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Not Exactly an Emergency / The Beat Heat Manifesto

I didn't want to call the fire department. No one does. Unless they have to. You see, I sort of got myself into a situation. Not immediately life-threatening, yet not exactly life-affirming either. At least there was plenty of time for solutions; dozens of minutes, a couple of hours, but perhaps not much more than that.

Eh, I'm being too dramatic here. Everything was absolutely fine. Yes, I knew everything would work out … eventually.

The Basics

What I'll do is explain what happened, from the beginning. Not the very beginning. Nobody has time for that.

At 10:17 a.m. this morning the garage door repairman arrived. Why was he necessary? Well, two evenings prior, the upper portion of the garage door split down the middle. And if not to scale, a nearly faithful rendition of the San Andreas Fault appeared, leaving the operation of the automatic garage door in question.

At first, I thought I'd be stuck inside the garage forever and ever, amen. Or at least, until someone could repair the broken nature of the garage door apparatus. With the way I am currently situated, there is no other means to outdoor freedom.

So I did what anybody else would do in my situation, and I contacted a garage door repair operation the following day.

I already knew why it happened, what the exact problem was. Back about five years ago (when the previous repairman put in a new automatic garage door opening system), he didn't attach the lift arm properly. And directly due to this failing, the garage door was slightly bowed up top, pulled inward where the arm connects to the upper door frame. Of course, I had no way of knowing this until I recently moved into the garage. I wasn't available back then, when they originally fixed the original problem … you know, back when I was in survival mode, stuck in bed … all that.

Anyways, when the split occurred, nuts and bolts came raining down upon me as the garage door was opening. No, I wasn't injured. But it took several minutes to figure out that we could still open the garage door manually. So that's what I've been doing for the past 24 hours - manually lifting up the garage door to let in the cool air overnight, and then shutting the door during the daylight hours to keep some semblance of coolness inside.

So this morning, after the repair guy estimator departed, I headed outdoors for a late-morning roll around the village. I wanted to get out before the heat became unbearable. No, 95° isn't incredibly hot, but my black on black chair sucks in, and then maintains, all the warmth.

When I came back home 20 minutes later (around noon) I tried to lift the garage door manually, but it would only open partially. So I struggled and struggled, before becoming too exhausted to do anything else besides sit there beneath the blazing sun, contemplating my immediate future.

Fortuitous Timing

It just so happened that one of my neighbors came by, a young woman in a pink bikini. At first I wasn't going to ask her (admittedly, I hate asking for help), but then I decided “help” was more important than my temporarily fractured ego. Nope, I wouldn't be able to solve the problem on my own. I couldn't very well sit outside in the broiling heat all day long. Or for that matter, I couldn't sit outside in the heat until the repair people came on Monday, three days after the fact.

I briefly considered my options. But really, where could a wheelchair person possibly go to hang out for several days successively, a place catering to my needs?

Well, I figured I might be able to sneak back into the nursing home unannounced. Maybe they wouldn't realize that I didn't live there any longer.

I also considered the possibly hanging out at the Dollar Store, the local marijuana dispensary, or perhaps even the library. But none of those places is open 24 hours a day. Plus, I'd eventually have to go to the bathroom. And where exactly would I do that? Each of my survival supplies remained inside the garage.

So, per my request, my bikini neighbor pulled and tugged, trying to raise the garage door (to no avail). And as a matter of fact, during her struggle, one of the glass window panels shattered, raining down glass shards at her feet.

“Do you want to come over to my place, hang out inside my garage until you figure something out?” she offered.

“Well, that sounds like a reasonable option, and I appreciate the offer, but …” I responded, processing options all the while.

With my necessary items locked inside the garage, finding my way into her condo wouldn't cut the mustard.

I briefly thought about contacting my wife, who was at work, but quickly realized that she didn't need to stress. Plus, there would be nothing she could do to help me from a dozen miles away.

“Or, you can come inside my condo. It's air conditioned. And I'm pretty sure your wheelchair will fit through the doorway. Plus, I'm on the first floor.”

I thanked her for the options and suggestions, deciding to roll across the way into her garage and ponder my options. Getting out of the direct sunlight seemed to be the highest priority.

Again, she afforded me the opportunity to go inside her condo, but again, if I was inside her condo and had to go to the bathroom … I mean, how would that work? I can't use an actual real bathroom. And I really wasn't quite ready for that level of embarrassment, trying to do so.

