The Ongoing Story Of The Intrepid Michael Robert Wrycraft
Graphic artist, music promoter and bon vivant Michael Wrycraft recently had both legs amputated, and yet his humour and sense of self haven't diminished an iota. What follows is the further adventures of... as posted on Facebook this past weekend.
By Michael Wrycraft
This has been a long time coming…
Update #17 Michael vs “The Real World!!!”
Three weeks ago yesterday, I made a move from my five-month, three-hospital tour to Bellwoods Park House, a six-month transitional apartment at Shaw and Dundas. On Thursday I moved into this small, but very functional, one-bedroom apartment I quickly came to the realization that the three hospitals that stole my summer from me were, in fact, luxury hotels compared to “the real world.” In the hospital, I was waited on hand and foot. If I needed anything… I buzzed the call bell, and someone was there in minutes, day or night. “Could I please get some ice-water?” “Absolutely” the nurse would reply. “I’m so sorry, but I’ve pooped my brief/diaper/bed!” “Not a problem dear, happens to everyone” would be the response from a smiling nurse/psw. It was like a luxury hotel!!!
As happy as I am being a positive, “up” creative type, that finds humour and beauty in everything, none of that joie de vivre was apparent on day one in my new digs. I was 50% ball of misery and 50% self-pity!!! Everything, and I have never been surer of this word than right now, everything, are you picking up what I am laying down? EVERYTHING was difficult! Any mundane, day to day task became difficult. When I would get to play in my spanky new power wheelchair in the hospital after physio, it was a leisure activity. Zoom around the hospital corridors, whip down to the Timmies, grab a latte and a peanut butter cookie and go sit outside and breathe in the dying gasps of summer while introducing my “indoor” lungs to the bracing chill of late Autumn. All in all… three hours in the chair per day, max!
Not in the “real world”… no siree Bob! I was now spending 16 hours a day in my new moveable home, within a home, being put to bed and woken up in the morning, on a strict non-changeable schedule! In bed at two am and up at 11 am. I do not need or even want nine hours sleep… I am great with seven but being the newest in the building and having the flexible luxury of working from home, this is what I now live with. The total accessibility, and the modern luxury of assisted living, I am still getting used to.
Now please remember I am describing my first day, okay, my first week! Truth be told, the first two weeks were like this. But things get better every single day. I have reduced my bouncing off of things like counters, doors, walls, people and elevator doors like a pinball, from 100 times a day to about 40 times and of this I am very proud. Grocery Gateway and Amazon.ca have become my best friends. I have discovered the diamond lane, separated by a yellow lane on the one-way south shaw street, meant as a bike lane but perfect for power wheelchairs. I have a wonderful hipster latte/Reuben Sandwich place, The Tampered Press, less than a block away; a fabulous dispensary (YAYYY!!!) just around the corner and the best slice of “za” I’ve had in many years only a block and a half away, at Super Point on Ossington (thanks, Richard Flohil)!
And course… the star of the show… Trinity Bellwoods Park, practically at my doorstep. It is beautiful in the late Autumn and the perfect place to sip a latte and watch the lovely bipeds who stroll past. Whether I am tooling up the Diamond lane to College to the 24-hour Metro or free-wheeling through the park, I find that there appear to be only two kinds of folk I encounter… the smiley, friendly type, with or without a dog in tow, who nod at you, make eye contact and say “good morning” or “good afternoon” and smile!!! Or… even though I am legless AND in a wheelchair, will look at me or avoid my gaze, seemingly frightened as if I were going to rape or harm them in some way, both men and women.
So as I said, things are getting better every day and little touches here and there make things a bit easier. The dark cloud above me is dissipating, and my usual sunny side is appearing more and more each day!
One of the better things that happened was David Farrell asking me to write a small article for his FYI Music News. You can read it here if you are so inclined. I'm about seven items down on the front page below Michael Bublé, Neil Young and right below the Barenaked Ladies. With the saucy title: Nothing, And We Mean Nothing, Seems To Stump A Man Called Wrycraft
Also... I went to my very first Crippled Christmas Party last week!!! There was a decent Christmas dinner, some raffle prizes (I won a cool one, though on my way up to receive it I shouted out “It better not be new winter boots or I’ll be pissed!!!”) to a room full of laughing people and I was doomed to hearing the joke repeated many times the next day to the folks who didn’t attend.
More about my very first Crippled Christmas Party next instalment…