Today was our local MS Walk. My team consisted of me, my husband, my kiddos, my parents and my mother-in-law. My mom is the director of the Central Wyoming Hospice & Transitions Program and was going to borrow a wheelchair from work just in case I needed it. Though I am not currently driving, I am ambulatory, though sometimes I feel like my body is floating above thin air. Hard to explain, but needless to say, it feels really weird. My right leg is also quite tight and heavy. I describe it as feeling like I'm wearing a cement hip-high boot. Dave and I have discussed purchasing a wheelchair "in case we need it" because I'm finding it more difficult to walk any sort of distance. I mentioned this to my mother-in-law Thursday afternoon. At that time she revealed that she'd purchased a wheelchair for $7.00 at a garage sale, and that she would drop it off at the house. It is a very old wheelchair and she actually took it and paid to have the seat replaced.
My mother-in-law has great intentions and a huge heart and I really do appreciate all she does for our family. Now that the disclaimer is over, I will admit that I was unimpressed with the purchase. I thought it was odd that she bought it without speaking to us first and had just held on to it. My first thought when I saw it was, "Wow, I'm pretty sure that thing is older than me, and it sure is ugly."
Pride has me absolutely torn about utilizing assistive devices. I finally agreed to get a disabled parking permit and a shower chair. I am able to use those items because I've learned to see them more as energy-conserving aids. The prospect of a wheelchair is a little more difficult to wrap my mind around. Truth be told, if I have to use a wheelchair from time to time, I want a new, shiny one rather than an old ugly one. I know that it sounds ungrateful, childish and selfish, but it is what it is. My mother-in-law also purchased a few canes at some point in time, but they are all almost as tall as I am! I don't even know the correct way to use a cane, but I'm positive they should be shorter than my chin to be truly useful. I'm sure they are all garage sale/thrift store finds. While I appreciate that she purchases these things with the intent to help, they really don't. She is a borderline hoarder and purchasing these things that are virtually useless doesn't help anyone.
By this morning I'd reconciled myself with using this unwanted gift of an old, ugly wheelchair because I woke up very fatigued, weak, and with lots of tremors in my legs and arms. I knew there was no way I would be able to walk more than a block or two. And, I didn't want to hurt my mother-in-law's feelings by telling my mom I wanted her to bring one of her work's newer, prettier wheelchairs. However, by the time the walk ended, my husband was pretty convinced of the value of pricing/purchasing a new wheelchair because the old, ugly one was so hard to push and maneuver. He almost forcefully dumped me onto the pavement on more than one occasion!
After the MS Walk, Dave, the kids and I went out to eat at one of our favorite local restaurants. Seated near us was a sad-looking man sitting by himself. After we left the restaurant, Dave told me that the gentleman sitting near us does maintenance work at his office. When the check arrived, Dave disappeared for a couple of minutes and I thought he'd gone to the restroom, but shortly after he returned our server brought the debit card receipt for Dave to sign. Dave showed it to me quickly and whispered, "we're paying for this, too" and pointed to a portion of the ticket. He'd intercepted the server and told him that we would be taking care of the gentleman's lunch!
This challenge is not only changing my life, but it's contagious, too! It was so exciting to see my husband make a decision that really is out of character for him. It made me love, respect and appreciate him even more than I already do, if that's even possible. When we got to our vehicle, I asked him, "This giving thing is contagious, huh?" He looked a little sheepish and kind of shrugged his shoulders.
Whatever you all do, don't stop giving! It will impact those around you in ways you never thought possible!