As I was rolling across the cobblestone drive, my new upstairs-across-the-way neighbor offered her assistance, as well. She insisted I go into her garage and hang out there instead. But her garage has more direct sun exposure, likely meaning it was hotter inside.

Decisions Rendered

I immediately decided to call the fire department, the non-emergency number. I figured the firefighters could physically carry me inside the condo through the front door, then deposit me in my bed inside the garage.

Note: I had to use a service before, back when I was mostly immobilized and the medical transport people were afraid to carry me back up the stairs after being in the hospital. They call it a “Lift” service.

My suggested call to the fire department seemed to be the most reasonable option to my neighbor. Then again, I'm quite sure she had little desire to acquire a weekend roommate. Assuming the issue would soon be resolved, I asked her if I could temporarily park my power wheelchair in her garage, until the repair people did their repair thing on Monday. She didn't have a problem with that temporary solution. As a matter of fact, and despite the overall inconvenience, she was very kind throughout my mini ordeal. Of course, I felt slightly embarrassed, having possibly made a series of poor decisions, but she was non-critical.

Over the phone, I instructed the non-emergency fire department operator to send an engine, but without sirens blaring and lights flashing.

“That's not a problem. They'll be there in a few minutes.”

I immediately had a sinking feeling. A few minutes? It wasn't a real emergency situation, yet… but it was already in the '90s, and heating up fast. So there was some urgency, I suppose.

Then, within 45 seconds, I could hear the sirens off in the distance. Damn it!

Upon arrival, I immediately informed them of the non-emergency nature of the situation.

So, they also tried to open the garage door manually, and failed. However, after entering through the main doorway, they were able to disassemble a few broken components, then manually open the garage door. That saved them the effort of having to unceremoniously carry me and my heavy bones through and beyond the threshold.

In addition, they also swept up all the broken glass and random nuts and bolts (the ones that rained down from above).

I apologized to the fire department personnel several times, but they were very supportive. They mentioned seeing me roll around the neighborhood on a few occasions, and appreciated my efforts in maintaining a form of normalcy in my everyday life.

Aftermath

So now I'm stuck in the garage, shut in until the repairs are made. Hopefully the estimate is reasonable. I just sold $300 worth of my Liquid Hope feeding formula, the stuff that made me physically ill for an extended period of time, so I'm hoping that amount covers the cost. But probably it won't.

Lessons Earned

This was really the first time my bold behavior had gotten into trouble. Ever since I got out of bed (after seven years) and into this wheelchair, I've pushed, pulled, and prodded the envelope. But it’s been entirely necessary for me to do so. All tall, I've missed a decade of normal life due to this mysterious illness. And I'd rather die or get killed doing the things I do, mainly, real tangible things in real life, as opposed to taking the safe route and perishing in bed - the place where I've been stuck for a greater portion of the past decade.

So that's the end of that, for now. I'm going to do what I can just stretch this out this garage living, so that I may continue having the freedom to roam. Although now my adventures and forays into the abyss are limited to the early morning excursions and late night roaming.


UPDATE 4:22p.m.

The garage door company called, explaining it'll take three weeks to receive the new matching garage door panel. So now I am apprehensive? Feeling pensive. Or something. Not sure.

It's unlikely I'd be able to last down here until May 1st. So probably, I'll have to arrange something.


UPDATE 7:11p.m.

The technician who was out earlier in the day explained that he could fix the garage door sometime next week. So that's some good news right there (besides the cost, at $577).

I also asked him if I (my wife) could detach the motor arm ourselves, and in so doing, be granted easy (and safe) access in and out of the garage without worrying that it would get jammed up again … until a more permanent solution is put in place.

He gave me the thumbs up over the phone. I could literally hear his thumb activating, pointing upward towards the double blue desert sky.


Thank you for reading. Take care.
Howard




As a friend told me, Sherbet Sky-

And no, this is not digitally enhanced or altered or anything. The evening sky really looked exactly like this. :)

IMG_20240418_190733.jpg


Broken Like Me

IMG_20240417_201458.jpg

Comments

I might have mentioned it before, but I’ll do it again.
You must feel you have a very, very restricted life. (You have)
But somehow you have a more dramatic life, then most people I know of 😂
I’m sure you could do without all the drama, but it certainly keeps us entertained, if that’s any consolation.

