Beautiful Enhancements to my Recent Addition

Spring 2010 #11

In the end the octopod was too strong.  When I woke on the fifth morning to find that the abominable creature had drawn blood, I knew that we would each have to be released: me from the appalling clasp of the breathing mask’s bands, and the monster back to the deep from which it had come.   I had the vile squid shipped back to its home, and happily discovered that there was a local distributor of respiratory equipment.  This time I enquired before making an appointment:  “Are your room’s wheelchair accessible?”  Yes Sir, they most certainly are!

So the single step outside the freshly painted storefront was a little surprising.  Affixed to the door was a sign, or at least a piece of cardboard, on which was written:  If unattended please go next door

Next door proved to be a Party Hire store in the same building.  I dutifully enquired and a sales assistant dressed in a frankly scruffy Party Hire uniform instructed me to go back to the first door where she said, disconcertingly, that she would meet me.  Pointing out the front step problem, an alternative was proposed which was to follow Scruffy past the racks of helium balloons and face masks (of a different kind), down a corridor, through a store room, via a loading dock, into an office, past the table and chairs of a small meal room, finally emerging in the respiratory display room, freshly decorated in subdued medical tones and complete with numerous glass busts bearing various facemasks (of the correct kind).  Lo and behold, some familiar faces as well!  Last week’s breathlessly happy couple, still fondling their new breathing machine, were grinning idiotically down at us from the wall. 

The business owner, a formidable man attired to match Scruffy, came to introduce himself.  He turned out to be something of a self taught expert on breathing equipment on account if his own experience with sleep apnoea.  Thankfully an actual, trained consultant appeared, the boss went to unload a truck, and I was introduced to a new and more likable animal: a mask with surprisingly little Velcro and just the barest touch of wet suit.  Its minimalist styling allows one to read with one’s glasses on, itch one’s nose, and even chat to one’s Favourite wife a little.  No sea monster; this mask is more of a domesticated aquarium being; and we are getting on extremely well!  And so the week began.

To finish the week I made a dash to Melbourne .   Travel is usually galvanizing, but this particular early morning train seemed to be dragging a sombre cloud.   An obstinate, oppressive pall held my thoughts.  ‘Why so downcast, O my soul?’   Was it the weight of decisions that were approaching?  Or more likely the knowledge that yet again I was to encounter a new disability appliance; another threat to the stoic independence on which I thrive.  I was heading south to inspect vehicles in which Bugger (That’s B4, my newest and best power chair) and I can ride together.   Each new strata of special equipment is as intimidating as the last, and must be pierced with new reserves of courage.  As the train ran onwards I read the psalm set down for that morning, but I was unable to experience any hint of its promise: 

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters,
He restores my soul.

Whatever the reason; the happy wanderer I was not!

The vehicle dealer had kindly offered to meet the train. Our first stop was a coffee shop; which was a little surprising!  Very welcome though, and a good chance to get to know this remarkable man.  An energised fellow of 70 years, whose son’s wheelchair needs had begun their involvement in vehicle conversions years ago.   For the next three hours we were in and out of vehicles: riding ramps, buckling belts, tugging tie-downs. We took vehicles on long and short test drives, comparing ride, visibility and configuration. On and on marched a dizzying  array of makes and models, pricing and options.  And then we were done! 

But our day was not over, more surprises lay in store.  At my host’s insistence we walked (and rolled) around the block to a bustling, airy, delightful Italian restaurant where my new friend was obviously a frequent patron.   We ate bruschetta, dips, olives, zucchini, eggplant; we sipped red wine and strong coffee. We found we had much to discuss as parents of children with special needs.  The world didn’t seem so fearful after all.  And right then, amidst the deliciously unexpected meal, I recalled the words of the psalm I read on the train in my blue funk:

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.






Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

2 thoughts on “Beautiful Enhancements to my Recent Addition

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