Phone Call and Drive to Hell
“Something is terribly wrong! I can’t stand up! I can’t see! What’s wrong with me?” The receptionist listened as I described what was going on and placed me through to triage where I desperately asked for help. I was given an same day emergency appointment.
Now the really crazy thing… I drove myself to this appointment – in Madison – a drive of over 50 miles. Seriously, what was I thinking? The drive was beyond anything I have ever experienced. As I look back on this, I should not have been behind the wheel of a car. But, at that time this was the only thing survival lead me to…
Before I could leave I had to get dressed. That meant going back upstairs. I sat there on the floor thinking, how was I going to do that? Sitting there I began to map this out in my head. First try was to crawl but each reach towards a new step I would flop onto my side or my belly either staying were I was or slide back down. Then I thought about grabbing the railing; hanging on to it and putting my hand on the opposite wall I pulled myself to my knees. It worked, and in a kneeling position made my way to the top. From there I crawled to my bedroom this time leaning one side of my body against a wall. It was at this point that I recognized touch of some kind oddly helped to partially stabilize me.
By the time I reached my bedroom I was exhausted, bruised, and confused. I’m not sure how I found something to wear, but I think it was the first time I decided stripes and polka dots went well together. I dressed lying on the floor. I wiggled myself into clothes encased in a horrible feeling of disconnect from my body and surroundings. I tried to sit up to tie my shoes but fell over as I leaned to grab the laces. I kicked those off and scrounged for a pair of slip on’s. Then on my butt, I reversed my way back down the stairs. Re-recognizing my discovery of touch, I made it to the front door touching walls, furniture or anything along the same path. There were open spaces void of anything to touch and the horrible disconnect reappeared. I wobbled back and forth, side to side, my vision bouncing and blurring all over the place. I either had to find something to touch or fall down. I chose the touch and lunged myself towards the door with wobbled steps in a wobbled world. I made it. The prize was my habit of keeping my car keys next to the door. Imagine the hunt for those!
At that time I drove an older model Ford Bronco, 4×4, 5 speed. It was parked in the driveway next to my house. I froze at the thought of getting to it but not of driving it… I mapped out my approach to the car. With my hands sliding along and touching the front porch, I made it to the end. Then I realized, the Bronco was about three feet from where I was. With my touch gone, I stretched out my arms, took an uncontrolled step, and just let myself fall onto the hood. I landed on my chest nearly knocking the wind out of myself. In what seemed like slow motion, I held on to the Bronco and slid my way around the front of and to the driver’s side door. I wondered if anyone saw me do this. Apparently not as the local police didn’t show up from a call that I was going to drive drunk…
The body of a Bronco is elevated so to get into it I always grabbed the steering wheel for leverage and sort of jump into the seat. Once I reached this point I froze thinking of attempting this. With survival mode securely attached, all I knew is that I had to get to my appointment to find out what was wrong with me. I stood there hanging on to the driver’s side door, holding the steering wheel and with everything I had, pulled myself into the Bronco only to fall over into the passenger seat with the stick shift jabbed into my side. Still, rather than call for help, or panic, I continued on my quest to get help on my own. I grabbed the steering wheel, pulled myself up behind it and held on. After what seemed like hours, with hell bent conviction to drive to my appointment, I put the key in the ignition, put my foot on the brake, pressed in the clutch, started the Bronco up and backed out of the driveway. Once on the street I thought to myself, “This is crazy, how I will ever get there like this? Still, I couldn’t think of any reason not to begin the most intense journey of determination I have ever experienced.