Glad you’re ok and I’m happy you met all those nice people
 
Hi Howard....I thought you had a wooden garage door, but the picture with the window has thrown me. If that's the case, it's a metal door.

You can get them without windows (may be cooler, I don't know), and the metal ones are so much better than the wooden ones; cheaper, too.

Mind you, I expect the metal doors would be hotter, but it's hard to say. The wooden ones break down frequently (from my experiences) and just plain wear out...the track at least. This is just so you know where you're headed. I hope it helps. Stay cool....it's in the low 50's here at the moment. Weather, huh? Yours, Lenora
 
I am surprised, but heartened, to hear about the kindness of your neighbor.

I'm glad you called the Fire Department and asked for help.

Please be mindful of heat-related illness when you are out and about. It can sneak up on you!
 
You must feel you have a very, very restricted life. (You have)
But somehow you have a more dramatic life, then most people I know

Likely true on both accounts.

Experiencing the element of surprise is the only thing that affirms my being alive. So I put myself into potential situations, wherein, the outcome is uncertain. At least, that's what I attempt to do on a daily basis. I put myself into situations and see how they play out. I engaged people. I occupy physical (and sometimes mental) spaces not normally occupied. Emotional elements (and experiences) are harder to come by ... although strangers occasionally engage me in this fashion.

And really, the only moments worth remembering in life happen when we are surprised by a situation, scenario, or outcome. Everything else, almost the entirety of our life experiences are summarily discarded: positive, negative, or otherwise.

So yes, sometimes I don't write because nothing happens. And I'm sure that's the case with many of you. When you're a shut-in, or stuck in bed, or caught up in someplace similar, not a whole lot of anything ever happens... What's there to tell about?

Suffering. Plain and simple.

I fall into that rut myself.


Uhh , didn't mean to ramble on. :)
 
You can get them without windows (may be cooler, I don't know), and the metal ones are so much better than the wooden ones; cheaper, too.

Hey there!

Because there's an HOA, we cannot change anything on the exterior portion of the building. But I believe you're correct. The metal is more durable, but it's not all that great in regards to insulation properties.

I'm jealous of your weather. After 100° tomorrow we're going to start dropping throughout the week.
 
Please be mindful of heat-related illness when you are out and about. It can sneak up on you!

Yes. I've only had one day where I was actually dehydrated. But I think I've figured out an outdoor rotation of sorts. After 10:00 a.m. I can spend 15 minutes at a time out in the heat. After 8:00 p.m., I can spend additional time outdoors.

Possibly not worth noting, but I begin perspiring at 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

Hope you're reasonably well :)
 
Hey Howard, I'm sure you have thought about these things when you go out. A spray bottle and umbrella? Or is it too bothersome to bring things on your outings? Or get your shirt wet before going out.
 
A spray bottle and umbrella? Or is it too bothersome to bring things on your outings? Or get your shirt wet before going out.

I do have a spray bottle that I utilize, and I do wet my hair and my shirt prior to venturing out. The umbrellas do not seem to be working out, though.

So, I base duration of my outdoor time upon my urinary output (and the color). Neat, huh? If I could actually drink water, or take on more fluids through my feeding tube, I wouldn't be having any issues whatsoever. Arghh

I'm sure your weather is perfect right about now.
 
I'm sure your weather is perfect right about now.
Yes it is and what I refer to as 'just the right temps' are making me reminiscent of growing up in California. And what is strange is the last few days I swear I can smell the ocean and I even feel mist on my cheeks. (This past Saturday the ocean scent was strongest). This isn't the first time I've smelled the ocean here in the desert. I know we've been able to smell fires here coming here from Cali in the past...... so I suppose it's possible there could be air currents carrying ocean smell also?
 
Howard!

While I was busy with my stomach not cooperating, all THAT happened?

You have got to sell the sit com rights. This could easily be the Pilot. For marketing purposes, you got a couple rounds of Long Covid and look what happened!??

Neighbor in a bikini, let's work on casting that. and I'll ask Viggo if he'd like a new gig. He's in something almost comedic, at the moment.

No, thats SCARY baking in the heat. I"m sorry the garage door broke. Darn.

This is why American's are told to have $400 extra dollars in a mattress someplace.

And you are supposed to be HIDING while garaging it. Of course they turned on the sirens, they love sirens.

Your really lucky you HAD neighbors nearby.

R
 
Oh the door looks bad.

