Monday, December 6, 2010

The joys of this upheaval

There is only one word to describe the gait I have adopted over the past week or so, and it is the word feeble.

I have been moving across footpaths with the velocity of a tortoise on his way home from a heavy night’s drinking. Inching forward, eyes fixed no more than one metre ahead, speed reduced to about a quarter of my normal pace. It has made the darkened days seem longer, but only because each polar expedition to the shop or to the bus stop has seemed epic.

Largely, it has been fun. I love snow and I love anything that interrupts the routine of huge sections of the populace. In a fractured society where I know nothing of my neighbours, it is nice to occasionally share something, even hardship.

I had my Elephant Island moment last Wednesday, when after standing on O’Connell Street for half an hour, I accepted there would be no bus to transport me back to Suburbia Land. I set out on foot with my friend. She was the Shackleton to my Tom Crean. Only TC didn't get pegged with snowballs by gurriers on Clanbrassil Street.

There has been the joy of not having to go near my stupid car for a whole week. My car has always been stupid, since the stupid manufacturers first gave it a stupid engine that requires me to put oil in it before each and every long journey I undertake.

I only keep the stupid car because public transport would not entertain me these days. One cannot travel light when you need to bring a dialysis machine and lots of fluid everywhere you go. A camel would be my only alternative means of transport and I cannot fit one of those in my apartment.

The car will be the first thing to go after transplant. Actually the second. After Brendan. Maybe I’ll put Brendan in the stupid car and push them both off the edge of that same cliff where Thelma & Louise met their doom.

The upset of routine and the ignoring of the car have been welcome, but
the difficulty with moving on foot has been most annoying. I am terrified I will break something. The loss of even a baby finger for a few weeks would be a disaster. It would make dialysis rather impossible. Three-minute handwashes would be difficult with a big plaster on my hand. A big plaster which in lay-dialysis-man’s terms is more like a big hive of potential bacteria that will land me with a peritonitis and a whole lot of pain.

Breaking a leg/foot/toe would not impact on the handwashing, but unless I could craft a way to carry the 5 ltr bags of Physioneal fluid in my teeth while hobbling on crutches from the spare room to where Brendan resides, it would also leave me in a pickle.

So I’ve been shuffling along with the other old dears in my neighbourhood. Cautious to an embarrassing level, the subject of ridicule by the childer-beasts in my estate and even by the reckless adults who chose to give those little brats life.

The snow is melting now, but as anyone from the country with country parents knows, that’s not where the real danger lies.

The two most terrifying words in the lexicon of potential threats in this scary and violent world. No, not "nuclear attack" or "terminal cancer."

You know what I'm talking about.

"Black ice."


  1. Oh, Regina,
    How I laughed. What a well written article.
    I love the image of the inebriated turtle inching homeward over the ice, and the one of the camel carrying the cycler and the boxes of fluid like a precious cargo in a caravan across the desert.

    I live in a land of ice and snow but every winter I must learn to walk again. One thing that we do have here in Regina, SK that is not available in Dublin is the social knowledge of how to walk and drive because we all grow up to it. On the news last week there was a report of classes on handling winter given to new immigrants to Canada. Otherwise they would be stuck in their houses all winter. There is also a lovely commercial by a coffee shop chain that specializes in sentimental advertising. They show a immigrant father who has settled in the country going to the airport to meet his family. They are surprised when he gives them new jackets, mitts,and hats, then show the children walking out into the falling snow with delight and joy. Of course it was the light fluffy dry snow, not the yucky damp and wet stuff.

    Come winter, we all shuffle along when we walk and all thoughts of fashion disappear in the imperative to stay warm. I have some very clunky boots and shoes that are ugly but are warm and have good grip on snow and ice. And ugly toques and hats as well.

    As I do my hand-washes I had never thought of the problems that would occur if I broke a wrist or finger and couldn`t hand wash. Now you have added a new terror to me. Going back on hemodialysis while I healed would add injury to injury.

    I hope you will be spared too much aggravation by the childer-beasts and enjoy the snow while you have it.

    Stay warm, don`t fall down.

    J Harper
    Regina, SK

  2. Well it has just started to snow again in Dublin so that black ice is now going to be hidden under a layer of snow.

    Shoe chains Regina. Shoe chains.

  3. John - I didn't mean to add a new terror to your list! Falling is something I fear because I tend to fall over a lot, even in dry and safe conditions. I'm sure you have better balance than I. The snow is lovely to look at, just annoying when you have to move outside the house.

    Holemaster - You have taught me a valuable lesson - look out the window before you write a blog about the weather at present. It was only after I posted that I noticed it had started again. I saw some people with shoe chains on the news. I'll look into it.

  4. Oh can I get some winter walking lessons, @JHarper? Although it's really too late for me nowm, took a tumble last week and broke both my wrists.
    Take it handy Regina!

  5. Suse - You poor thing! Both wrists?! How are you even supposed to function? They say next week is going to be even worse in terms of snow and ice. Hibernation is the only answer

  6. Hibernation is the answer. No work, no driving, concentrating on doing the basics every day! At least it's Christmas so I've sisters around to wash the gruaig! The camera's a bit heavy to hold up though, so blog will have to suffer a bit.
    Have a good Christmas, keep her lit :)

  7. What's your blog Suse? I'd like to have a look. I'm trying to expand my blog-reading horizons. Hope you have a great Christmas too! Getting home is my first concern - once I'm there, I can relax and enjoy ;)

  8. If you click on my name above it should take you there! Not much reading but viewing!