It took way too long to write this post, I know. I apologize.
In a future post, I’ll write about getting sidetracked, avoidance, procrastination, and some of my own process for getting through that. But now, let’s finish this story already!
Previously on “And She Called Me Dear:”
I collapsed on an airplane in flight on my way home from Austin to NY. Waking up, prone in the aisle, there are flight attendants and nurses anxiously hovering. I’m eerily calm (could it be the dangerously low blood pressure?) and completely present. It’s weird and cool. My husband is close by and even closer is a nurse who plies me with water. Like a camel after 10 days between watering holes, I drink and drink, and drink, and drink more, as she checks and re-checks my vital signs.
I’m able to sit upright and converse. I chat with the sweet guy who gave me his jacket, the woman with the twinkly smile seated in front of him, and my nurse. On this plane full of strangers, my nurse let’s me in on her secret…
She knows me.
She knows me. Not in the, “she understands what I’m going through kind of way” – that too – but she actually knows me. She knows me in the, “I was your sister’s close friend in high school” way. Ahem, 40 years ago.
It doesn’t strike til later, just how amazing this is ’cause in the moment it’s just another door opened. Okay. What next?
A young flight attendant, who smiles only with her mouth, pats my knee and says, “Take care of yourself, dear.” Yikes. Three paramedics, a gurney and a wheelchair greet me at the gate. I’m amused. But this is serious, I know that. So I ask my friend, the nurse, to help me through this next part where I legally decline their help but take the wheelchair. From gate to car, this is what I learned:
- Making eye contact from a wheelchair makes other people uncomfortable.
- Old women with canes will open the door for someone in a wheelchair – apparently there’s a club in which I am now automatically a member.
- Wheelchairs are magnets for children – much to their parents’ dismay.
- My experience of myself is completely at odds with how I’m being perceived. Yet, instead of making me angry, there’s something liberating about it. I feel as if I’m being let in on some kind of cosmic inside joke.
What about you? Have you had an experience where your situation completely alters how others perceive you? What was that like for you? I’m interested.
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