My Relapse: the Play by Play

Last week, I could stand briefly unassisted, walk with forearm crutches for short distances, dress myself, roll over in bed, and do 5K in under 35 minutes. This week, not so much.

Last weekend I went up to the YMCA of the Rockies with my choir. We do this every year – we goof around, go on hikes, eat and drink too much, sing way too much, then give a concert at the Stanley Hotel on Sunday afternoon. I, of course, planned to be a model of moderation, going to bed every night at 9:30 and hardly getting drunk at all.

Generally about half way through the day I need to lie down and stretch out my legs, so we always have a couch set up in the rehearsal area as well.

The first time I laid myself on the sofa during a rehearsal, I had to get someone to lift my legs off the sofa so I could transfer back to the chair.

The second time I laid myself on the sofa during rehearsal, I couldn’t physically sit myself back up again, and somebody had to both lift my legs off the sofa and pull my torso upright so that I could transfer back to the chair.

The third time I laid myself on the sofa (I know, at this point you’re saying, “No! Stay away from that sofa! It’s cursed!” but, like a clueless character in a horror film, I just kept going back) two guys had to pick my whole self up and put me in the chair.

Sunday morning I took a shower. Now, the bathroom had lights, a fan, and a heater, all of which were wired to the same switch. Unless I wanted to shower in the dark, the heater was going to be on (now you’re saying, “No! Heat bad!”). Luckily, the Y offered two water temperature choices, too hot and too cold, so I sensibly went with too cold. It was also some serious work to get into the tub, since the shower chair was about 4 inches higher than and 10 inches away from my chair, and there was only one grab bar, at the front end of the tub.

Shower done, I managed to straggle back out into the room, but decided I had exactly one transfer left in me. I decided to transfer to the bed rather than to the floor, to make it easier on whoever was going to have to retrieve my body. It was 9:00 am, and we had to be packed and out of the lodge by 10:00.

So I’m lying on the bed, wet hair, overheated and shivering at the same time, covered with only a towel, and Dear Reader, I was done. I got out my cell phone and called my friend P (who as far as I knew was just in the next room). She wasn’t – she was hiking up a mountain. Bless her heart, though, she decided that if I was calling for help, the least she could do was run back down the mountain and come help me. Ten or fifteen minutes later there were people in my room, dressing me and packing my stuff. They bundled me into someone’s car and we drove to the Stanley. From that point on, somebody was always with me, feeding me lunch, carrying my music, hauling me on and off sofas so that I could rest, and yes, helping me in the bathroom. After the concert someone else drove me home and poured me into bed, where I have remained (more or less) ever since.

Oh, except for Tuesday morning. Tuesday mornings I meet with my trainer at the gym. With some difficulty, I persuaded my husband that this was still an important thing to do – not to lift weights, per se, but to evaluate where I’m at and what I can do – that makes sense, right?.

So I got dressed (big accomplishment), got in the car (big accomplishment), my husband drove me to the gym, I told my trainer the short story of my last 4 days, and we went for an easy warm up around the track. He pointed out that usually he has to jog/walk to keep up with me, and I wasn’t even keeping up with him walking.

“I don’t think this is a good idea,” he says. “Shouldn’t you rest? How long have you been resting?”

“Since Sunday!”

Only since Sunday? I don’t think this is a good idea.”

So with both of them (husband and trainer) staring me down, I got back in the car and went home. Rats. Foiled again.

The moral of the story is, relapsing sucks. But it’s good to have friends.



  1. wheelchairdancer

    laughing. I can see you in that situation …


  2. Shari Gitel

    This is my first time visiting your blog, and reading this humorous and poking fun at yourself description of your condition was a genuine pleasure. So many people would just want to curl up and die faced with all these problems. I give you a lot of credit for facing the problems head-on and doing it with such a delightful sense of humor. I look forward to reading more.

  3. Amy

    Great story! Told with compassion and humor.


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