January 22, 2019
I was discharged from rehab today. It is January in Seattle. It’s cold, raining and wet. I’m leaving this place with the clothes that I brought and wore when I was admitted to the hospital 17 days ago. They’ve been washed and folded. I don’t have a warm jacket. I have no gloves or a hat. I went home in a Lyft so it wasn’t like getting into a cold car myself and waiting for it to warm up. That somehow seems like it would have been worse. The driveway seems darker than it did before. There is no one out and about.
My truck is still in the driveway where I left it 2 weeks ago. There are, oddly, no packages at my door. I have my bag of clothes and toiletries and my cane. The stairs are, thankfully, similar to the ones I practiced on at rehab. The pitch and height are about the same. I go up one stair at a time.
Had I not been so ticked off about my phone situation, I’d have sat in my chair to watch TV, figure something out to eat and gone to bed early. Instead, I looked up my phone receipt on the Verizon website, printed it out and called for another Lyft.
The Verizon store isn’t too busy, but there are other customers around.I expected, for some crazy reason, that when I walk into the store with a dead-ish phone that they’ll replace it in-store. Nope. Not anymore. They put me on the phone with warranty service from a hard and uncomfortable wooden stool in the store. The thing I didn’t pay attention to in this was the store hours. It’s now around 5 pm. I’m tired, I’m hungry and I want this phone thing behind me. I’m feeling very tired. Two hours and a lot of sternly worded threats to leave and go to AT&T or T-Mobile later, they are shipping me a new Google phone in place of the Motorola piece of garbage. Kicker? I won’t get this new phone for 2 days. Wait… 5 because it’s the weekend. Awesome. I could have done all this from home. I should have done this all from home.
When I’m done with the warranty service person, I try to get a Lyft ride to go home. I can’t get the app to work correctly. I’m so tired and hungry I can’t think straight. The guy in the store realizes that the warranty person disabled my SIM card and puts me on store wi-fi. The bad thing about this is that when I’m on wi-fi, there is no GPS reading from the phone itself, so when the Lyft driver shows up at the strip mall where I am, they have no idea where I am or where to go. This driver of course goes in the opposite direction of where I’m standing in the rain. I tried to call them but can’t. I go back in the store and tell the guy what happened. He fixes the phone and I get another Lyft ride home. I’m now too tired to think about sitting somewhere else to eat, so I just go directly back home.
When I get to the door this time, there’a pile of boxes sitting there. My neighbor had picked them up for me while I was gone, and knowing I was home, she delivered them to me while I was out. She had no idea I couldn’t get them in the house by myself. Thankfully, the Lyft driver helped me carry all these boxes into the house and up the stairs. I am finally at home to stay.
The house just feels empty. And lonely.
I carry my bag upstairs, unpack and put my jammies on. I am afraid to fall on the stairs. I’m afraid to fall in my bathroom. I look around and there isn’t a good way to install a handicap bar either next to the toilet or near the shower. I’m still thinking about how I would get a shower chair up the stairs by myself and know in my heart there’s no way I could.
This isn’t me. I used to go to the gym. I used to ride my bike 100 miles because I could. I lifted weights. I did cardio. I could stand on one foot. I built Habitat houses. I stood on ladders and swung hammers.
Who have I become?
I’m feeling the loneliness of cancer now. The isolation. The fear of losing my independence. The fear of dying. It’s not all hit me yet, but it’s starting to creep in. I feel like a cancer patient now, and I don’t like it.