Thursday, April 18, 2013

What if something happens?

"If you were home, you'd have somebody to help you"- said mom, on the phone from Warsaw, Poland, when I was most likely complaining about something that happened to me lately or a bit I wrote on my blog. Today I'm getting over a cold, as it keeps me stranded in bed, tired and grumpy. And yes, nobody is here to make me chicken soup. Yet, somehow I manage. It is in situations like these that we revisit the idea, old fashion as it might be or having somebody to reach out to. Who will take care of you when you are not at your 100 per cent? Who will hear you you when you need it help? What do you do if something happens? Who will know who to call when things goes wrong?

In 2008 I was leaving the law school at night when I assume something bit me. The bushes near the law school are populated by insects and other living things I could never name. As I was waiting for the bus my arms started to itch and I developed a mosquito bites like rash. I don't really know if it was just growing over time or if it was me scratching that made it worse, but something was going on with my body. On the bus the driver noticed that I looked swollen. My face begun to feel like it was getting bigger and bigger. I'm not quite sure if it was really happening or if it was mostly in my head as I tend to be a bit of a hypochondriac but by the time I got off and started to roll through the parking lot to the very end of my complex I found it much harder to breathe. My throat felt like it was closing up. Speaking of reaching out to those physically closest to you, my roommates were not home and  not even picking up their phones. It was late at night, but I felt like I needed to go to the emergency room. As bad as I feel calling my female friends in situations like this, when they need to dismantle, load and unload my wheelchair, the only person I was able to get in touch with was Dee. She came because she knew I was in trouble. At the hospital she took care of the paperwork, waited around for the doctor and then took me home. I've had an allergic reaction to something. To my knowledge I was never allergic to anything before, but who knows what lurks in the Floridian bushes and trees. I was given Zyrtec, they waited for the swelling to go down and then sent me home with a prescription.  For the next day I mostly slept. Dee met me at the law school again, as she picked up my drugs for me and then swore that caterpillar of some kind  jumped on her in that same area and bit her. Yes, as I was in the parking lot of my complex struggling to get home and trying to breathe I did have thoughts like, what if it gets worse and I suffocate and they find me the next day? Who would call my family. But then, I found a solution. The people to help me get the help I needed. When I was hit by a bus in 2004 with my wheelchair ruined I was able to get the police to drive me home from hospital. In 2009 I poked myself in the eye and suffered an abrasion. Originally I was not even sure what happened, but for days I was very tired. I found it very hard to open my eyes. Getting up was a challenge and I would just fall back to sleep. I'm not even sure if I got to the infirmary by myself or if somebody drove me, but I remember mustering all the energy I had to get to campus. And I did. Weeks later, still on my antibiotic drops and with final projects due I greeted my parents who came for my graduation.  I don't remember what year it was, but I remember just meeting a couple who said how much they admired me after recognizing me from a newspaper. It was New Year's Eve, a karaoke party downtown. Suddenly, I noticed that I'm struggling to stay awake. I'd gladly lean my head on something and fall asleep. And it wasn't a healthy feeling. I needed help. So I found the couple and asked them to take me to the ER and they were happy to step away from the party and drive me. They had a truck, making transporting my wheelchair a breeze. I was diagnosed with a rhinovirus  and by the time I got home in the morning I've had full set of cold symptoms.  I think of myself as a bit of a survivor. Yes, I don't have family in Florida, I'm by myself, but I'm never alone. I'm surrounded by people. And yes, my limited mobility and wheelchair often makes things more complicated, but I adjust and I manage. I know how to reach out to others if I really need it. As nice it would be to have someone brew me some tea and fluff my pillow, but I think I'm doing   pretty good.

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