There is an interesting gimmick to riding in motor vehicles when you have just had your own chassis upgraded. Nothing really hurts any more but I can only characterize the experience of healing hip implants as having a hair trigger butt. It feels as if any scooch or squinch or wrong move is going to set off at the very least a nasty cramp, and nothing that pulls at the knitting scars is good, so hoicking yourself into a car, especially a low lying one, is not the thoughtless maneuver you would normally expect.
First you get a trash bag. Just the standard plastic kitchen drawstring thing, folded in half. You put it on the seat before turning and addressing the open car door, leading with your can. One hand goes on the dashboard, the other on the seat back, and down you go on the bag; when you pivot, the layers of slick plastic act like K-Y for your trouser seat, and you can concentrate on whether your legs will lift at the hip enough to tuck inside. In my case, the left is still a little bit of a stinker. The physical therapist thinks the nerve got bruised while they were hauling on retractors and lifting my femur up to meet the bone saw, which I can kind of see. I’ve had nerve entrapment from overuse that put my whole hand offline. If I get two or three fingers under the knee, the left leg goes where I need it to.
Today it got more interesting because I wanted to drive. Snaking under the wheel of a Honda Fit, which is kind of a Gemini capsule or escape pod, requires suavity. And it’s amazing how unfamiliar the pedals of a car can feel after nearly six weeks.
But I really can’t justify touching people for rides any more, and I have more therapy tomorrow, and today I was cleared to go to the gym.
Some notes on accessibility. There is one, count it, one crip space at the gym, which miraculously wasn’t taken (on Sundays, misuse of this space is a cottage industry for a local cop who was once a member). The space is at the end of a row, right-angled so that the rear bumper of someone’s sedan is usually overlapping the approach. You can nudge over into the zebra striped area blocked out on the driver’s side of course. This was my first foray into getting a folding walker out of the back seat, snapping it open and rolling it up to the double doors of the gym. Note to self: without training partner, consider rapping forlornly at the glass front until someone from the desk notices and opens the heavy ass things.
Never mind actually getting the walker in between most of the crammed-together stack machines, where my writ runs right now. (I’m good with walking poles in the house, but public spaces are full of gormless idiots who need the visual cue of a walker to realize you are a crip.) I worked out a route from station to station eventually, knocking out parallel rows and stack chest presses, alternating with some of the fey little PT exercises that have been moving me along, like box squats on the seat of the chest press, or bent-knee leg lifts in between sets at the tricep cable.
The free weight rack almost stumped me, because all the benches are too low for me to decant myself onto, but I recruited the Engineer to throw his arms around my midsection from behind so I could curl and shoulder-press a pair of small dumbbells without overbalancing. It looked like an especially kinky sexual position but everyone is minding their own business in there.
I had the same problem in the waiting area up front while my lad was finishing up with a few core exercises. I ended up leaning on the front counter. and explaining to the beardless youth thereat that I was sporting brand new hips and the flimsy armless chairs weren’t safe for me.
“How long ago?” he asked. I told him a little over five weeks. “Holy shit!” he burst out, eyes widening perceptibly, just as the Engineer showed up to escort me.
See, it is moments like that that get me through.
I sashayed out with the tassels on my walker dancing in the spring breeze. It folded up and went in the back seat for me just fine.
The country is headed for hell in a bucket, the ice caps are melting, and there is a lot of very bad music on the radio, but it is still possible for an old broad to meet the energy of youth with dogged persistence. Together we will persevere.