Catching The Rhythm

I wake early as usual. It’s still there, squatting in the corner, a malignant black and chrome goblin, its red handles turned back like goat horns. It’s only a wheelchair but I loathe it.

It arrived...when was it? Oh, I don’t remember now. Rosie the physiotherapist brought it in.

‘Your chariot awaits’ she trilled. ‘This one’s been specially tailored for you.’

‘Specially tailored for you’ the words sounded ominous. ‘Why?’ I asked. ‘I won’t need it for ever. I’ll be walking before long...won’t I?’

‘I’m sure you will’ Rosie soothed,‘but it takes time you know. You’ll be more comfortable in your own chair rather than the small hospital one’.

 

After breakfast, Rosie pushes me down to the gym. The chair smoothes silently over the lino floors. Once I’m in it I feel as though it will never let me out. I’m almost sure the footrests will snap over and shackle me for ever. I know I’m being fanciful but it’s how I feel about the thing.

In the gym, Rosie and Karen, her helper, manoeuvre me on to the bench.

‘Sit up straight Kate, look up, look at me’ Rosie encourages as I try to hold myself upright. I push on my arms as she tells me but it’s exhausting. They catch me before I can flop forward onto the floor. Rosie straightens me up and positions my hands, arms and legs. I feel like a ventriloquist’s dummy.

‘You’re improving Kate. It’s just a matter of time and confidence’ Rosie says.

Back in my room, they lift me into bed and prop me up with pillows.

‘Don’t put that where I can see it’ I nod towards the wheelchair that Rosie is pushing into a corner, ‘it gives me the creeps.’

Rosie looks puzzled.

‘It’s only a chair Kate. You won’t need it for long.’

‘I know it’s only a chair’ I snap, ‘but I don’t want it there. Take it somewhere else.’

Rosie shrugs, ‘OK I’ll leave it outside.’

I know I’m being tiresome but I can’t explain to her how the chair scares me and what it might signify for the rest of my life.

 

Susan, my ever-so-sensible daughter arrives on the tide of afternoon visitors.

‘How long have I been here?’ I ask.

She says its seven weeks since I had my stroke. Seems like forever to me. I don’t really remember it happening. Just a few confused images and the sound of m...

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Sheila Williams
May 13 2020

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Comments:

Faultless: I absolutely loved this; it felt very real.

Rod Webb
Jul 21 2020