Thursday, March 7, 2013

New wheels

As I mentioned last December, I came home from the hospital just in time for Christmas. When we came in our front door, I found a large package waiting under the tree. Ryan was so excited about it that he let it slip what was inside: a wheelchair! I didn't believe Ryan and we began opening the box. The first thing I saw was red. Ryan broke down the box and I saw it was true: not only did my friends buy me a wheelchair, they bought me a red wheelchair just my size! The chair is also very light-weight and fits nicely in our trunk.

I can't tell you how excited this gift made me. For the past year I have been mostly confined to my apartment or the hospital. Outings have been rare and difficult because I have usually been too sick to leave: we have tubes and machines to take with us; I have frequently been nauseated and I even have thrown up in places like the grocery store parking lot; my pain was often severe; I was weak and unsteady from months of illness. The gift of the wheelchair meant the possibility of going out. At first I was still too sick to go out, even with the wheelchair. But seeing it parked by our back door gave me mental strength and encouragement knowing that once I got a little better, I would be able to leave the house.

I have named the wheelchair Branson, after the chauffeur in Downton Abbey. Branson has enabled Ryan and me to take several outings. First, we went up and down the aisles of Target. Then we advanced to the movie theater, where we watched Life of Pi in 3D (making it through a movie was a big accomplishment). Next we took Branson to the mall. I made Ryan push me around the floors for a second lap because it was so nice just to get out. Last month, we made it to the Apple store a few times (our iMac was acting up). We even went to a friend's house for a game night.

My wheelchair Branson sits near our Christmas tree.

My most recent outing was a huge accomplishment: last Saturday we went to the National Aquarium in Baltimore's Inner Harbor. Our friends Josh and Chelsea joined us. They helped Ryan push me around. It was really nice to be able to socialize again. It was also good progress for me to be able to handle a few hours of being up and about. I'm slowly building up stamina and endurance, and my pain has been better managed this past month. It is also a huge improvement that my nausea is becoming less and less frequent, which also helps me mentally.

During our afternoon at the aquarium, we watched a dolphin show and a 4-D movie about the salmon run. We made it through a few exhibits, but I want to go back again to see more. Ryan and I bought an annual pass, which is also good at the National Aquarium in DC. I hear it is much smaller but still worth a visit. I spent the next two days recovering from the exertion, but it was worth it!

Ryan and I in front of the National Aquarium

Ryan and I goofing around while we wait for the dolphin show to start

Our silhouettes with Federal Hill behind us

I couldn't have done it without Branson, which leads me to my next point: aren't my friends amazing? I still am happily surprised and amazed that they would do something so thoughtful and generous for me.  I haven't been very good about staying in touch while I have been so sick, but they still are mindful and supportive of me. (They bought me a red wheelchair!) 

During the month of December, I especially felt loved. I received an anonymous gift of roses when I came home from the hospital. Several friends sent me care packages, cards and emails. Another friend provided a steady supply of DVDs and books. Some family friends invited us over on Christmas to have dinner with them (they even bought my favorite italian ice so I could eat with them). And we had lots of great Christmas presents to open, thanks to packages from our family.

So to all my friends and family who have shown me such love and support: thank you. I can't express how much it has meant to me. I love you!


  1. Love all these updates, Ames! Excited to see you in a week.

    Also, that wheelchair name is PER-FECT.

  2. Love the wheelchair name and the updates, Ames! Excited to see you soon! xo

  3. You're looking so good in these pictures. It makes me so happy to see you getting stronger.


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