Wednesday, March 27, 2013

An Accidental Adventure

According to WikipediaAn adventure is an exciting or unusual experience; it may also be a bold, usually risky undertaking, with an uncertain outcome.[1] Adventures may be activities with some potential for physical danger, such as skydivingmountain climbing or participating in extreme sports. The term also broadly refers to any enterprise that is potentially fraught with physical, financial or psychological risk, such as a business venture, a love affair, or other major life undertakings.

Over a year ago, when the chronic affects of fatigue, hypervigilence, severe itching, loss of cognitive skills and memory loss reared their ugly heads and took over my life completely changing it, adventure became something I watched in a movie, read in a book, or experienced vicariously through others.

Going outside the den into the big world outside to appointments, etc., became a struggle.  Not because of agoraphobia, although it can be a result of the stress and trauma I went through, but because I no longer had the physical, emotional or cognitive capabilities to navigate the outside world on my own.

My world became constricted, most of the time, to my house.  Especially to one room.  The one I call my office.  The one which houses almost everything I need to sustain life as I know it:  the computer, DVDs, CDs, books, my yarn stash.  In short, everything I need to survive - except the bed, the kitchen and the bathroom.

So when I had an appointment with a specialist in another town about an hour from my den, it presented a challenge.  Factor in that our one and only car (complete with hubby) was in a different town in a completely different direction that day plus all the people I would normally call on for a ride were not available, the challenge escalated.  I seriously considered cancelling the appointment - until my loyal supporter, aka daughter bear, said that if I were doing better she would suggest taking a bus.

Thus began what became an "accidental" adventure.  Problem-solving discovered how to get there (and back) by bus.  Brainstorming with Papa Bear came up with a plan.  He would drop me off and continue on to where he had to be, thus getting me not only to the city in question but to the exact geographical area.  I only had to find my way back - a one-way challenge.

The day arrived.  I was experiencing a lot of angst especially as the ability to speak sometimes deserts me in strange places, and I appear to be mentally disabled to outsiders.  (You've never lived until you've seen people react to you as though you're mentally challenged - or worse.)  Daughter bear suggested I write everything down so that if I couldn't speak coherently, I could show people where I needed to be.

I programmed in the GPS and we were on our way - to the scary unknown.

Arriving close to our destination, it was clear that something was amiss when we drove past a run down, two-story brick building which was supposed to be the correct address.  Oh!  The street had an east and a west.  We were on West, so we tried East - and Voila! like magic the correct building appeared.   Although hours too early for the appointment, we walked to the building, got in the elevator and found the correct office.  Even though it was obvious (at least to me) that I wasn't operating on all four cylinders mentally, the receptionist was delightful (maybe she's used to strange patients).  She confirmed the appointment and gave us directions to the bus station since I would have to find it after the appointment on my own.  

Even though her directions were very simple, I found it difficult to comprehend them.  This is where Papa Bear's unfailing love and help came in.  Together, we found the right exit. Together, we walked to the bus station.  He stayed back while I purchased my ticket home.  Together we walked back to where he had parked the car and prayed for successful ventures for both of us.  Me to my appointment and later home by bus; him to another city to take a course. 

Then I was on my own.  Alone in an unfamiliar city for the first time in a long time.  Alone.  Yet, thanks to Papa Bear equipped with everything I needed to survive: knowledge of where the appointment and the bus station were; my bus ticket purchased.  I had my cell phone, a book and a project to knit.  I had what was left of my tattered and battered cognitive skills - which although submerged but are still in existence.  I had people praying for me and routing for me.

It was not an adventure in the sense that most people would comprehend.  I didn't climb a mountain or vault over a tall building in a single bound.  But I did manage to navigate in a strange city - alone - for the first time since the stress breakdowns.  Away from all the familiar.  Away from all the supports I've built into my daily life and routine.  I challenged myself - and I succeeded.

I am proud of myself for that.

My one regret:  I did not bring my camera along to visually preserve the adventure.

Maybe next time....





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