Thursday, May 04, 2006

May 4, 2006 - Flat Tire

This morning I awake tired, but not feeling too nauseous. I have an 11:00 physical therapy appointment, so getting there is my main order of business today.

It takes some doing. The medications are keeping the nausea down to a slightly queasy feeling, but the fatigue is with me in earnest.

I’m feeling so wiped out, I almost call and cancel the appointment, but I decide to give it a try anyway. I’m feeling pretty tired, and mention that to Aga, the therapist who sets me up on the seated stair-stepper machine, for my five minutes or so of warm-up. Marcia, the senior physical therapist whom I’ve worked with before, comes over a couple minutes later and asks me how I’m feeling, so I tell her. I must look pale – or perhaps it’s evident how out-of-breath I am already – so she says I should stop my exercise and just go home and rest.

Well, at least I gave it a try, I think to myself. I go outside to my car, and discover I’ve got a flat tire.

That puts me in something of a dilemma. The service station is only 4 or 5 blocks away, but the tire’s so flat I know I can’t drive on it. I’m also not feeling physically strong enough, at the moment, to wrestle with the lug-nuts and jack. I could sit in the car and call Triple-A and ask them to send someone over to change it, but that usually involves waiting with the car for an hour or more, and I don’t have the stamina for that, the way I’m feeling. Our house is only a 3-block walk from the physical-therapy center – more exercise than Marcia had in mind, I’m sure, when she told me to go home and rest – but I choose this as my best option. It’s a nice day, and I can take it slow.

Once I get home, I call Claire, thinking that maybe I can leave the car there most of the day and ask her to drive over after work and call Triple-A (she’s not much of one for changing tires herself). She suggests I call our son, Benjamin, and see if he’s got any free time between college classes to drive over and help. It turns out he does, and is willing, but he’s never had to change a tire before, so he doesn’t know how. I suggest he pick me up at the house, drive me over to the parking lot and I’ll talk him through it.

That’s exactly what we do. Ben gets a life-lesson on how to change a tire, and I get to drive the car over to the service station myself after he's done. He gives me a lift back home, then heads off to his afternoon classes and his evening job as a restaurant cook.

All this is a bit more excitement than I’d expected for my first day after a chemo treatment, but it is what it is. A flat tire – maybe it’s a metaphor for what my life is like at the moment. My life isn’t going anywhere for a while, but at least it’s repairable – or so Dr. Lerner seems to be telling me.


Anonymous said...

What a bummer! A flat? How unlikely is that? And the previous post about the BYOD . . . I think perhaps your energy was sapped by sheer frustration!

I know it was a good experience for Benj, but remember, there are lots of us out here to call on. (No, I don't change tires, but I'm pretty experienced at waiting for AAA.)


Mary Beth said...

One of the advantages of having a Dad who was in the gas/repair business is that he taught all his kids (3girls and 1 boy) how to change a flat at an early age. The kind of thing you pick up just from seeing it done enough times. This skill has come in very handy on more than one occassion. I remember one time, many moons ago, I was driving my sister Kathy back to Newark airport so that she could go back to Texas (her undergrad and Master's schools). We got a flat tire right before the Driscoll bridge. I pulled over, we both got out, changed the tire, in under 15 minutes, I remember looking at my watch, and she got to the airport in plenty of time for her flight. (Which by the way IS the SCHROEDER way).

You can be grateful that your flat happened on a nice day in a good neighborhood!

It is also a lesson in sometimes you just have to say, "enough is enough".