Thursday, September 08, 2016

A recluse blessed with friends

I have been blessed by a lifetime filled with good friends—some of us are finding we’ve been hanging out together for almost forty years; others have come into my fold within the last ten years or less. All have been wonderful during my recent housebound phase when I could not put weight on my broken leg. They came to visit, probably in itself the most important gift I could have; they brought food; they offered to help with various chores. I won’t try to name them all because I would surely leave some out.

This week, my longtime friend Carol Roark has marched to the front of the pack, taking me to overdue appointments—the dentist, the podiatrist, and a mammogram. Plus in Carol’s care, I’ve been out to lunch and dinner in one day—living the high life.

Carol is not an easy caretaker. Yesterday she gently bullied me into using the walker.
A trip with the walker scares me because it begins with the ramp at my front door. The walker goes downhill faster than I want it to. Yesterday Carol went in front of me, acting as a brake. This morning Lewis said he wouldn’t be a brake but would be a bumper. I made it to the car both times.

Yesterday with the walker I went from car to imaging clinic to mammography room and back again, though I was shaky when I got back in the car, either from nerves or exhaustion, though I would like to think that small bit of effort didn’t exhaust me. For the podiatrist and lunch, I asked Carol to use the wheelchair.

But today I walked across the parking lot and into the dentist office. This was double jeopardy because dental appointments always make me shaky—like everyone my age, I grew up in an era when dentistry was brutal. I had particularly bad teeth and a taciturn dentist, a distant relative—not a cool combination. At any rate, after an hour and a half getting my teeth cleaned, walking was an effort of will for me. So was going back up the ramp, though Carol was an efficient godsend.

The relief I felt when finally settled in my cottage, at my desk, gave me food for thought. I am safe here and happy and not anxious. The temptation to become a recluse is strong. I still love to go to restaurants, but sometimes I find myself wishing I was in the cottage. I think, however, that becoming more reclusive is a path to aging, and I’ll have to resist it and to stop being so fussy about what interests me and what doesn’t.

Carol said my new blog is in part about aging gracefully, and she is helping me do that. Staying in my comfortable cottage is not part of that plan. Lesson learned.

No comments: