Our conversation set me traveling in a lot of different directions. Why was I dissatisfied with my slow progress? Why did I consider it slow? Was it impatience? Was it guilt for Eric’s level of work, and hence of his stress? Why the reluctance to go places on my own? Why the unsurpassable, overwhelming fear? Why did I immediately resort to Eric? I traced my mind back to the onset of the quarantine and our decision to stay home – my usual joke that it was easier for me to get used to do that because it was what I always did. I was always afraid of going out on my own. I had always resisted help because I always defended my independence, but the constant help I resisted had made me dependent; had filled me with insecurity. I had to call my neighbor friends to ask them for help.
Then I thought of another suggestion of my friend: ask another friend who drove a car to take me and my broken electric wheelchair to a man who fixes appliances, so that I could go places where I couldn’t go with my regular wheelchair. I was reluctant to do that – where could I go with the fixed chair? Why go there alone? But I could also refute this argument. I could ask a BHA friend who’s retired to go with me. Defeated yet again. There was still another advice given by my friend: talk to the therapist who had worked with me before I became an outpatient at the rehab center and have a consultation with her about my slow-to-progress arm, hand, and fingers. So, I asked Eric for the name of the rehab company who had sent her, but he had forgotten it. As I looked for it on the web, I started feeling excited once again. Maybe I could ask this therapist to come and watch how my extremities were moving, and suggest new exercises that could cause progress.
Then, “my lightbulb turned on,” as we say in Argentina. Maybe the main obstacle I needed to overcome was my reluctance to do exercises repeatedly. Reluctance was linked to a sense of frustration, which was caused by tiredness, which was caused by frustration – a catch twenty-two. There was an easy fix for this: a dose of energy. According to my nurse aid, it meant raising my head and assuring myself I could do it. It was a long list of things to do, but I would do them, eventually. And until that time came, I could be patient, and leave impatience and frustration aside.