Crises come up in all our lives. A limb is broken, an illness won't go away, time is taken off of work and routines suffer. For a person with a disability, these events can be disproportionately troublesome. Recently Emery broke her ankle. Routine break, a couple screws, a plate, yes there's six weeks of healing but then you are back on your two feet and going. But, when Emy heals she's back on her one foot. This thing she's broken is a one-of-a-kind part of her body, and that has afforded it some added worth. It is all the more serious when it’s compromised.
Emy has come home from hospital and has been staying with her aunt until she can get into our apartment, which has a few steps out front. It's amazing the difference that 8 steps can make. I think about them a lot while we're driving here, or when I'm being dropped off at home; Three down, a landing, three more down, two up, and our door. There's a slight lift but I now know it would be easily navigable with a chair. I had real difficulty remembering how many there were when the doctor asked if there were stairs at our place, suddenly I register each one individually as I walk home.
She hasn't had much chance to leave the house, so we go to a shopping plaza nearby, where we know there is a starbucks, safehaven of accessibility. I've gotten smoother taking the wheelchair out of the back of the car and setting it up, like muscle memory is kicking in.
I think about how I might be taking care of Em now, in terms of fetching or pushing or watching car transfers and disembarkments, but it's only a matter of time before she may be doing this for me. I start to see other couples and wonder which will become older faster, which one will have arthritis that renders jars like padlocks, which one will lose their hearing quicker and their sunday TV will then be subtitled.
She heals quickly and learns tricks fast- Emery is bounding off the bed into her chair before me in the morning, and groggily, I pad after her in the still-dark hallway. I stub my toe on the way out. A sense of normalcy has fallen and I find that there are new routines, new obstacles, and new shticks that occupy our time. It feels like we’re ready to be home.