Saturday morning I awoke with a purpose. I was going to summon my inner Matteo Mistura, Steve Smith and Drew Dixon (all great Maui chefs and good friends) to make myself a pot roast for dinner. I had purchased the ingredients a few days prior and I could not wait to let the fresh vegetables and meat simmer in the crock pot all day, combining their flavors to make a delicious meal.
This grand plan of having pot roast for dinner was stopped immediately by the harsh reality that the crock pot was out of my reach.
The crock pot sat on top of my kitchen cabinet, stoic, showing no concern for my current culinary conundrum. Standing tall at 5’6″, my reach, while on my tippy toes (that’s right tough guy, I said tippy toes) is roughly at the 7 foot mark. The top of my kitchen cabinets are just at my fingertips when I stretch and I can touch the crock pot, but due to the lip on the cabinets, I cannot pull it down to me. Usually I grab a chair and the problem is solved. Unfortunately, given my condition I was reluctant, although I did seriously consider it, to try climbing the step ladder with crutches. I sat on the couch and weighed my options carefully. After several minutes of hemming and hawing I reached for the phone and did something that pains me to do…I called a friend and asked for help!
My friend Jon came by my place on his way to work, grabbed the crock pot, put it on my counter and went on with his day…all in the matter of two minutes. After he left I was forced to examine my lifestyle and the changes I have gone through since the collision in May.
As I write this portion of the blog my house is dripping with the aroma of onions, carrots, celery, potatoes, corn and pot roast simmering.
“Life is a long lesson in humility.” – James M. Barrie
Some call it stubbornness, or being pig-headed, but in my mind I would rather do something myself, than be dependent upon others. The reason being twofold: I can learn faster by doing it myself, and I have only myself to rely upon or blame if I fail.
Since May I have had very little choice in what I can and cannot accomplish by myself. My physical condition prohibits me in so many ways that I would never had even thought about, but now I am forced to deal with them on a daily basis. It took me several weeks, but I finally figured out that I can either get frustrated, upset and fail, or I can simply swallow my pride and ask a friend for help.
While I was in the hospital I constantly had visitors coming and going, checking up on me and always asking if they could do something for me or get me anything. I was so glad to see them I would never dream of asking them to bring me anything (after a week of hospital food, I eventually began handing out meal requests). I had a difficult time realizing what was really happening.
Seeing someone you love in such a vulnerable state is difficult to watch. By asking me if they could bring me a smoothie or drop off a magazine for me to read, they were simply trying to help me the only way possible…to show they were thinking of me. I was in a position to make them feel special, like they were with me in the hospital room fighting for me to get better. I finally understood that by simply saying yes, and allowing visitors to bring me something trivial, I was helping us both heal together. I began to say yes to the question,”can I bring you anything?” and it made me feel better knowing that it might make others feel good to help a friend in need.
Those around me have been so generous with their time and have shown such patience with me that I feel humbled by their love. My friends and family have consistently fawned over me, so much so that at times it becomes uncomfortable.
Although the occasions are rare, I have almost gotten to the point of being comfortable when asking for help. Not wanting to badger others I definitely pick and choose my battles these days.
I have tried to do certain tasks just to prove to myself that I can still do some things by myself. Recently I moved my living room couch by myself. It took me 30 minutes to slide it around a distance of 10 feet or so and I was drenched in sweat at the end, but I accomplished what I set out to do…get a hernia.
I’m not willing to call it dumb, but the not-smartest thing I may have done since May, was to lock myself out of my house (which happens a few times a year) right after I had purchased a used car. I was so excited that I had bought 4 wheels of freedom and was no longer going to be dependent upon others for transportation, that I left the house without my keys. Fortunately for me, I had left my ground floor bedroom window unlocked. I was able to pop off the screen, slide the window open and while sitting on the window sill, I fell backwards onto my bed like a scuba diver entering the water. I did this when I had the external fixator and 7 pins in my leg. I never claimed to be the smartest, but I will say my pain tolerance may be a bit higher than others.
So although I have surrounded myself with amazing individuals I call my friends, sometimes I still yearn to be independent, to be free of restraint, to make my own mistakes. Without making mistakes, how would we learn?