We used to see each other every week day. But it has been twenty years since the company we worked for closed. We no longer see each other regularly but we have remained friends. I ‘m the youngest of our group and usually the driver. The years have not been kind to my friends. One has battled cancer and walks with a walker. She recently celebrated her 88th birthday. Her daughter lives with her and her son is near by. She needs oxygen. The other, just two years younger, has Parkinson’s and severe arthritis and has moved into a senior housing complex.
This summer has been extremely busy for me — I’m gone more often than I’m home. Plans were made for the three of us to get together. The day was beautiful — blue skies, warm temperature. I would drive. No problem! Until I reached my friend’s house and saw a wheelchair sitting by the trunk of her car. I learned her ability to walk long distances has decreased and she needed the wheel chair. Her son showed me how to work her portable oxygen tank and how to set up her wheel chair. EXCEPT IT WAS TOO HEAVY FOR ME. I COULD NOT LIFT IT! Thankfully her son put it into the trunk for me. I prayed someone would be available to get it out.
The senior complex was a distance from my friend’s house but after wandering a little bit we found it. Ask and you shall receive — I found someone to get the wheelchair out of the car. Not only did Bill remove the chair from her trunk, he knew how to attach the leg supports and helped my friend out of the car along with her oxygen tank. ( I thanked him for his help and mentioned that he shared the same name as my father.)
SURPRISE — my other friend was in a wheel chair too. We were eating outside in a restaurant on the ground floor. Both of my friends needed to be transported downstairs. And one by one, I pushed. I also learned where the bathroom was and took my older friend twice. Since it is a senior complex, the bathroom was spacious enough for a wheelchair. Maneuvering it and her oxygen tank took a bit of doing but I was up to the challenge. Opening the door to the outside patio was also a challenge but I found people to help.
I was asked if I would take the resident up to her second floor apartment. Her apartment was lovely, very spacious. My older friend enjoyed her cup of coffee while I was gone. The lighter wheelchair was easier to push but it had trouble going over the threshold. When I returned to the ground floor, I learned the heavier wheel chair went over the threshold with no problems. And thankfully, Bill was available to collapse the wheelchair and put it back into the trunk.
Lunch was lovely — the food delicious and the company delightful. And a bonus. Our resident friend is Jewish and the day of our luncheon was the eve of Rosh Hashanah — Happy New year.