Leave Pass Lessons

Currently in a wheelchair and faced with the prospect of navigating a small flight of stairs, my childhood instincts kicked in. It wasn’t a large set of stairs, only six or seven steps, but to get where I wanted to be, I needed to get out of the wheelchair.

My friends offered to lift and carry me, or to act as human “crutches.” “Don’t worry, it’ll be easier if I just sit down and climb up and down on my bum.”, I told them, and it was. Children learning to walk facing a similar challenge often respond in the same way.

While the challenge of a minor flight of stairs at a pub was manageable, the difficulty of negotiating a single step at a restaurant was more of a challenge. For the single step, sliding on my bum wasn’t a viable option.

My friend offered to carry me down the step. Despite his considerable strength, I was afraid I was too heavy, and he would collapse under my weight. .

Briefly, as I nestled my face into his shoulder like a child with their parent, I almost started crying, thinking “This is all too hard”. But it never happened, all was okay, and it’s a reminder of the importance of not overthinking things.

This “leave pass” was of great significance to me, as it meant attending a farewell gathering for three colleagues I had known and cared about for a long time. One of them teared up upon seeing me arrive by surprise at the venue. As we hugged, I whispered in her ear that I couldn’t possibly miss this farewell.

Considering the importance of this event, I had planned for the outing, going through in my mind how we would get there, and what I might need to consider.

My first step was to contact the pub, “The Rose” in Chippendale, to inquire about their wheelchair accessibility. I told them that I had been to the pub many, many time before, but couldn’t remember their layout in terms of accessibility. I had never needed to think about it previously.

They told me the venue was largely wheelchair accessible, except for a raised area up the back. As it turns out, that’s where the farewell was being held. In hindsight, I should have asked the venue what part of the pub my colleagues had booked.

As well as saying farewell to my colleagues, I loved the opportunity to reconnect with current coworkers whom I hadn’t seen in a few months, and previous colleagues whom I hadn’t seen in several years.

After a coupleof hours, it was time to depart. Just when the party was gettng started!!

Making our way to the front door, a “bouncer” parted the crowded bar for us, reminiscent of Moses parting the Red Sea. We really appreciated the venue’s help.

Around 6pm, we were starting to get hungry, and also I needed to administer my insulin.

Following my suggestion, we returned to Surry Hills and dined at my favorite local Vietnamese restaurant, Khois, also ensuring convenient parking at my nearby apartment complex.

While we had enjoyed Vietnamese cuisine during our recent trip to Vietnam together, I had consistently praised the exceptional food and delightful owners of Khois.

My friends loved the food and enjoyed sharing a few words in Vietnamese with the staff. Unfortunately, I had to wait until I returned to the hospital to enjoy my food in a takeaway container.

Takeaway from Khois

The delay was due to my requirement to administer insulin before eating.

Although I’ve become reasonably proficient in using insulin pens, there was an issue with the new pen I had taken with me. It wouldn’t “click” to allow me to select the necessary dosage. When I explained the situation to the nurses back at the hospital, they immediately recognized the problem, saying it happened from time to time.

My blood sugar levels were fine before my leave pass, and checking them again back at the hospital, they were also fine, within the normal range. Things seem to be progressing well in that regard, and from this weekend, I’m on a lower dosage.

This experience taught me the importance of always having a backup insulin pen on hand for circumstances like this.

A couple of lessons learned, in terms of planning, but totally worth the effort.

2 Replies to “Leave Pass Lessons”

  1. I am so glad to see you’re getting out and about…will be a brave new world when you finally leave St Vincent’s…!!!

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