Sunday, May 25, 2008

Night on the Town II

Do you ever feel like there's somebody out there making things fall into place? Last night was one of those times for me.

I had bought tickets to the Special Olympics Prom simply to be supportive, one of those things we have done for Walker's sake through the years without much enthusiasm. I detest formal affairs, and only attend when I absolutely can't find a way to avoid them.

Yesterday morning my back pain had escalated to the point that I ended up not going to a funeral that I really felt called to attend. I simply could not get dressed. Later that afternoon, in absolute desperation, I finally got on a back stretching machine that a friend has insisted I borrow to aleviate some of my aches and pains.

The ugly black machine had been cluttering up my living room for a week or so. Frankly, I mostly believe in "real" medicine, the kind my insurance pays for done by people in white, or sometimes pastel, medical outfits. But I was desperate to ease an impossible pain down my thigh and just hoped that maybe doing that might get me on my feet for the prom. It certainly couldn't be any worse than the awful knee injections I've been getting for the past month.

It wasn't a pretty sight getting me hooked up to the thing. I'm incredibly short overall, particularly short legged. My ever-helpful husband, who I am absolutely sure is ready to go back to Viet Nam rather than deal with my complaints by now, gave me one of his typically wordy instruction lectures. Then he made all the parts fit me, completely overlooking the fact that my height and weight didn't exactly match on their chart, even if I fudged a few pounds on the weight. He very gently helped me overcome my terror of heights and pretty serious anxiety that I might slide off on my head and be paralyzed forever. (The shorter you are, the higher off the ground the thing makes you feel, I think.) I finally relaxed enough to stay on it for a few minutes, definitely with very low expectations, even as my anxiety decreased. When I got off, I realized that I was walking with considerable more ease. My left knee was still sore, but it was a familiar soreness. My back had relaxed, and the knife stabbing my thigh had been removed, at least temporarily.

Over the course of the afternoon, I tried the machine another time or two, increasing my time to five minutes, and finally figuring out a way to get on and off it alone. (Those of you who know me can probably understand how much I didn't want to be dependent on my spouse indefinitely.)

We went to the Prom, saw lots of old friends we hadn't seen with any regularity over the past fifteen years or so. It was a class reunion of an alma mater we never would have chosen.

Walker looked so handsome in his tuxedo, and the planners had made a conscious effort to allow the Special Olympics athletes enter on a red carpet to much fanfare, flashbulb popping, and video coverage. The handlers, politely told us that I would be escorted by a gentleman assigned the task of escorting mothers, with my husband following. Walker felt like a movie star. He greeted old friends and glad handed like a polititian and gave his signature salute to the cameras. An old girlfriend in a pretty pink dress asked him to dance, although he soon deserted her to play air guitar and other appropriate instruments in front of the Dee Jay for the remainder of the night.

Bill's machine made a difference in my life yesterday. His insistence that it would work fell on deaf ears, but my affection for this Brit who married one of my best friends a few years ago convinced me to try it just to be polite. Somebody or something made my back fall into place and allowed me enjoy a night out.

I hope I will be more open to things I don't really believe in in the future. I hope I'll always have good friends who care about me enough to convince me to try something that seems ridiculous or frightens me.



1 comment:

Sharon Fargo said...

What a beautiful picture!