I take a wheelchair ride to a funeral; comfortless dotage

Six days post-op. For several days, I could bear almost no weight on my leg, and since I was supposed to keep it elevated above my heart, I couldn’t even work while sitting. Now, I can walk short distances without crutches, but every step hurts sharply. Lying and sitting hurt too, though not as much. I am concerned about my slow progress, yet it is still a great boon to be able to ambulate without crutches, because I can at least carry things and do housework.

I attended a funeral yesterday. I could have driven, but didn’t want to. I also considered biking, but was daunted by the prospect of putting my left foot down gingerly and in a straight-line every time I stopped. Then came the realization that my range of motion was so scant that I couldn’t pump the pedals anyway. I finally went in a borrowed wheelchair (the funeral being but ten blocks from home). Peggy pushed me part way, and I wheeled myself part way. I left the wheelchair in an empty room upon arriving, because I didn’t want to make my situation appear worse than it is, and because I didn’t want to draw attention away from the service.

The deceased was an elderly lodge brother, Fred Haase, who united two seemingly opposite personality extremes. One was the courage and tenacity to fight vociferously and without regard for personal cost for what he considered right. The other was the ability to cry often and openly when touched by a kind gesture or a sweet memory. I had thought that many of the speakers would make mention of this, but none did, so I felt obliged to limp my way to the microphone and do it myself. His son spoke last and validated the accuracy of my perception. His first words were, “My Dad was a great Dad,” and I wished I could have said as much about mine. I also wondered what my son—if I had a son—would say at my funeral.

My recent surgery took me from being able-bodied and multi-talented in the morning to being an invalid in the afternoon, and I reflected that the latter state would draw more and more upon me with the passing years. When I combined this thought with my knowledge that there is no one who I can depend upon to care for me, I felt dismayed. I still feel dismayed. I cannot think but that the day might come when I will have to choose between suicide and a comfortless dotage. The decision might seem easy enough then, but now it strikes me as like being trapped in a burning high-rise and having to choose between flames and pavement.

I see the surgeon in three days, and, if all goes well, it will be for the last time. I have called his office four times since my operation (three time with the same concern) without once speaking to him or getting my questions answered. If I had listened to my pre-surgery reservations, I would have changed horses in midstream. It is bad enough to endure the aftermath of surgery, but the pain and disability combined are not so grievous as having a doctor who does not care.