Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends….
……….We’re so glad you could attend..come inside….. Come inside….
Karnevil 9. Sometimes it feels apropos to me, and is a really good song by Emerson, Lake and Palmer.
Why apropos, you may ask? Because when I blog, I blog about the good things in my head, mostly. I don’t much give you a glimpse into the bad things knocking around in the ol’ noggin. That is counter productive to my recovery, and no fun reading for you.
But, lately, I have had thoughts I can not ignore. Now, before I go any further, I want you to know this post is not a finger pointing session, or a gripe session. This is simply me expressing some of my thoughts.
I recently had a conversation with an old friend. When I was in the hospital he came to visit me. I remember the visit, and some of the conversation. I was still riding the effects of coma drugs like a bucking bronco, so I was loopy. I said some weird things, I know. I was in real bad physical shape, as well.
My old friend told me in our conversation he never came back to visit again because he couldn’t stand to see me like I was. I totally understand. But, he did come to visit once, and I am so glad for that.
That recent conversation got me thinking a bit deeper. You know, none of us like going to funerals, for a lot of reasons. We don’t like to see the pain of our friends or loved ones who survive the loss. We don’t want to say that final farewell. For me, and I am sure a lot of you if you cared to admit it, it is also the thought some day that might be me, or one of my loved ones that wake is being thrown for.
I wonder if that is the same premise behind the reason I don’t get many visitors. Is the thought of seeing me, legs gone and hand a mess, too much of a reminder of man’s frailty and mortality?
I have long since discovered that the looks I can get out in public are not just pity. When I catch someone staring at me and see guilt on their face, I understand. We all feel a certain amount of guilt when we think “I am so glad that ain’t me sitting in that wheelchair.” I personally have felt that guilt. While I was in the hospital in Madisonville, I was told of a poor young woman who had her legs and BOTH hands amputated. I felt so guilty thinking I was glad I still had what I had.
So, I know what it is like to have that “glad it ain’t me” feeling, as well.
Still, I know what I am now is hard to think about for some. I myself sometimes, in darker moments in my head, think of myself as a carnival side show attraction. “Come one, come all! Come see the bearded lady! Come see the two headed cow! Come see the legless man!”
It isn’t pretty, but not all my thoughts are. Do I remind people of their own mortality? Do I make them feel guilty for being glad it isn’t them in my chair? I wonder. I really do.
This whole situation has changed my view on life, and has had lots of new thoughts floating in the morass of my mind.
Case in point: romantic relationships. It is going to be harder for me to find one, with the way I am now. Wait! I know what you are going to say. There is some one out there for me, right? Consider this and flip it over in your own mind to ponder. If you had the option of two different people to date, both having similar qualities, but one happened to have no legs and only one good hand……. Don’t lie to yourself, or me. You know that would make a difference.
Imagine spending the rest of your life with someone with my disabilities. On bad days you would have to prepare and bring meals in bed. Empty bedside urinals. Possibly help with a bed pan. As time progressed and that person aged, using prosthetic legs would become harder, and a wheelchair would be the only option. Imagine being in your later years and helping that person to just go to the bathroom. Lugging that chair around and dragging it in and out of the car for out of the house trips. Pushing that chair around.
Be honest. Don’t lie to yourself. This is what might eventually happen to some woman that got into a relationship with me. That is commitment that most people don’t have anymore. I have seen marriages fall apart over snoring. Really……
I am getting a little off point, here, aren’t I?
I have to tell you, since I have been home I have been amazed at the people who have came to visit me. Of course, my good friends from Evansville come to see me often on their way to the lakes. But the others….
The others that have come to visit, they were the ones that never once made a promise to come visit. They just stopped by. And I was so glad for the company, let me tell you. But I was mostly glad to know that things hadn’t changed. They thought they could just stop on by without a call ahead, because I was the same person I have always been.
Yea, I am different in a physical sense, but I am still the same person, mostly, inside my head. Now, here is the part where I really want to emphasize again that this is not meant as a guilt trip post. Because it is not. I promised myself I would be honest with myself, and you, my readers when I started this blog. That is all this next part is.
So, don’t be guilty as you read ahead, I am not pointing fingers.
Everybody is great over on my facebook page. I get well wishes and comments all the time. I get PMs and emails as well. All upbeat, all happy. These things are so easy. I don’t see any faces when I read emails. I don’t see any pity in the PMs. It is all so personal and impersonal all at the same time.
I have had so many of my friends tell me they are going to stop by to say hello, but never have. I am ok with that. I understand. There is work, there are family obligations. Weekends are meant for catching up on chores not done during the week, and spending time with your family.
I understand. The thought of seeing me is great, and telling me is even better. I understand as well that the thought of seeing me in a chair, or with prosthetic legs may just be more than you can handle. What would you say? What if I caught you staring at my hand? Would I be offended? Would seeing me remind you of your own mortality? Would you feel guilty for being whole while I sat there now incomplete?
The answer to most of those questions would be yes, save one. No, I would not be offended. You would be surprised at what it takes to offend me anymore. I have learned to be very humble since this has happened to me.
But anyway, yes. I understand. I know deep down inside some might see me as that carnival attraction. In the carnival, you don’t have to feel guilt. You can let those feelings of amazement, and possibly horror, cross your face. In the carnival all bets are off. Anything goes and you can stare away at the things you wouldn’t in any other situation.
You don’t have to feel guilty about being normal and whole at the carnival.
Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends, were so glad you could attend….
Come inside, come inside…..