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.