Maybe I’ll Get Lucky Tonight

The phone was ringing. Shortly after my wife answered it, not only did I know it was our son, but I knew why he was calling. After a couple minutes she shouted to me “Mark wants to talk to you.” As I turned on the speaker my son said “Happy Anniversary.” I couldn’t believe it! We’ve been married 52 years. As our conversation came to a close, I told Mark that we’re going out to dinner at an extremely nice restaurant not far from here. Always looking to make a joke I said who knows “maybe I’ll get lucky tonight.” There was no chance of me getting lucky in the way this quote is usually used. Abstinence, while a choice for some, was just another behavior forced on us by my quadriplegia.

Wedding Day 1965

Wedding Day 1965

It is not unusual when I take questions and answers from a group I’d just spoken to for someone to ask me what do I miss the most. I always answer intimacy. Not sexual intercourse, which it 74 would probably not be a major activity anyway, but rather the subtle displays of affection that take place during a normal day. The warmth and security of a hug, a touch as my wife passes by or most of all snuggling in bed. All of these little shows of affection are extremely difficult for someone who was paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair. Once I’m placed in bed, I can only move my arms and my head. Being unable to roll on my side makes snuggling next to impossible. A hug with a person in a wheelchair is awkward at best. The physical presence of the chair combined with the fact that my wife has to bend way over makes contact difficult and as a result usually brief. At night or in the morning while I am still in bed, I will notice my wife walked by and touch my foot or leg. If I wasn’t looking I would never know that it had taken place.

In reality being a quadriplegic takes a lot of common everyday occurrences away from you. However, there are some things that you become more conscious of as a result of your disability. One of the first things that would be mentioned is the observation that the majority of people in our society are good, caring and loving individuals who want to do the right thing. Unfortunately, most programs on television or the Internet tend to focus on the small percentage of individuals who do not fall into this majority.

To get back to the original statement I made to my son little did I know that it was foreshadowing for the dinner ahead. Our waitress at the restaurant also works in my doctor’s office so she knew who we were. In the course of the dinner we mentioned to her that it was our 52nd wedding anniversary. When she bought our dessert there were a couple candles in it and we laughed as we blew them out. When it came time to pay she informed us that someone, who wished to remain anonymous, had already paid for our dinner. While the restaurant was pretty crowded we did not recognize anyone we knew. For some reason someone had reached out and touched us. People should know the strength and ability to persevere, we draw from such acts of kindness. The reaching out of people like this helps give us the strength we need to move through the struggles that we face in our daily lives. Thanks to all of you who reach out to all of us. Oh, and by the way I did get lucky that night.

Our family on our 50th anniversary

Our family on our 50th anniversary

7 responses to “Maybe I’ll Get Lucky Tonight

  1. Hi Rich,
    What a lovely blog. Thanks for sharing this with us. Oh and a happy belated anniversary!
    Best wishes
    Gary Mantle

  2. Many blessings to you both on your 52

    R Wyatt

  3. jandghyde@yahoo.com

    Love you guys.

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  4. Reblogged this on zuzusays and commented:
    Reach out and touch someone today.

  5. Mom always said that she missed being touched too. I tried to make sure I touched her cheek so she could feel me near her, and my sister and I would lay on the bed with her to watch tv or have a long chat at night before she went to bed. The loss of intimacy must be very lonely, it’s a connection we all crave.

    She got pneumonia, went to the hospital and died on Jan.1st. My sister and dad were with her, and were able to touch her face and shoulders during the night as she transitioned to the next phase of life everlasting. She feels everything now in a most intimate and glorious way.

  6. Happy belated anniversary! I too have noticed the kindness of people since I have started using a wheelchair. Just today a lady helped me load it into the backseat of my car when she saw me struggling. There is definitely a lot of good in the world.

  7. Expressive Clay Art

    Love this story!

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