We went shopping last weekend. The idea was to go to Squire's Garden Centre, but before getting the garden stuff Roch wanted to go to Cotton Trader's to look at a pair of shoes he thought might work with his 'foot ups' during the summer. It's hard to get suitable shoes that don't look like retirement home footwear. We parked in one of the 'disabled' spaces, not too far from the shop, so that Roch could use the sticks. The threshold wouldn't have been a problem for the wheelchair, but space was limited inside and besides, he just didn't want to use the chair. Inside the shoes were tried on (seating in a nice discreet corner - so not too embarrassing for him that I assisted him in taking the shoes on and off) and then he saw some shirts he liked. We made our way slowly round the racks of clothes and Roch chose some shirts to try on. So far so good. Inside the changing room there was a seat, so I closed the curtain on him sitting down. Every now and then I checked and luckily the three chosen items were all a success. He had to sit for a moment to rest, having tried on each garment in turn. Three shirts. No wonder his eyes filled.
He recovered himself quickly and made no protest when I suggested we bring the wheelchair into the garden centre. It's not difficult for me to push or maneouvre. It was a Sunday and the place was pretty crowded but once we were out in the sunshine, amongst the herbs, flowers and shrubs, it felt ok. It's funny, we went to Squire's quite soon after he was diagnosed and I remember noticing that there were quite a few older people with mobility problems. I pictured myself then with Roch in a wheelchair, joining this elderly disabled community at the garden centre. It upset me. But you know what? It was fine. I enjoyed myself and I don't think it was as hard for Roch as he had feared. I hope not. One thing I've noticed is that as I'm quite small, it's easy for me to drop a little kiss on the top of his head, or bend just a tad to whisper something in his ear. I think he likes that.
Today we ventured to Waitrose with the chair and I've noticed something interesting. People seem to be much more understanding when they see him in the chair than when he uses the rollator. It's like they view the rollator with some suspicion. They don't 'get' why someone like Roch has to use it - but they can somehow comprehend the wheelchair.
It does mean we can get out and about more together, for longer stretches of time.
I realised today that I have to be more organised - we have to be more organised. Roch started to cook lunch for himself and Tom, but although he can make a start with grilling food, he can't really turn it anymore or keep lifting the grill pan in and out of the oven, so I took over. I had planned a different lunch for myself and as I organised their lunch I realised just how hungry I was. In the old days, Roch would have just cooked his lunch and I would have prepared mine. No problem. Now I was grumpy because I was hungry. I caught myself feeling irritated and then I realised that it could have been avoided with simple planning. This is the way it is now. He can't do things for himself like before. Like the aeroplane safety drill - 'place the oxygen mask over your face before assisting other passengers' - well, organise things better, feed yourself before cooking for Roch! It's not exactly that I forget my role as carer, I just haven't got used to planning ahead.