Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Chair wear and tear: Trying to find ways to cope with having to wheel into a Giants' game

I'm going to the Vancouver Giants' game Friday night. Part of me is looking at it as another Christmas morning. Part of me of scared to bits.
I've covered the Giants for the Province (shameless plug for my employer) since the 2004-05 season and I'm freakishly at home at the Pacific Coliseum. I know all the arena staff, all the little shortcuts, all the tricks. And I love feel of the building -- the Giants have a hockey-savvy, blue-collar fan base that appreciates hustle and isn't shy about it. (The joint should be rocking on Milan Lucic Night.)
The problem for me in all of this is that I'm not ready to walk and I'll have to go in a wheelchair and a motorized one to boot. (I'm on restricted movement since ripping out some stitches on Saturday.) I wonder what people will think. To me, the motorized chair doesn't fit, since I'm feeling the best I've felt since November, when we were just dealing with cancer. (Remember when we just had cancer? Just a Solitary Plasmacytoma tumour in the T-2 vertebrae? That was cool. Now we've got these seven surgeries on the back to recover from.)
I know that's my problem, I know that's in my head. I know that's my stigma. I hate that that is the way I feel, but, to quote a famous Canadian, it is what it is.
I went to a Giants' game on a walker earlier this season and it was the same way. The Giants' staff are good, good folk, and, for what it's worth, they went out of their way to make me feel better about it. I told play-by-play man Dan Elliott (shameless name drop), who's a longtime buddy of mine and slopitch teammate (more shamelessness) that I didn't feel too stable and was a tad wobbly, and he looked me in the eye and said, "Nothing bad will happen to you in our pressbox. Nothing, I tell you."Sure enough, he assigned an intern to look in on me every five minutes or so, and then checked in himself during intermissions. (Jumbo, flat out, is one of the best people I know.)
Intermission host Brook Ward (shameless name drop), too, was very kind. I complained about the walker, and he said, "I'm sure I'd feel the same way, but you're the only guy here who really sees the walker. We're just happy that you made it out."
As Sports Talk listeners can attest, that's one of the more eloquent speeches that the Brookster has ever uttered. And one of the shortest. (Like it was going to mushy all the way through. Get over it, Brook.)  
It's funny how being this sick for this long plays with your head. I have massive guilt about how this has affected Carol-Ann. My Cancer Coach Bif Naked (yet another shameless name drop) says that it's quite normal -- patient guilt, she calls it.
Carol-Ann told me recently that her field hockey playoffs were coming up and her team might be short players, and then asked who I might want to come hang out with me when she was away playing. I had completely forgotten that her league had re-started when the weather started to get better. I felt like a jerk that she had stopped playing and I didn't realize it, because I know how much she loves to run around and get some frustrations out.
Now, Carol-Ann's sharp. Super sharp. And if she wanted to play in those games and take a break from being with me, she would have found a way to do it. It's her decision. I get the logic, but the emotion isn't quite catching on just yet.
To that end, I'm going to see G.F. Strong staff psychologist Dr. Brad Hallam Friday and talk about the things that are troubling me. I have no problem admitting that I'm going to see a psychologist; I gave up trying to be cool long ago. To pretend that this hasn't been as hard on my mind as it has on my body is foolish.
I just hope the guy likes hockey and wants to talk a little about the Giants' game.


  1. So glad you are getting out to a game, Steve.

    For the record, though I love sipping the Drambuie in coffee while watching CA's games, I'd be happy to get in a visit with you one Sunday morn.

    Now, about that guilt. I'm not quite as eloquent as your other friends but let me say this...

    For the most part, we use guilt to punish ourselves. It tells us we've been bad and need to change our behavior or actions. Even after we've made changes, we feel it until we forgive ourselves. Doesn't matter that you have nothing to feel guilty about. You've decided that your illness has put people out somewhat and you feel guilty about it. Something like that?

    Well, there are givers and their are receivers. You just happen to have a lot of givers in your life, and are one yourself. So why don't you sit back, gently, and let those givers in your life give to you. It makes them happy. There will be plenty of time in the coming months and years where you will be the giver and you will need a receiver. You'd want them to accept your givings, right?

    By the way, are visitors allowed to take the chair for a spin? I wanna try one of those bad boys.


  2. great post, your whole blog is so insightful. I sent birthday wishes to your hospital room from my sons hospital room on twitter last week, I was ecstatic that not even 3 hours after your reply the doctor told me he was healthy enough to go home. Keep on fighting. Hope you enjoy the game.