Back at the Kenyon reunion, while extremely fun, I realized how difficult it was be to get around campus with a wheelchair. You don't realize where all the hills are when you walk; you don't realize how big the campus really is; you don't realize that shortcuts you always took as a student don't work the same way with a wheelchair. Enter the golf cart!
There was a slight mix-up when we arrived Thur night and we didn't get the cart until Fri morning. I should say Jenny, my roommate of 3 years, got the golf cart on Fri morning. Then she drove it. Fri night I wheeled to our room from the bookstore. Seemed easier than getting back in the car. Wrong. I remember it was easy to get from the bookstore past 2 dorms to the third. How far could that be? Well, Jenny had all our bags unloaded by the time we found our way. The next morning it seemed it would be easy to get to the dining hall - it must be all downhill since the previous night was all uphill. Wrong again. Half down; the other half up. I was so glad to get the golf cart!
You would also think with 3 rows of seats, there should be room to spare. No. Wheelchair in back; walker, Beth, and backpacks in the middle; Jenny and Lori up front. I held onto the wheelchair. To get in, we developed a system where Jenny would lift my left leg and I would somehow hurl myself onto the seat. And away we would go - soon we were singing the theme from Indiana Jones as we traveled by golf cart. It was humorous. In a strange way, these were the good times.
The golf cart liked to jump when going in reverse, so we would all hold on and wonder, just how much would it jump each time. And which roads could we take this thing on?
Through all the comedy, Jenny was amazing. She would load and unload things. Did I want the wheelchair, walker, or both? The weekend was complicated because I needed to walk, but then I also needed to wheel. And when I walk, I realize there are new obstacles called doors, or curbs, or strange grooves in the sidewalk. I guess I realized that when I'm home, I know more of where these things are. What amazes me is this great walking I have at home is challenged anywhere new. At home I know where to use my wheelchair and where to use my walker. Somewhere new, I need both. At home I think I even know which buildings are easier, and even which bathrooms work. Somewhere new, I have to figure it out - is a door too heavy? If there's one of those buttons to open a door, will the door stay open long enough. So for all the times Jenny loaded and unloaded everything, lifted my leg and hoped I made it - well, that's when you know you have a great friend.
We had to return the golf cart. That was a bit sad. I mean, we had so much fun! We got places. Life was good.