Tuesday was a big day for moving toward one of my foremost goals, that of driving behind the wheel of a large automobile. I reported to the appointed place at nine o'clock and was escorted to the driver's ed office by a very serious but good-natured fellow. He proceeded to test my vision, reflexes, manual dexterity, cognitive reasoning, grip strength, scrotal symmetry, and what else I can't remember. Seemingly satisfied with my performance, he gave me a two-minute explanation of how the hand controls work, and off we went to the garage. There awaited a Chrysler 300 into which I cleanly transferred. Another brief tutorial regarding the controls, and off we went to cruise the mean streets of Buckhead, Peachtree Road, and I-75. Although it felt a bit awkward at first, it became surprisingly easy fairly quickly, and by the end of the 90 minutes or so I felt very comfortable behind the wheel (although I did see his foot near the override brake twitch a couple of times). "So now I have the driving thing down", or so I thought. Unfortunately, there's still that thing where, after an immaculate transfer from the w/c to the car, one still has to disassemble, place into the car, and then reassemble said w/c before performing another pristine transfer back into w/c at one's destination. Since that morning I've had three grueling sessions practicing that second part, and it does indeed appear that driving with hand controls is the easy part. It is doubtful that I'll ever be able to make this look as effortless as the you-tube videos I've watched, but I am hopeful that, with three more weeks to work on this, it will become something I can do without people staring, laughing, or running to my aid.
In other news, daily sessions of weight or resistance training continue, as do endurance building (think w/c cruising through the bowels of Shepherd and adjacent Piedmont Hospital), balance exercises, PT and OT, vocational therapy, and classes on nutrition, exercise, and emergency preparedness (did you know that those with mobility issues are disproportionately affected by natural disasters?). Despite all the above, I have not yet become buff, but I am getting stronger and more capable in most areas.
I regret to announce that I have no bowel or bladder issues to air at this time.
I had a couple outings last week with very old friends including Robert Good, who took me to watch a French WWII film (unsuccessfully, tant pis), and Ben Pugh, who took me to dinner at the Ponce City Market. We were also visited by Emily and Steve Talley, neighbors and good friends from Staunton, who made the drive with only 15 rest stops (just kidding, Steve). We also got to enjoy dinner with Carol Ramsey (in town doing wardrobe for the latest Damon Wayans film) and her husband Doug (in town visiting his wife and editing his book on a Civil War prison break). Outings such as the above make life seem more normal again; the w/c doesn't disappear, but its importance becomes diminished and less defining.
Thanks also to my co-workers at RMH in Radiation Oncology who sent a very delicious selection of Harry and David fruit. My large intestine thanks you as well.
As always, Nancy remains my steadfast caregiver and co-traveller through this alien land. Again, not a trip either of us remembers signing up for, but one that we're on nonetheless, and will continue to travel along with our family and those of you who want to tag along. Just try to keep up, okay?