Yet more Life on The Outside

I long for baking. It has been over 4 years since I baked anything, and one afternoon helper Monique aided me in making a moist strawberry-flavored cake with buttercream frosting. Rather than satisfy me, I found my desire whetted to create many more homemade treats. Oldest daughter Maren, who actually tolerates me living in her house, may find herself being an unwilling aide to my creativity!

Yvonne Stegner
Guest Contributor

So much for “Life on the Outside”! My schizophrenic power wheelchair chooses to spend more time malfunctioning than working as it’s supposed to, and an incredibly knowledgeable technician at Great Plains Rehab in Bismarck gave me the unwelcome news that 1 of 2 motors in my wheelchair is failing. $1200+cost of labor to install a new motor – yikes! Thus I am confined to the house because it’s unthinkable to me to ask anyone to push a 600# object anywhere. On the bright side I’m forced to learn to sit without back support, as the chair is stuck in a reclining position, and I have never liked to sit leaning back. I firmly believe God traveled with Monique and I that day, because the chair worked perfectly that day as we loaded up for Bismarck, got the front wheels replaced, the problem diagnosed, shopped at Walmart for some necessities, and returned to Bowman. The chair didn’t misbehave until we were at home, ready to leave the van for our house. Thank You God!

I spend the majority of my waking hours at my table which faces Highway 85, which I like because I am a nosybody (or a rubberneck, as people like me were known in my generation)! I am amazed by the large objects that are being transported up and down the highway. The “rubberneck” in me likes to see who visits the credit union nearby. The former-USPS employee in me delights to see my neighbor/USPS mail carrier return to Bowman from his route like clockwork each day.

One day was full of bad news. The wheelchair technician from Bismarck phoned, and after thinking about my powerchair, he thinks it best to replace both motors simultaneously. This, coupled with the new drive tire the chair requires, adds up to possibly a $2800 repair bill! I am also saddened to learn that the stroke which affected me so drastically has claimed a victim – my marriage. I am not surprised, because I have felt this looming over me for quite some time. I feel like I should be angry, but I really cannot. Mistakes were made by both of us. I also realize that some people struggle with the challenges presented by dealing with the victim of a debilitating stroke. One of the benefits of living in a nursing home was witnessing firsthand the devotion shown by people for their family members who were nursing home residents. So heartwarming!

I also was blessed with great news this day. A power wheelchair, that hasn’t been used for years, but has more features than mine, is available here in Bowman. I will get to take it for a test drive as soon as the batteries charge up. The chair is charging just outside my bedroom, and I am anticipating moving around on my own again! I requested prayer for my wheelchair situation, and what an answer! As God’s word says, “Ask, and ye shall receive…”

I am mobile! I feel so free! There is a downside: the batteries don’t want to hold a charge, so daughter Maren makes an appointment in Bismarck to have the batteries replaced. But when those batteries are not being rejuvenated, I am so euphoric to be able to do things for myself. I am not a person who wants to have everything done for me, while I sit on my duff.

I was so exhilarated to go to Thursday night worship/Bible study. Perhaps that’s why I wasn’t thinking about tightening my seat belt, or how a front-wheel-drive wheelchair will perform differently when descending the ramp leading out of the handicapped-accessible van I was in. Anyway, on descent, the chair tipped (but was stopped by the anti-tip front wheels) and I slid off the wheelchair seat (because the safety belt wasn’t snug). Helper Blanca kept me from “tasting the blacktop” by keeping me from falling further, while flagging down some awesome passers-by to help. The Bowman Police also happened to arrive on the scene, and all those kind people helped me get back in the van and comfortably re-seated. I am so thankful for them, and for living in small-town North Dakota! As a friend recently guessed about me, I am exhilarated by thrills like that, unintentional though it was. However, I don’t wish to inconvenience others as a result of my escapades. I do chuckle when I think of the sight I must have made! …

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