Saturday, March 21, 2009

I Wasn’t Going to Watch, but…

After a long and (for me) wearing day that included two medical appointments at two different VA medical centers and two trips to the drug store to fill prescriptions, I was exhausted when I returned home at 3:00 p.m. yesterday. Of course, I wasn’t as bushed as I could have been; Tasha and my new wheelchair saved me from walking five or six hundred yards in Veteran Administration parking lots and buildings.

I thanked Tasha for her excellent assistance. My new wheeling is big and incredibly heavy. If it were a ship, I’d term it a dreadnought.

The wheelchair, with me in it, is too heavy for Tasha to push uphill. So, I walked up those areas—especially the steep ramp leading into the VA hospital. (Why a hospital was so designed I don’t know).

The wheelchair is also too wide to fit through the exterior doors of one VA clinic. So I got out of the chair, Tasha folded it, and then pushed it through the door where I was again able to ride in it. The chair is also too large to fit through the interior doors of the clinic, so again I had to leave the wheelchair and hobble through the doors, where I sat in chair much too small for my bulk. (See my comment at the end of the paragraph, above).

I’ll not learn the results of the two medical visits until at least next week; the one that was the most difficult is the one that means the most to me: recertification for oxygen. If I don’t “pass” that test the VA could remove the oxygen from me. I have my fingers crossed!

Do I need to say that by the time I returned home I was physically drained and really in need of a nap? I just wanted to exchange the portable oxygen tank for my CPAP and collapse in bed!

Unfortunately I couldn’t do that. The furball had scatted out the door when I left for the medical appointments and I wanted to make sure he was safe before I napped. Alex wasn’t in front of my house or napping on my neighbor’s porch. When I called his name, he didn’t come running across the lawns as he often does.

So I shuffled my way to the back door and went out on the deck. I almost didn’t see Alex: he was curled up, sunning himself on a deck chair on the far side of the deck table. I called him—and he either didn’t hear me or he ignored me. So I hobbled across the deck and stood above my sun-bathing cat and ruffled his ears. That got his attention!

Alex uncurled himself, stood up, stretched, leaped off the chair, and strolled across the deck and into the house. By the time I caught up with him, he was sitting of our his table and staring at his food bowls. Yeah, both bowls had food in them from his breakfast, but that makes no difference to Alex. He demanded both his favorite wet meal and that some kitty kat treats be added to his dry food. I gave him both, scratched hi head, and brushed his coat. I was yawning all the while.

Finally I shuffled into the bedroom, attached the oxygen hose to the CPAP, and collapsed on (in) to the bed. I slept soundly for about four hours and only awaked when I became aware that I had a cat curled up on my face. I decided to get out of bed, which I did, and then repeated the procedure I discussed in the previous paragraph regarding Alex and his food.

While feeding Alex I began to feel hungry—I had not eaten since breakfast. I had received in the mail a coupon for a $5.00 medium pizza; so I went online and ordered it to be delivered. Since I was still feeling a bit sleep-deprived, I reclined in my new lift chair, and flipped on the TV. After surfing for a bit, I encountered a NCAA (basketball) tournament game.

I am not a great basketball fan. I prefer to watch (in this order) football, soccer, and baseball. I never get March Madness and don’t even watch the tournament unless one of the universities from which I have a degree is playing. Since I have degrees from the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville, it is often the case that one if not both are among the final sixteen teams.

I only learned that the University of Louisville was in the tournament when I heard that President Obama had stated that he believed that the University of North Carolina would defeat U of L in the championship game..

So I wasn’t completely surprised when I surfed to a NCAA game in which the University of Louisville was playing another Kentucky school, Morehead University, where several of my friends attended college. A few minutes later the pizza arrived, so I returned to the life chair, and settled back to watch the game.

A few minutes later, I decided I needed something to drink with the pizza and, when I opened the refrigerator, I saw that I still had five beers left from the St. Patrick’s Day 6-pack that I had purchased. I opened a bottle and returned to the lift chair and the pizza.

I hadn’t planned to watch the NCAA Tournament! But here I was, reclining in front of the TV, watching basketball, eating pizza and drinking a beer which I believe a few million other American dudes and dudettes are doing during this March Madness!

It was actually a neat experience, especially after the demanding day I had had. It was even enjoyable when Alex decided to jump up on my stomach and explore the pizza I was eating. I think he did sample a bit of sausage before he decided it wasn’t his kind of food and jumped down to the floor to groom his handsome self!

I may watch more basketball during this year’s March Madness!


  1. Well the wheelchair sounds like a good idea for you but it's ridiculous that you have difficulty with access. In fact, it's getting typical, esp in this country. There is so much still to be done for disabled people and instead of spending all these millions of pounds on rubbish projects, the government should start thinking about citizens and their motobility.

    CJ xx

  2. You had a cat curled up on your face? Maybe you don't really need extra oxygen, you just need something to keep the furry obstructions out of your airway!

  3. I laughed when I read ThomasLB's comment. Furry obstructions!!! lol

    Have a wonderful weekend.

