I am a planner. I like to organize things to avoid chaos. I find comfort in looking at life like a chess game, trying to anticipate what might happen, creating contingency plans “just in case.”
Well… Often life doesn’t cooperate. Unexpected things irritatingly just happen. These are the little things that distract me from feeling peace and comfort. And sometimes there doesn’t appear to be an immediate solution available to fix the problem.
As Nick’s mobility has decreased, Arden and I have discovered equipment that supports his needs and makes it possible for Nick to still travel and experience the world. Having this equipment with us has increased our baggage as well as our ease. Last week while we were in the middle of hosting a family reunion in Ireland, Nick’s bath lift began to fail.
The first day we were here, there was a moment of anxiety when the Up button was non-responsive, but then the motor worked fine. For a few days then, we got used to the pattern of the motor balking at bringing Nick back up out of the water at first, but then doing its job. Then one morning, the lift refused to move Nick back up at all. Fearful thoughts of, “How will we get him back out of the tub?”, “Will we hurt our backs?”, and “What will we do?” flooded our minds. Nick, however, said a prayer. Then in a stroke of brilliance, Arden unplugged the battery pack from the motor and waited a few minutes before plugging it in again. After pushing the button again, the lift responded. All was well.
We didn’t think about the lift until two days later when it failed again. None of the diagnostics displayed any problem and it seemed that no matter what we did, the lift wouldn’t respond. This time Arden disconnected the motor, plugged it back into the wall charger and left it there for awhile. When he re-plugged it into the lift, the motor did engage and brought the lift (and Nick) up again. We determined that it would be best to use the chair as only a bath chair without engaging the lift. We went online to order a new one. It was to arrive in 3 to 5 days.
I felt awful. I was surprised how much solace I had experienced through having that one piece of support equipment in working order. Now that it was broken, my mind envisioned all sorts of dire outcomes. I don’t need to rehearse them for you, but I was extremely creative envisioning the horrible things that could be the outcome for Nick if we couldn’t care for his personal hygiene properly.
Even though it was worrisome, Arden believed that he could care for Nick for this short period of time as we waited for the new lift to arrive. I was reassured. All was well again.
After four days with no delivery date assigned, I contacted the company through their customer service chat and was assured that we would hear from them within a day. We did. The email arrived the next day. With great anticipation I opened it, only to discover that the lift would now arrive in two weeks, on the day before we were scheduled to leave for home. Despair filled my mind, nothing seemed to mitigate my fear.
Over the next couple of days, I began to remember that we had dealt with even more difficult problems in the past and we would handle this one. In hindsight, I am surprised at how such a small thing as a motor malfunctioning could undermine my feeling of contentment and completely sideline my feelings of joy and happiness. This wasn’t a critical life-threatening event, it was just one motor. I realized how important it is to curb my tendency, under pressure, to rush head long toward creating a story board of the worst possible outcome. Life is much easier if I just live and cope with the current moment, concerning myself with the immediate story.
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