This week I embarrassed myself.
I haven't embarrassed myself in public this bad since the time I kicked the zebra keychain.It was Tuesday, so we had gone to Music Circus, this week for Gypsy, a magnificent production starring three-time Tony nominee Carolee Carmello as Mama Rose. Don't tell Jim Brochu, but I liked her better than Ethel Merman, for whom the show was written. Merman had such a sharp edge to her, which Rose needs, but Carmello's heart shone though more, I thought, and she could belt out those familiar tunes with the best of them.
I didn't embarrass myself until intermission.
With this "whatever it is," it is difficult to stand up. I have to push up; I can't pull up. I don't know why, but that's what it is. We've talked about putting a safety bar in the downstairs bathroom but that won't do any good because I would have to pull myself up on it and that's the least efficient way of getting to my feet.
As I've explained before, it's not that my legs or knees hurt. In fact they feel perfectly normal, but it's like when my brain sends the signal to stand up, it doesn't reach the knees and they do nothing. Usually by rocking back and forth 3 or 4 times, the message finally gets through and I can stand up...again, with no pain, just with struggle.
This makes it difficult when sitting in the middle of a row in a theater when half the row wants to go out for a potty or snack break. I hate making people climb over me because I hate it when I have to climb over people. Last week, Jeff didn't use his second ticket so there was an empty seat next to e and I could kind of turn my body and make a slightly larger space to squeeze through.
I was feeling good about things this time, though. I noticed I was walking around the house without a cane more that day and though I still needed help getting into the car, I felt certain I could stand up to let folks pass.
Oh, what a mistake.
Not only could I not stand up, I also couldn't swivel around to let them climb past me that way. There were six people standing there waiting to get out and I couldn't get up.
I tried and tried and tried and nothing worked. Walt helped by trying to lift me, Jeff tried to lift me and even people standing in line tried to lift me.
What made it worse was that I had worn a lovely pair of black velveteen slacks, which are now a little too big for me, so that the waist band is loose. The velveteen material acts like Velcro against the cloth theater seat so if I can move my body, the slacks stay where they were, so with all the pushing and trying to stand up, the pants kept slipping down and Walt was trying not only to help me up, but to keep my pants from falling!
They eventually got me standing up and I apologized profusely to the people I had inconvenienced and then while they were all having a good time peeing and eating outside, I walked back and forth the length of the row, with no problem at all. No pain, no weakness, no nothing.
Back for Act 2 and I spent the act worrying about what would happen at the end of the show.
Sacramento generally drives me nuts because it seems that EVERY show gets a standing ovation at the end, whether it deserves it or not (England is so much more dignified!). Whether you liked it or hated it, you have to participate because you can't see what is going on on stage unless you join the standees. But this works to my advantage because the second the people stand up, I start struggling to my feet and generally by the time the last actors have left the stage, I am standing up.
But for some reason, the way the bows were staged for this show, nobody stood up until Rose took her bow, and then everyone leaped to their feet. Not only was it not enough time for me to get to my feet, again my legs did. not. work. at. all.
We went through it all again. Jeff tried pulling me up, I tried pushing up, Walt tried pushing me up while holding my pants from falling off and everyone around me tried to help. Some little woman in the row behind leaned over and pushed and kept saying "Come on! I know you can do it!"
I eventually did get up.
The frustrating thing about this is that when I left the theater, I sat on a bench outside waiting for Walt and Jeff to come out and when they did, I stood up just like a normal person. I hardly even needed to push up at all. So what the heck happened in the theater seats?
It may have been sitting in one spot for more than an hour with my knees bent, but I had a clue of the problem yesterday when I tried to get up from my desk chair. I have a chair on wheels and I roll it back against my work table so that it can't move and I push myself up. Sometimes it takes rocking back and forth 3 or 4 times before the knees engage but generally I have no problem. But yesterday it was like being at the theater. I tried everything and the knees resolutely refused to move.
I did finally, with a few tears and bad words, manage to stand upright. For awhile I thought I'd have to sit there until Walt got home from the store. As soon as I'm upright, I'm absolutely fine. Shortly after I got up, I needed to look something up on the internet, so I went back in the office and cringed when I had to sit down again, but I noticed before I sat down was that the chair was at its lowest setting, so it was like sitting in a hole and maybe I was trying to push up from too low a position. It made me wonder if that is the case with the Music Circus seats too. When I raised the chair to its highest position I was able to push up with no problem whatsoever.
I'm now thinking of trying to find a cushion to bring with me next week and see if that will help me stand up. I will definitely NOT be wearing the velveteen pants!