Sunday, September 13, 2009

I Love Paris...

Last year I travel to Europe with my husband and a wheelchair. Three months before on the first day of a sabbatical I'd waited seven years to enjoy I went ice skating, and I fell on the ice. The pain was terrible and I couldn't stand on my own, but when the skate guards asked if I needed an ambulance, I said no. I had plans. And I didn't want to waste an afternoon in the E.R.

So I went home and, as my foot swelled, told my husband that I thought I should get an Xray. On the way to the hospital I feel down my front steps, thus finishing the job I'd begun on the ice. I shattered my fibula and was told by my surgeon that I could not put any weight on the ankle for at least eight weeks. This was unbearable. I had journeys planned - to Morocco, Italy, Spain. My husband, Larry, was training for the Rome marathon and I was going to watch him run. I'd booked ferry boats and riads in distant market places.

Instead I sat on my living room couch, watching winter turn to spring. On Easter Sunday I watched family going out for brunch. Then, after ten weeks, my doctor said I could travel. But the truth was I could barely walk. But at Larry's insistence we flew to Europe with the wheelchair, crutches, a cane, and walking boot, and lots and lots of meds. In fact it was impossible.

Our daughter was in Ireland so we spent a few days in a freezing Irish mizzle (mist/drizzle) Larry shoved me through Temple Bar, along its cobblestone streets, dodging many drunken college students on their spring break. Then we flew to Paris to spend a long weekend. I was so happy that I made this journal page as we were landing. It was my mother who first brought me to Paris. She had always wanted to visit the city of lights and she'd named our first dog Renoir. Then in 1968 I live there for a year, the most exciting year of all. Now I try to return as often as I can, but never before in a wheelchair.

In Paris Larry shoved me through the Latin Quarter. My husband, the portrait of patience, like poor Sisyphus, wheeled me to the Tuilleries. I bumped along, not always a great sport. At the Louvre the fire alarm went off and I found myself stuck in Grecian sculpture. We pushed on to Spain. In Spain we had an apartment in an old Moorish town that looked out on to the Mediterranean.

On our first outing we were going to go for a walk along the sea. When we arrived, he went to get the wheelchair out of the trunk, and I told him to leave it there. Slowly I began to walk again...

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