not fit the age demographic we were used to seeing there.  I think he had broken his neck in a skiing accident, and when he first arrived at Therapy Boot Camp he was unable to feel his limbs.  A short time later, however, he began to regain feeling in his extremities and he celebrated by wheeling his chair down the hall at top speed with several therapists/aides running behind him.  I observed this partial victory lap from my own wheelchair as I waited in the lobby for my next session and I couldn’t help smiling.  That boy had lost pretty much all of his physical abilities, and when he started to regain just a little of what he had formerly possessed he did what he could; he did it well, and with evident enjoyment.

So I’ve decided that even though I can’t wear my favorite shoes right now (the jury’s still out on whether or not I’ll wear them again at all) I will do the next best thing – say hello to “Ruby Red Slippers” – a fabulous nail color I would have never chosen in my old life, but then again I’ve enjoyed a lot of “firsts” since my brain bled.  So have my parents since they are the ones tasked with caring for me at present  (Thanks, Mom and Dad!).  My Dad, in particular, is rather appalled by the whole salon experience, but he has very obligingly accompanied me on manicure expeditions a couple of times.  I usually favor dark polish, which only adds to the mysteriousness of these outings.  (Me:  Like my nails, Dad?  Tanpo:  They’re purple!)  Anyway, if I can’t wear those shoes I’m going to wear some super-glittery polish on my fingertips.  Welcome to my world – where doing what you can means compromising in creative ways and enjoying it.