Saturday, February 9, 2008

1 Year Ago - part 3

We pulled up to the house about midnight. I got as close to the front door as possible, which was about 3 feet fromit. It took Mr. H several minutes to get his legs out of the car door, then several more to get himself up to a standing position. He stood there, holding on to the oen car door... and that's as far as he could go. He could put absolutely no weight on his injured hip. He's a bit over 6 feet tall and at the time weighed about pounds. I'm 5 feet tall. There wasn't much I could do by myself.

So there we stood, in the dark, with him holding onto the car door. I suppose we had several options: call a neighbor, call a friend, use tools. Mr. H and I are both stubbornly independent, so the "call someone" option, especially after midnight, was not one we wanted to go with. We decided to use tools.

I work at our church. I have keys and know where things are. There are at least 2 wheelchairs in our worship center. So I brought up the idea of going to get the wheelchair. That's what he wanted to do, so I helped him (very carefully) get back into the car. Then we drove the 15 minutes to the church. I unlocked the door, found the lights, then found the wheelchair in the closet. Having never had to use a wheelchair, it took me a few seconds to figure out how the thing folded and unfolded (baby stroller training comes in handy in cases like this.) I got it out to the car, folded it up and managed to lift it into the backseat. All this time, I kept an eye on the pastor's house. I didn't want him to think someone was breaking in. (However, now in retrospect, I could probably have gotten the sherrif's deputies and the pastor to help me get Mr. H into the house.)

Back to the house, and by that time, it was after 1 a.m. Mr. H got himself into a standing position by holding onto the car door again, and pivoting on one foot, turned so that I could get the wheelchair behind him. I got him as far as the porch, but I couldn't get the chair up onto the porch. It was only a 2 or 3 inch step, but I couldn't do it. I figured that with the help of our oldest daughter, a senior in high school at the time, we could get it done. I woke her up from a deep sleep, and it took a few minutes for her to get the idea that her dad was in the front yard in a wheelchair and was not going anywhere without her assistance. A few inches up onto the porch, a few yards along the porch and then a few inches up into the house. I think we were all exhausted.

We made one more decision that night that we shouldn't have done. Mr. H wanted to get into his own bed to sleep. People with broken ribs don't sleep in beds for a reason. Once he got in, he couldn't get out. It was after noon the next day before, with the help of his mom and dad, we got him up and back into the wheelchair. He spent the next several weeks sleeping in the recliner.

Last year on Valentine's Day, he had surgery to repair his crushed wrist. The X-ray of the finished product looks wicked. I don't know exactly how many pins are holding it all together. He had a hot pink cast for a few weeks and then just a brace. After 2 weeks in the wheelchair, he only used his walking stick for a few days before he didn't need it any longer. It took several months for him to get mobility back into his wrist and that was important. I hadn't quite figured it out, but one day, everything clicked.

He had been looking at bikes, trying to decide how to replace his totaled Suzuki SV650. Mr. H does nothing without research. One day in May, he walked into the house and his step was different. I hadn't seen that man since the morning of February 8th. He had been to test drive a new bike. I never appreciated how much riding meant to him until that moment. He had a missing part of himself back again. Later that week, we went to the Honda dealership in Mobile and he came home with a Honda ST1300.

People have asked me how I could let him get another bike. How could I deny him the ability to be who he is? He is a careful guy. He wears ATGATT (All The Gear All The Time). He wears a full face helmet, a jacket that is neon yellow (you can see it literally from a mile away), riding pants, and boots. He did that before the accident, too. That's why, until the surgery on his wrist, he didn't even have a scratch on his skin. His face looked as good on the 9th as it did on the 7th. He is who he is, and that's the guy I love.

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