The weekend after my surgery, I went to an Oakland A’s baseball game. My daughter and her fiance really wanted to go and so did I. So, I grabbed my trusty walker and took the plunge. We tailgated and had a yummy meal in the parking lot, but we weren’t able to get into the handicapped parking. I learned about handicapped gates which don’t really let you in more quickly, and I learned that there is really no convenient place to put your walker when you get into your seat. My poor daughter had to leave our group to go up and “check” the walker, which meant that it wasn’t available during the game to go to the restroom. Are you starting to get a picture of our game day?
Our seats were only down about fifteen rows of seats from the upper concourse, but they were seats in the middle of a row, rather than on the end. We had spent so much time on the walker issue that we were late getting to our seats and other fans, around us, were already eating their dogs and peanuts. I just looked at my husband and said, “I can’t make it into those seats.” The stadium wasn’t filling quickly, so we found some seats on the end of a row and sat down. As luck would have it, about half an hour into the game, the owner of those seats arrived. So, we moved a few rows down and settled in…until the owners of those seats arrived. There were a lot of seats all around us, but the ticket holders happily told us we were in their seats, even though the gimpy lady could barely walk. My daughter and her fiance were so frustrated that they moved to a different part of the stadium. My husband and I continued to play, “Excuse me, but these are our seats.” Finally, a man who had been watching my struggle, got up and offered us his seats. God bless him, he could see that I was trying to take on much more than my physical condition would allow.
I learned two very important things that day, which would help me in my road to recovery. Stay home and don’t try to be a hero. My daughter was so looking forward to that game, and struggling with an invalid mother is the last thing she needed to do. A lot of times people want to think that they are helping you by including you, but you would really be much more comfortable at home watching the game on TV. I also learned that, if we had checked out the situation a little more, there was a group called the A’s Team. They will meet you at your car and help you into the stadium – right into your seat. When the game is over, they will once again come and get you at your seat, and will escort you all the way back to your car. They do this with the help of little electric carts. We had not yet learned that my current situation was going to require more preparation and pre-planning.
We learned that we needed to check into handicapped accessibility. How many steps to the front door? Is there a handicapped restroom with bars to hold onto? Will I be able to get in and out of a chair, comfortably, at dinner? Are there elevators? Every time we asked these questions, Artie was smirking in the corner. Why wasn’t I just giving up and staying home?