A somewhat lighter blog tonight…
This morning we had one of those lengthy discussions that made me sit up and ask “what kind of daze have I been walking in?” During the week when I’m not at doctor’s appointments or accompanying Elizabeth, I am at work. So I look forward to Friday nights as I know there won’t be any more work or doctor’s appointments for two days. I come home and mentally switch off my responsibilities.
Today I realized, with a little help, that one of those responsibilities I have been switching off is taking care of Elizabeth. Sure, I’m still making meals and giving her pills (sometimes) and getting groceries, etc., but I don’t do the things I do during the week. For example, during the week I call her late mornings to check if she’s had her pills and her juice. In the afternoon I call to make sure her care worker has given her the lunch I prepared and that she’s eating it.
But on the weekends, I sleep in late (10:30) and by the time I get around to making lunch it’s 2 or 3 pm, if I have it at all (hey it is almost dinner time, why not wait until then!). I also don’t check on her as frequently as I do when I’m home in the evening during the week. On weekends I take away the stability a routine offers. This was today’s first “A Ha!” moment.
This lack of stability is usually because I’m so focused on my own activities. Elizabeth pointed this out. Reflecting on past weekends I can see that she’s right. That reflection was my second “A Ha!” moment. Each Friday I think “I’m going to do x, y and z” this weekend and rarely does this include Elizabeth (or even TELL Elizabeth, or ASK Elizabeth what she is planning on doing, etc). Today I was planning on vacuuming, cleaning the living room windowsill, and planting my herbs and putting them on the clean sill.
Instead, I did none of the above and we spent some time together. So what did we do? We went training. Actually, I went cycling and she trained with her wheelchair racing chair. As this was her first time out in the chair after it got fixed, she wanted to practice steering and breaking where it wasn’t too busy and had very few stop signs. We packed the van with her two chairs and my bike and drove down to the village a few minutes away.
She had spent some time planning a route which only had two stop signs and one yield. Half of it was also part of the route for several Victoria races throughout the year, including the TC 10K we did in April.
She had only been wheeling a couple of minutes when she had her first hill. As I watched her I could see how difficult it was to push, push, push slowly up. “Boy, she’s going to be hurting tonight” I told myself.
A downhill and a couple more turns later and we were on the waterfront. It was a gorgeous day – sunny but not too hot – and like ever other time I see this view, I pondered why I don’t come down to the waterfront more often (still no answer). Looking out over the water I can see the Olympic mountains and I know on the other side of the straight (about 18 miles) are Cheryl and Maggie.
While I’m pondering, Elizabeth is hard at work. She needs to stay close to the centre of the road as it is the flattest area. This does not make the drivers in vehicles behind her happy. Since staying close to the side risks Elizabeth hitting the curb and flipping over, she doesn’t much care if the car behind her has to take TWO OUNCES of pressure off the gas while she is out there pumping her arms off. There were more vehicles than I had anticipated, but that made sense as other people wanted to enjoy the waterfront on such a nice day, too. Fortunately, there were plenty of breaks for vehicles to overtake her in the oncoming lane.
She waved at a couple of motorcycle groups and they waved back. The majority of the last half of her route was uphill, with a head on ocean wind. It caused a lot of resistance and made the uphills for her even harder. In sympathy of Elizabeth’s plight, I decided to change my bike gears to make it harder to pedal. She kept going and eventually made it to the top of the hill, turned and was rewarded with a slight downhill back to the van.
We stopped at the van and I assumed we were going home.
“That’s my lap,” Elizabeth said.
Alarm bells went off in my head. Lap? As in, one of many?
“You planning on doing another one? It took over 30 minutes to do this one.”
“Well YES, I know, now we have a lap time.”
I stared at her.
She explained, “I need to do it quicker.”
Okay, you know Elizabeth, should I have been surprised? No, I don’t think so. I have a hard time saying no, so I resigned myself to another lap and a painful night for Elizabeth and an interrupted night for me. (Elizabeth: Oh, I am SO cruel to Linda by pushing myself up hills with my arms – ha, I can barely get her to wake when I need help getting to bed, if the Red Cross bed didn’t squeak so much she would NEVER wake up”.)
So Elizabeth was off again. This time as she worked her way up the first hill a bus driver kept honking his horn at her indicating she should move over. He had room to pass, but was just being rude. As he passed, he changed his electronic sign in the rear of the bus to “Yield” – his message to Elizabeth. Well, she had one of her own and involved a finger – too bad he couldn’t see it wrapped in her glove! Jerk!!
To cut a long story short, she did her second lap over 4 minutes quicker than the first. She feels if she trains regularly for the next few weeks she’ll be ready for the race on Canada Day, July 1st. This 10k race is to raise funds for Canadian Olympic and Para Olympic Athletes.
We made it home around 2:30 – just in time for me to start making waffles for brunch (see what I mean about messing up the routine?). While eating we watched half an episode of Waking The Dead. (One of the less strenuous activities we do together is watch TV series on DVD. Elizabeth orders British series from Amazon.co.uk and the ones I like we watch together. See, another way she shows she cares! It is also fun to see familiar UK stuff and hear the slang)
We both napped and I got up early to put the roast into the oven. I often make roasts on the weekend as it’s a ‘real meal’ and as an added bonus gives us leftovers so less cooking the next day. When Elizabeth awoke, she gently suggested that perhaps we could brainstorm some meal options that didn’t involve the oven on for long periods of time during the hot summer. Our room temperature went up 2 degrees, even with the air conditioner on. I was having similar thoughts as I put the roast into the oven. Great minds think alike. Now we just need to find some time to brainstorm quick meal ideas.
We finished our evening by watching the rest of the Waking the Dead episode and then each taking a computer and working on this blog. While I was busy writing, she worked on the photos I took earlier this afternoon and created this video for your enjoyment (Click on the title link below video to see the full page version).
Wheelchair girl goes race training: #1 ocean to hills from Elizabeth McClung on Vimeo.
4 hours ago