PALAVERING WITH BEULAH: Grace, Mary Alice and me
By Beulah Rampage Fishbite
Times are changing for ole Beulah. I finally received my power chair, which I named Grace, for a lady I knew in New York. Grace the chair is bright metallic red, powerful, useful and new. The steering on this chair is hair-trigger, it is zero turn, and has a high speed. I am scared to death of it, but am gradually getting used to it. My neighbor, Mary Alice, helps me along, she accompanies me, with her hot pink wheeled walker.
So, I knew I needed to get used to going outside with this power chair but was so afraid. Mary Alice just kept telling me it was no big deal. She convinced me to sign up to get a Covid vaccine at the church next to our apartment building. So, I called and got an appointment and on the set day Mary Alice and I set off. Getting out the narrow doors happened uneventfully. Then down the front sidewalk. All without incident. Then we turned down the front sidewalk, Mary Alice and her hot pink walker led the way, warning and coaching me as we went. We got to the road that led up the hill to the church door. There were some tee shirted people positioned to direct traffic and check off names. And it was right then I felt I was transported to Buster Midnights Café with Mary Alice acting as the Governor.
As we faced that hill she turned to me and said “Whatever you do, don’t stop on the hill”. That struck fear to my heart. Now it was the childhood days of the “Ya Ya Sisterhood”. I put Grace in forward march and we went up that hill with Mary Alice huffing and puffing to keep up. I am not sure if that hot pink walker was aiding her or if she was working to get it up the hill. But we made the doors. Inside we were shot in the head with a thermometer, and I had to advance to a sign-in table which I miraculously did without ramming into it. Since Mary Alice had already been vaccinated, she sat in the lobby and chatted. Then I went around the table and into the “treatment room” which was obviously a Sunday School classroom with little verses on the wall (“Fear not! For I am with you!”). Each table had a masked nurse sitting there, I am sure they were all smiling (or maybe laughing as I rammed into tables and chairs). One seemed very welcoming to me so I pulled up, short of knocking her off her chair. Vaccination was short and sweet and I got my official card, and a pin to boast my accomplishment. They also gave me a bottle of water, but I had to pass as Grace had no carrying accessory.
Back out into the hallway and re-uniting with Mary Alice who was happily chatting away with some lady she knew. They informed me I had to wait there 15 minutes to be observed. HA! I went exploring. I found a very friendly nerd who was very busy about doing his job, I watched and never did figure out what his job was. The 15 minutes was up quickly, I had had no chemical reaction nor turned purple or green and we were released to leave. Mary Alice had made the decision that we were not going down that hill with my novice command of Grace. Her chatty friend led us to an elevator that let us out at a lower level. Once we were outside we were in a parking lot through which a truck was trying to move, but we were definitely impeding his progress (Spielberg boys on bikes we were). With much exploring and no bumping, we made it home. That was Saturday, the following Tuesday the vaccine I received was “paused.”