Happy Days

Some days just seem to work out well. Today was one of those. I’m a getting a bit tired already, it’s 10:02 pm.

I started at nine this morning going over the messages I sent yesterday and found some clarifications I needed to make, it took me a few hours to get it right and once I sent that I got on with my business for the day.

My first stop, well my only errand was to pick up money from one bank, my new one holding my GoFundMe money, and take it to Walgreens to deposit onto my Chime card. I decided to drive instead of walk, even as close as it is as I would just next be driving to Walgreens.

I was most impressed when I walked into the branch – especially after taking the opportunity yesterday to remind myself that they’re closed on Wednesdays as I stopped there yesterday on my way to Stone Depot. Walking inside the branch today, the teller, a gentleman that calls himself Q, greeting me by name as he welcomed me to approach his window.

A simple transaction that was made much more pleasant than was expected. After I counted back my bills, I began to part, then looking at his name tag then back to him, I asked his name and its pronunciation. Then I had relay the story of how I will remember his name, an omnipotent being from Star Trek TNG.

From there to Walgreens, to Autozone (an impulse to purchase a 30 amp fuse for the car,) then to Krogers. Just walking in the door I ran into someone I knew from a few years past and it was nice to catch up for a minute or two.

I can’t remember the whole conversation word for word and I do remember feeling very well during and after. She had mentioned she was in the process of apply for a teaching position with the local Drug Free initiative. I didn’t get more details on that, though that does sound like a very interesting opportunity for someone. Rather she asked if I knew some of the people in charge over there, which I do.

Next she asked me if I might have some tips for her, as she’s developing a curriculum to assist homeless people and persons in recovery. I was slightly surprised with her openness and really overjoyed to have been asked my opinion on such an important topic.

Sharing my surprise and wonder, I asked if she was in recovery too. She’s not she said. Next I asked her motives and desires for the work she does and she told me several nice stories. That last story ended with a man that lives in her neighborhood.

She says she’s provided all the resources and she just gets frustrated that she doesn’t know what to do next. She asked me if I’d be willing to help- which I of course responded for sure! I asked what she wanted to know. She asked if I would visit with the man she knows, he lives just kitty corner from her house, sleeping in a small local park.

Having saved some steps from not walking to the bank, I had the ability to stand for a little while longer. I smiled and looked at her, really looked to see what she was feeling. She was being honest, she wanted to be able to help him.

I tried to explain the ways people tried to help me by sending me links and phone numbers. Then I told her that no one ever came over to visit or to check up on me, you know, to make sure those resources had made their way to my home. For the most part, the paperwork is not worth the time for any emergent need, if you can’t get the attention of the human that gives or takes the form.

I had to be as honest as she had been with me, by this time she had pulled out pen and paper to take notes: she was waiting for me to share my resource with her- and I did (here’s the secret, the resource was her.)

I told her that after 18 months today I really felt like I was doing good, I was running my errands and shopping for myself even (I didn’t mention, yet for record I can also keep my house kind of neat now too.)

I suggested that handing her friend forms to fill out might not feel helpful to him if he’s alone and hungry. She replied that he already has food stamps. I asked if he drives. She said he does not. I asked how she got to Krogers today. She said she drove. I asked if she knew where her friend was right now. She said he was probably at the park. I asked if she asked him if he needed a ride to the store today to buy food, being the fact that he was homeless and likely did not have a refrigerator and he would need a fresh supply of food again today.

I didn’t want to make her answer, only to think of my question the next time she saw him. She told me she didn’t want to enable him and I told her that I understood. I reminded her again that my time standing up was precious and I would have to go soon, so I would not fall down before I got home.

I told her that sometimes it’s not easy to teach a friend how to do better and the only way that I know how is to really try to look them in the eye and love them, no matter where at in their life they are. One human being looking at another human being and just offering conversation to help them figure out their next best steps forward. Looking right in her eye I told her this is the kind of things we do for those we care for.

She had a deep slow smile spreading across her face and again she asked me to go visit her friend. I had to remind her of my standing time limit, and suggested that He (seriously, pause. Can I say “They” when referring to God? As in Capital T “They”, referring to the whole trinity?) had already put someone in her friends life that was much closer to serve him already than me.

I pointed out the things she was doing great that her friend needed to learn: look clean clothes and here shopping at Kroger, it has taken me eighteen months, yet I’m already back to this stage too. She started with another question, yet I had to be direct. Boundaries are hard to enforce and I do understand you don’t want to enable him, so you will need to draw your lines, just the same as I do. I wished her well as I began to push my cart on, she returned a gracious blessing on me and that was most of the excitement of the shopping trip.

I saw a few more people that I recognized and chatted with one nice older man at the checkouts. I made a joke about soda pop having no sugar on my side of the aisle (the cooler filled with Mountain Dew Zero,) and had excused myself as I interrupted his path to his checkout machine. That continued briefly and quite jovially.

I started to get frustrated at the end of checking out, and the nice assistant there took a few minutes to explain something to me. The last few times I go to check out the machines are always telling me how to do it, scan next item, place in bagging area, I know, I know. I just move slow, especially when I’ve started to spend too much time on my feet. It just makes it that much harder when the machines enforce their limit- no more than 22 items allowed today, last week it was only 17.

The alarm sounding and Brenna came over to wave her magic card. I apologized as I was slipping too many items through the machine again and I’m not sure if she remembered me from before. She took a minute to explain that their is no numerical limit, just an amount of time before the machine presumes you must be done or have walked away.

I’m too slow to use self checkout machines. Oh, Lord. I can’t even finish that prayer, no words, a smile, a smirk, a grin? You already know, smh. Then walking out of Krogers, I saw someone I hadn’t seen in nearly thirty years: Teresa. The woman that trained me to develop photographs at the Meijer photo lab in 1995. She looks a bit different, now out of retirement to enjoy a few days a week helping shoppers at Kroger. Nice to know I can still pick out a face.

In other news, I received my welcome packet to the Neurology department today. What a happy day. There is nothing more comfortable to know that everything really could just be in my mind.

Well, at least now that they are going to start looking inside of my mind. My TBI is causing (I think,) the left side hemiparesis in addition to my syrinx causing my lower limb paraparesis. Both of these conditions were hidden behind the more obvious physical injuries to my ankle/femur/pelvis/spine/ribs that have all healed well’ish (and will hopefully heal better after all this hardware is taken out.)

The combination of them both makes my left leg almost entirely unusable, except for my spinal cord injury has also activated my spasticity. Which, being a whole new body reflex took some time to get used to and train, and I have now figured how how to propel myself forward using a standing approach.

Hmm.. I might makes some phone calls tomorrow and see what I can learn about this teacher opportunity.

Time to rest.





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