The Four Labors of Carrie Cook: Part 3
At this point I was not driving but wanting to desperately as I was dependent on other people. I was also facing the reality of my husband and son leaving for a month and trying to figure out how I was going to convince them to go in my condition before they cancelled their trip. I had to be able to drive, it was just that simple.
I was back to the mind over matter game I faced early on. I had limited use of my arms and have been using my legs solely as a means of transition from a laying and seated position. We are blessed to have three vehicles, so I started attempted the process of getting into and out of them. The vehicle selection included a truck, jeep, and car. All of which had a varying degree of difficulty.
Let’s start with the truck. Door weight was manageable to open and close. Height of the vehicle was a challenge as you cannot get in or out without a step rail. Not sure if you have ever tried to get in a lifted vehicle but 99.9% of people use their arms. I had no use of my arms. This started me thinking maybe I could use a stool that then was connected by a string or lite weigh chain I could then pull the step stool up with once I was in. This was a possibility. I moved on to the jeep.
Door weight of a jeep is super lite because after all you can take the doors off. The problem is the door is so lite that you must use effort to close door hard. Again 99.9% of people use their arm strength to close a vehicle door. I did not have the strength to close the door. This is yet another obstacle when not having functioning elbows. The jeep was out unless I had someone to close the door. I could not figure out a way to use my feet because I would have to move the seat back and then would not have the strength to bring it forward so my feet could touch the pedals.
Moving on to the car. I could not even open the door because it was too heavy with my lack of strength, so that eliminated the car quickly.
This left me with one option. I had to figure out how to make the truck work. Since my leg strength over the last three weeks was my lifeline, I knew I could figure out the balancing act of how to get in and out. I never really thought past getting in. I should mention at this point that I was not 100% truthful with my husband about the lack of healing reported at the doctor’s office. He and my son were scheduled to leave in only a few days for a month, so I had to prove my abilities although they were limited. Not driving was not an option.
Putting the key in the ignition, no problem. Remember I am in a truck. No push button people. Just to put into perspective my limited strength, turning the key required the use of both arms. Driving straight out of the neighborhood, no problem. Then I had to make a turn.
I challenge you to affix your elbows to your side and try to turn the steering wheel of a vehicle. Inch by inch I turned the steering wheel while the car was rolling very slowly. This was the moment I realized this was going to be much harder than I initially thought, but I did get the truck out of the garage, and I was proud of that accomplishment. Of course, I was approaching a roundabout and all I could think was oh boy this is going to be interesting. I did however make it to work. U-turns were out of the question.
Once I got to work, I realized that I would have to wait for an employee to arrive because I could not open the doors to the building, they were too heavy. Not to mention I could not carry my purse, lunch bag or water cup either. I know that sounds silly, but this was truly how challenging my life was. But I was still on cloud nine that I made it to work, so I patiently waited. My employees were very accommodating to my inabilities even when I could not button my pants after I would go to the bathroom. I did not think about the fact that I was helped to get dressed that morning.