Friday, March 27, 2009

Paralysis and pain






Do you know how life sometimes throws a strange confluence of events at you?

Well today I blame it on my shoes.

As I rummaged through my overstuffed closet in a frantic search for something to wear this morning, I thought. . . Should it be the flats . . . Or the high heeled boots?

And damn! Did I make the wrong choice!

I could have survived the morning alright . . . for it started the way it seems I start most mornings these days . . . with a funeral . . . and knowing that I was wearing those boots on the hard tile floor, I consciously conserved steps . . . taking the lazy-man's-load with every load I carried. (I bet you didn't think that one woman could carry the candle lighter, holy water, pall, incensor, and crucifix all in one trip, but I did it!)

But if I told you what ensued after that. . . you would be exhausted yourself!

Let it just suffice to say that my sweet little "Dora" (not little, actually, probably 400 pounds blown-dry) was struck by a hit-and-run driver while crossing the street in her wheelchair and I had to rush to the hospital to be there with her.

Are you family? they asked.

No, but I'm the closest thing she has, I found myself answering. . .

And because - thank God - she was not seriously injured, we sat and talked about life while we waited. . .

And you know. . . I was going to relate our whole conversation here . . . but the long and the short of it is that her husband "Meke" had an epileptic seizure 20 years ago when their son was small and he's been paralyzed from the waist, down ever since. Her son, also, was struck by a hit-and-run driver about 10 years ago and is severely disabled. And our dear Dora, who is diabetic, morbidly obese, and has a long-term injury from an automobile accident years ago, has been left to care for her disabled husband "Meke" ever since. . . living in my town's equivalent of "the Projects" and relying on his disability, medicaid, and the church's outreach to make ends meet.

And after a stop at Walgreens to fill her pain meds, I dropped her at her "home" and watched her make her way slowly up the wheelchair ramp. . . . paralyzed, myself, with fear of getting in too deep.

And as I put my little Fred Flintstone feet into my foot massager tonight, I can't help but think about Dora, and pray that the few phone calls I was able to make on her behalf may someday bring her the relief she needs.

Why? I wonder. Why is life so painful for some, but not for others?

The answer, I guess, we will only know after someone else has exhausted their feet preparing our funeral for us. . .