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Back on My Own Two Feet

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Back on My Own Two Feet

A "Jinxed" trip to Lewiston

I am so excited! My “walk like a penguin” days could really be over! Stiff legged stumbling-gone! No more peg leg pirate moves! Dr. Tuck listened to me and today was my first consultation with an orthopedic surgeon. Dr. Kym is in Lewiston, it may seem like it was a bit far to travel, but honestly I would do just about anything to get my life back. To be able to walk and hike and camp and not feel like Grandma Moses would be a nice change of pace. (Literally, it would be a change of pace!) 

Last week, Dr. Tuck gave me a walker. Yeah, you read that right... a WALKER! Now I have six legs to control instead of two, that is kind of a scary thought! I was a bit embarrassed, (that is actually an understatement, I have barely left my house) but at least I don’t lose my balance so much. 

Of course, I brought the walker home and Banjo and Brad immediately started drawing out plans for a little 4WD motor, studded tires, and a convenient umbrella for those days that are a bit too snowy for my liking. Stacey and Billie decided that purple is nice, but breast cancer pink would suit me better: so far I have won the war on both those battles. It is bad enough to be using a walker, but I don’t think a bedazzled walker is the answer!

Banjo was impressed that it had its own duel hand brakes. It has a little basket Aspen checked out too, and a seat to sit in if I get too tuckered. It kinda looks like the Wizard of Oz witch’s bike, except upright and with four small tires and no pedals. I haven’t test driven it much, not because of my pride (maybe a little because of my pride), but I did mention that it has four tires, right? I guess I should just be glad it doesn’t have bells for reverse, although it DOES have reflectors. And just as a heads up, if you see me cruising down the roads, my reflectors shining in your head lights, Aspen wiggling in the basket, burning rubber with the mere speed of my steps, immediately notify Stacey, because I am definitely NOT in my right mind! 

So, today, Stacey and I loaded up with my walker, (I think it needs a cool name) a couple of Cokes and Lola the GPS gal and made our way toward Lewiston. Because I have never been to Lewiston, I was amazed by the drive. It was beautiful of course—it is Idaho—but the grade on the road was shocking. It is like driving the downward pitch of a really high rollercoaster. The wind had begun to blow about the time we hit Coeur d’Alene, so by the time we began our decline on the highway into Lewiston, the wind was at hurricane force! Stacey battled the road, just trying to stay between the lines. Now, I am from Texas and Oklahoma and wind is not abnormal in those areas, but this zephyr was clearly out of my experience! 

As we are driving down this steep grade, the wind was so high tumbleweeds were rolling in thick strips, like barricades. Eighteen wheelers on one side, oncoming traffic on the other, Stacey had to barrel through the tumbleweeds as if we were running through a road block! We were only hoping that the tumbleweeds were really as thin as they looked. It was the attack of the killer tumbleweed dream! The tumbleweeds were rolling so hard through the mountains, it looked as if they were trying to climb the hills! (Probably to get away from the wind).

I am pretty sure we still have tumbleweeds hanging from beneath the truck. At one point we had to stop because the camper shell door flew up and I was certain that my pretty purple walker was going to go flying out the back. Stacey carefully got out of the truck and went to the back to close it. I couldn’t figure out why afterwards she came to the passenger side with me. She was trying to tell me something through the closed window, but one look at her and I was laughing too hard to actually hear her words. The updraft of the wind had caught her hair and was blowing it straight up on its end. She looked like a human matchstick! It is seriously a good thing she isn’t a redhead, I don’t think I could have laughed any harder than I already was. 

After I finished hysterically giggling, I understood that she was waiting for the oncoming 18-wheelers to pass, before she tried to get in on the driver’s side. In retrospect, I think she might have been hinting that she wanted to climb over my legs, but another round of chuckles hit me about that time and it was all I could do to even look at her and that hair. I do have to say that I expressed my amusement for quite a while afterward. I don’t think she found quite as much humor in it as I did. 

Finally, we reached Lewiston and did one of the most important errands of the day. We located the local Sonic. Then and only then we zigged and zagged the streets of Lewiston, listening to Lola for our directions, looking for the doctor’s office on Warner Street. When we did finally turn into the driveway, the street sign read, “dead end.” I have to say that the sign did give me pause, for a few seconds. 

We parked our little Ford Ranger, putting the e-brake on due to the way the truck was frantically swaying in the raging wind. Stacey got out first to help me with my walker. As she opened her car door, it practically flew off its hinges. The journey to the front door of the doctor’s office wasn’t long, but the gusts of wind were so strong and sporadic that Stacey walked towards the front door, but the cyclone latched onto the bottom of the walker and sent me spiraling in the opposite direction. 

In case you think I am exaggerating, about that time a larger trampoline, complete with the protective netting, went whisking by with no intention of stopping anytime soon. 

The office’s industrial welcome mat had already taken flight like a genie’s  magic carpet. Stacey grabbed the front of my walker and quickly dragged us to the front office (hair still standing straight up looking like it was mimicking the burning hair of the Ghost Rider). We were a pretty rumpled pair stumbling into the front doors. 

It was a total relief to have doctors, nurses and techs actually listen to what I was telling them. I had to have an X-ray and an MRI, which is never comfortable, but at least that is over and I am on my way to leading a better life. Stacey says that while I was safely downstairs receiving said treatments a tempest began blowing. The air currents became dangerous gales, driving clouds in a whirlwind so dense that the mountains became invisible. I don’t know whether to believe her or not though, she likes to tell stories! 

On the ride home we encountered every kind of weather imaginable. Ice, sleet, snow, howling wind and patches of sunshine scattered here and there. It was a meteorologist’s fantasy. At one point on the way home Stacey and I looked at each other, grinning. Seriously, a wooden broom was lying in the middle of the highway, flopping to and fro in the gusts of wind. Of course, we did speculate who might have capsized it and no real damage was noticeable, although it did give new meaning to the term, windswept. (If  you’re missing a broom, look near Sagle). 

So now I am on a long journey toward a new and improved life, a renewed hope that has me standing up and screaming, “ I’M NOT DONE YET!”.

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Author info

Jinx Beshears Jinx Beshears is a southern transplant to North Idaho, and shares her confusion with the Pacific Northwest Lifestyle in her column, Jinxed. When not writing, or living, her outlandish stories, she's generally lost somewhere in the mountains with her dog, Aspen.

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health, driving, Jinxed, surgery, Lewiston, Lewiston Grade

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