I am high on words. I was at a course this week at UBC, a follow up to the one I did last summer. It surpassed my expectations. Speaking theme and process, reading excerpts of books, lingering over poetry, and writing, writing, writing….like I said, I am high on words. Listening to each voice in the room sharing their work, distinct and inspiring, I’m stirred up and from-the-bottom-of-my-heart grateful.
I explored more of my story and here’s a bit of what emerged from the week.
When I was given permission to go outside the nurses warned me that it might be disorienting, I may feel like turning around. However, I should resist the urge and get outside the walls for a while. I didn’t understand what they meant, not when fresh air swirled around me, not when the crisp November wind fell on my face.
I was wrapped in blankets, stuffed into my hospital issued wheelchair. The days ended early in November and it was cold, winter nearby. Scott leaned against the chain link fence of the deserted tennis courts near the hospital, and faced me. We were silent, neither of us having much to say, content to be alone. It was our first outing in five months.
I was beginning to understand the nurses caution and the urge to return to the walls of the hospital. I had forgotten what outside was, how open and distant everything felt, like the wind could swoop me up at any moment and carry me away. I was a speck in a very big, very wide world. As patients we were cocooned in the hospital, nestled in a safe, sterile environment. I wasn’t sipping margaritas poolside at a resort, but I was in the perfect condition for survival. I was an infant cooed and fussed over, the object of everyone’s attention. It had, for better or worse, become home.
Even though the hospital was situated in the middle of one of the busiest streets in Vancouver it was far from the real world. There, in the tennis courts on a wintry November night, I saw I was on the edges of that world, the closest I had come to it in a long time. I felt as though I had aged a hundred years, afraid of what life out there meant for me. I was ripped from my world one person and returning someone else. Who would I be?
I reached out to hook my fingers in the chain link fence taking in the night that stretched out in front of me. A few seconds passed before I pushed on the tires of my wheelchair. I looked up at Scott, “I want to go home.”