Which way to go?

I am at the doctor’s office using the handicap accessible washroom. I’m seated on the toilet with my right hand holding the grab bar and I’m stuck. I have no idea how I’m going to get up. I consider calling out for help and wonder if people in the waiting room will be able to hear me. This has happened before; I regularly get stuck in accessible washrooms.

There is a knock at the door. A voice asks, “Rita, how are you doing in there?”  “I’m stuck,” I reply. The voice responds,”Let me know if you need any help.”  I say nothing; I’m used to doing things by myself. I’m too tired to ask for the help that I need and too tired to explain what I need.  So I set my resolve to try again. I manage to lift myself up, but my feet can’t bear my weight and I drop back down. Alone and facing my wheelchair, I want to cry.

A voice whispers, ‘you can’t choose your problems,  you can only choose the solution.‘ Surprised by the clarity of the voice in my head, I repeat it with confidence. I remind myself that I’m at the doctor’s office and it’s time to get up. I resolve to use what I learned at physiotherapy. I know which muscles to engage and how to concentrate and breathe into  movement. I raise myself off the seat. First try, I get a little bit higher. Second try, I feel steadier. On the third try, I’m on my feet. I swivel the feet slowly and carefully. I switch hand positions, from grab bar to wheelchair and dump myself down. Finally, I’m sitting on my wheelchair. I resolve to do my exercises regularly; if only to get myself off my derrière with ease. Next time…

The image above is one of my most favourite paintings, “A Peaceful Waterfall” by Toronto artist Joanna Strong. See more of her work at http://joannastrong.com/

11 thoughts on “Which way to go?

  1. Nancy Creed

    I am reading your wonderful post and viewing this amazing photo early Sunday morning…while listening to ‘Dig a Little Deeper in the Well”. Somehow fitting! You are so courageous, Rita. I admire you so much. xox

    1. rita kindl myers Post author

      I like the image of ‘digging a little deeper’. It does fit with the sentiment of this blog post. You make me giggle at the thought of being courageous in the bathroom…

      1. Nancy Creed

        Courage in the bathroom! 🙂 Yet this is where it counts so often. And, choosing the solution is a good mantra for us all. Thanks again for this post.

  2. Jenny

    I could so imagine the “accessible ” bathroom and how hard to get up. And how no help comes. Rita , so well done and well told too.

  3. wordpicnic

    Hi Rita, I love the tone that you achieve in your blog,somewhere in between stoicism and despair, i.e. a more human, emotionally charged space that gives the reader an insight into the real you navigating the space between the toilet and the wheelchair. You might be amused by my incident in Japan, seated alone on an electronic toilet for what seemed like a very long time; the warm jets of water underneath me, front and rear, just would not turn off. I eventually leapt off the seat as fast as I could, my panties and capris getting pretty soaked. I joined a group of friends outside the door, who had begun to worry that something had happened to me. When my friend translated what had happened, everyone had a good laugh!

      1. Nancy Creed

        I’ve told you mine: about the tarantula in the corner of the outhouse at the pyramid site in, I think, Guatemala many moons ago. (Pun unintended.)

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