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If Real Life Had Thought Bubbles

Obstacle for wheelchair – 3D render

Here’s a little exercise to bring you right into the action with me on this one. 

Reach down to the inside of your left ankle.  Feel that knobby bone?  Now, reach just below that, not quite to the arch of your foot, but to the soft tissue part in between.  Feel that?

I rammed Tucker’s wheelchair into thatObstacle for wheelchair - 3D render.

I got him stuck on a curb, halfway up and halfway down.  His rear wheels were on the sidewalk, his front wheels were down on the road, and the axle of the wheelchair was stuck on the edge of the curb.

(Please give me extra points here for using the word axle.)  (Unless a wheelchair doesn’t have an axle.  Then just leave me alone.)

Tuck was stuck.  And the vaudevillian nature of the whole thing threw us into a fit of giggles, right there in the precarious place between the sidewalk and the road.  I stood in front of him, facing him, with my hands on his armrests and my hope in supernatural strength that wasn’t coming, let me tell you.  At a literal impasse, we rested our foreheads against each other and just laughed. 

When I managed to dislodge him, I was still quite foolishly standing right in front of him.  So the rod of the foot pedal stabbed into that soft tissue above the arch of my foot.  All laughter stopped.  And I sat down on the sidewalk to assess the damage, the swelling purple lump, the broken skin, and the searing pain. 

If real life included thought bubbles, mine would have been all symbols, special characters, and lots of exclamation marks.

I pictured what might ensue next if I couldn’t stand up, and it included so many things I just really wasn’t up for.  None of us are, actually. 

And that’s when I said to Tucker, to myself, and especially to my throbbing foot, “Nope.  Hm-mmm.  No way.  Ain’t nobody got time for this.” 

Using the handles of his wheelchair as my own walker, I got us to the car.  And home.  And iced.

Tuck said later, “Mommy, I thought you broke your foot.  I still don’t know how you got up again.”

“Well, sometimes the mom just has to get up, buddy.”

“Sometimes she has to get up and keep laughing, right?”

I smiled, picturing again our foreheads against each other.  “Yep.  Exactly right.”

p.s. If anybody asks, I’m so over this whole summer situation.

Tricia Lott Williford

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  1. Wheelchair tip, always pull backwards up a step onto a sidewalk, being careful to lean the chair back slightly until the front wheels are able to clear the step.

  2. Ouch! So sorry for your unnecessary empathetic pain… and admittedly, I’m a bit relieved that it wasn’t Tuck’s foot that got jammed somehow – my heart broke for him. Go ahead & limp a bit, mama, you’ve earned it. Then, get back to laughing. May you both heal fully and quickly.

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