Found myself here, in this new abode, with two automatic garage doors with like bicycle chains that pull one or the other open. Not both.

They broke in week one. But fortunately, there existed The Landlord and some guilt tripping.

So it was when the fixing men came, to correct the disintegrating threshold, and they plugged in their jack hammer: into the neighbors electrical system in broad daylight on the public sidewalk: our power was shut down for a week, we paid a fine.

I stood by the front door being chewed out in Spanish by an official. Who pulled the plug.

Oh wow, thats mean I thought.
 
They broke in week one. But fortunately, there existed The Landlord and some guilt tripping.

So it was when the fixing men came, to correct the disintegrating threshold, and they plugged in their jack hammer: into the neighbors electrical system in broad daylight on the public sidewalk: our power was shut down for a week, we paid a fine.

I stood by the front door being chewed out in Spanish by an official. Who pulled the plug.

Oh wow, thats mean I thought.
That was mean esp since I cannot see how any of that was your fault. :(
 
Is this the product you have been using ?

https://www.functionalformularies.com/product/liquid-hope-peptide-high-protein/


I might have to get something, as I'm not eating enough food. I'm down to my When I Got Married weight.

I would suggest trying one of the over the counter products by Nestlé first. More affordable. The Liquid Hope and the Kate Farms formula cost upwards of $7 per bottle. Which is one serving. 500 calories.

Also, your doctor may be able to provide for you free products, trial sizes, etc.

I'm sorry you are struggling with sustenance.
 
You must feel you have a very, very restricted life. (You have)
But somehow you have a more dramatic life, then most people I know of 😂

Howard, I agree with Hufsamor :) And I'm really glad your neighbors (one in a pink bikini no less!) were kind and helpful, as well as the fire department! 🚒

I'm glad the garage door cost is "only" $577 -actually, I am being serious, I've never had to have one repaired and assumed that, like cars, any repair would be $1,000 on up - so glad I'm wrong!

the sunset is stunning too! 🌅
 
Hi Howard.....I hope you're feeling better, safer and "just right" (temp. wise) as I write this. At least that little ordeal is behind you and the door didn't fall on anyone's head or car. Wooden doors look nice, but are prone to all sorts of problems.

Yesterday, I happened to be reading something or other (always find something to read & get lost in), and I found out why nursing homes leave fallen patients on the floor.

According to forms they sign, the staff isn't allowed to pick up the unfortunate victims (back injuries, etc.) and the Fire Dept. is called. When they'll show up is anyone's guess because....wait for it: That's pretty well almost all they do. Go to private homes, extended care and nursing homes and save patients who have fallen. Needless to say, the Fire Dept. feels that isn't its job and is complaining about it. Who knows what's next? Anyway, it doesn't sound good, right?

Well, that was an eye-opening article. Basically, people aren't safe anywhere and you'd better know that wherever you go (or stay), it would be wise to check this out. (Of course finding the truth is something else.) I thought you'd be interested because of your experiences with different people in the nursing home. So don't fall....get a walker and use it in the garage. Stay safe and I hope you and your ex will be able to move as soon as it's feasible. Yours, Lenora
 
According to forms they sign, the staff isn't allowed to pick up the unfortunate victims (back injuries, etc.) and the Fire Dept. is called.

That makes sense, but that's not the case in my former nursing home. The only time the fire department was called was when there was visible blood from the fall victim and / or an obvious head injury.

So don't fall....get a walker and use it in the garage. Stay safe and I hope you and your ex will be able to move as soon as it's feasible.

I've never fallen ... ha! Sooo far. I'm very coordinated, yet sometimes overestimate my physical strength, not my agility.

Thanks for commenting. Be well :)
 
I'm glad the garage door cost is "only" $577 -actually, I am being serious, I've never had to have one repaired and assumed that, like cars, any repair would be $1,000 on up - so glad I'm wrong!

The operation is callef the Same Day Garage Service. Based solely upon that name, you think they'd repair the gosh darn garage door within a reasonable time frame. But if you thought that, you'd be wrong. I was wrong. And obviously, their company name is rather misleading.

They called me this past Friday and explained that they would be out to fix the door and may 24th. Or may 26th. I'm not sure which. Which to me is absolutely ridiculous. So that alone may explain the discount pricing.

Of course, I protested. I explained that I live in the garage with a disability, so on and so forth, and a long last they relented. They're coming out to fix it on Thursday. Hooray for me!
 
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