  4. It's ridiculous that hospitals don't have proper disabled access! I hope the results of the tests come out in your favour Nick, I'll keep my fingers crossed for you m'dear and send Reiki to the situation. x

  5. Cats make all the difference around here, and they have to be just as careful. It seems beyond belief that a hospital would lack such basics, but sadly I think it's the same the world over.

  6. I do love March Madness. Sounds like you had a pretty relaxing evening watching a game.

  7. That's terrible about the medical buildings! I thought there was a law about access for the disabled?

    Alex is such a card! I love the way you describe is actions.

    I watched Louisville defeat Morehead. I was torn between the two. You know, don't you, that Western Kentucky is also in the tournament? That's 3 Kentucky schools and the University of Kentucky is in the National Invitational Tournament.

  8. I hope your tests keep the oxygen coming. Can't believe that you'd have to qualify more than once for that.

    I don't really care for sports, but I can stand to watch some basketball.

  9. Keep up the good work you are an example to us all!!!

  10. SEC is out of the dance so I will not be watching. I will keep an eye on the girls game. I always crave a beer with pizza.
    Alex is hooked on kitty cocaine. Maggie dog gets hooked on people food and refuses to eat but then relutantly goes back to the food bowl. She will pout and go in her crate just like a little kid. Aren't animals wonderful? Sam Cat is just happy that all the company has gone home so he can now have the house to prowl around in at night. Keep an eye on the BP and I hope all the test come out well. Peace

  11. It is ridiculous that a hospital doorway is not wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair.
    And they seriously would take your oxygen off you?
    How are you meant to breathe if they do that?

  12. Crystal Jigsaw: I agree with you 100%! The first church I pastored (for 11 years) was a 130 tear old building. The only access was up about 15 steps. When I saw that and the elderly congregation, I attempted to convince them to make the sanctuary mor3e accessible, with an elevator or an inclined ramp. Among other things, I said to them one Sunday, “As I look at you I realize that some of you will not be able to get into this sanctuary in a few years.” I was right. Still, they refused to vote to make the church accessible.

  13. Thomas: Yep! Alex curls up any place he desires, including on my face. I understand that that’s a cat’s prerogative! Of course, since I sleep wearing a CPAP, he doesn’t stop me from breathing.

  14. Finding Pam: Thanks! Yep, that’s partly why I call Alex a furball.

  15. Akelamalu: Thank you. The hospital doors are generally wide enough for the wheelchair; the steep ramp and long walking distances from parking are the prime problems there. The clinic, where my case manager and one other doctor are—and where I go the most often—is the one that has the small doors, including the outside entrance. Of course, that’s rented space and the building wasn’t designed for medical offices. At least, I don’t think it was.

  16. Maddy: I came to realize that I am Alex’s servant several years ago. The reason I got out of bed as early as I did this morning is that Alex asked—make that “demanded”—to go outside and cat around.

  17. Travis: Yep, I had a very relaxing evening; I truly enjoyed the game, the pizza, and the beer.

    I drink very little beer, probably less than a six-pack a year. However, that one beer the other night certainly did relax me.

  18. Abby: Yes, I believe there is a law about disability access to buildings, but I no longer remember what it covers.

    When I wrote this post I didn’t realize that Western Kentucky University was also in the NCAA Tournament. Mother told me! Of course, my sister is a alumnus of WKU and I suppose that it was she who told Mom.

  19. Squirl: Yep, I had to quality for the oxygen twice last year and this time it was for the coming year. I really can’t understand why: the doctors tell me that one does not “recover” from COPD.

  20. mutleythedog : Thank you, Your Doggieness! I shall as long as I am able.

  21. Lady Di Tn: I noticed that about the SEC. And I remembered that about me and pizza and beer!

    Yep, animals are wonderful! I think Alex can identify with Sam Cat: when there are guests in the house, Alex usually hides. Poor Maggie! Muffin was addicted to people food, too. When we lived in southern Indiana Muffin knew the best garbage cans to raid for people food, especially steak bones.

  22. Cath: Well, I’m happy to say that it was the hospital doorway that wasn’t wide enough but the clinic doorway. Still, it is absurd that any public building is inaccessible to folks—and especially a building that houses a Federal agency.

    If I didn’t pass this test for oxygen, I get three more tries before they cut me off. Last year, after I was approved initially for oxygen, they did a confirmation test six weeks later and then reduced my bottled oxygen supply by 25% because they said that I didn’t need it when stationary.

    Since I use the bottled oxygen primarily as an emergency back-up to the oxygen concentrator and for trips beyond my home (when standing or walking I definitely do need the oxygen, even moving around inside my house), they effectively reduced my ability to get out of the house by 25%.

  23. I am watching the tournament, but without UK in it I’m not having much fun.

    When you describe living with Alex, I always smile.

    The Veterans Administration is just a bureaucracy and like any bureaucracy lacks heart and, generally, brains.

  24. Louisville may very well win it . My friends think so . I picked a dark horse Memphis Sandy