The Fourth Labor: The Grocery Store Odyssey

Updated: Jul 27

The Four Labors of Carrie Cook: Part 5


Let’s get back to the food part of this story. You know those big grocery carts at the store that you must pull apart from the other 50 carts? That was not going to happen. In fact, I did not even realize I could not push the large carts. Have you ever seen the mini carts that are half the size? After going to two grocery stores, I discovered those carts I could pull apart and they were manageable for me to push.


As I was putting food into the cart, I started to fear how I was going to get the bags in and out of the cart. I had never spent so much time in a grocery store. From analyzing the situation of the weight of the items in my cart, to whether I would be able to open the packaging, to if I could even cook the things in my cart as it was going to require cutting (which I could not do), to opening the microwave (which I also had not mastered).


I would have loved to have seen the video of me in the grocery store, walking in circles putting things in the cart and out of the cart as I analyzed how the food would ever make it to the truck, let alone my mouth. I would put it in the cart and then as I walked around the store realized I could not open a jar or a bag of salad that I could not use scissors to cut open. Or the orange juice that I could not screw the top off. I found myself circling the pre-made meals with easy to remove plastic tops, lunch meat with zip open seals, fruit that was precut or wash and eat, and a loaf of bread.

I was finally out of there. Not so fast…


I could not carry the bags that they loaded and put at the end of counter. This was embarrassing. I asked for extra bags thinking I could make the bag a manageable weight and then realized I was going to have to disclose that I was recovering from fractured elbows and was unable to pick up the bags and asked if someone could help me put them in the truck. When I said I broke both my elbows, people would always say, “both your elbows?” Yep, both was always my response. Then would come, “how did you do that?” Doing a push-up from a standing position is not recommended would be my response.


I knew if I could get the food in the truck, I would be able to move the food out of the truck to the house at my ability. One item at a time. Not only was everything a challenge, but everything also took 4 times the amount of time to accomplish. Nevertheless, I had food. Check that off the list.

I could drive, and I was working almost 6 hours a day at this point, and I had food to eat. It was official, I was not going to ruin my son and husband’s trip to California.


Although my husband was extremely hesitant to leave me alone, I had proven my abilities although the pain level was creeping up. Off they went and slowly but surely, I was carrying along with life.


“My struggles taught me that an independent person, with a certain amount of stubbornness and mental grit, will persevere”

While the feats I accomplished may not have been a demonstration of Herculean strength or worthy of an epic poem; however, looking back, they do somehow seem superhuman. My struggles taught me that an independent person, with a certain amount of stubbornness and mental grit, will persevere. This also reaffirms my belief that you should surround yourself with the right people, both inside and outside the office. I could not have overcome the obstacles I faced on my journey without their help and genuine support.





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