Phase 8: Ask and Ye Shall Receive 

Quickly enough, I found a job, not just a job… A great job. For an educational company, making really good money. Suddenly, everything seemed possible.

I had money coming in, I could pay my bills, I could pay her bills. I could afford groceries and I could treat her kindly for a change. I was so glad that my life had turned around so quickly that I just wanted to make everything about Carrie for a bit.

I took her to Disneyland for vacation. We ended up walking around so much that first day that I was in agony. I was still 350 pounds, and after 12 solid hours of walking the dream vacation turned into a nightmare. My ankles, my knees, my hips, were on fire. I felt like I was walking on knives.

Carrie was so excited about Disneyland that she didn’t want to abandon her hopes and dreams because I was “sore” she tried to talk me into getting up at 6am and going back to the park the very next day and doing it all over again. I got mad, we yelled, we fought. I told her “I can’t do this”. Eventually she relented and let me sleep in a bit and to take it slow the next day. The next day stretched into 9-10 hours of walking and I was almost worse off than before. I was dying on my feet and I was so scared of another day of this that I was ready to fake a heart attack to get out of it. We fought again.

That next day I tried to go out again and perform this miracle a third time. Carrie was trying so hard to make this happen. She offered to get me a wheelchair. So that I wouldn’t have to walk. I felt embarrassed but I figured if it’s the only way for her to be happy that I’d give it a try. We awkwardly went up to the counter at Disneyland and asked about renting a wheelchair. They didn’t ask any questions they just rented us a chair and they wheeled one out. Of course, it was too small.

They went back and brought out an XL chair, for people like me. You know, people that don’t even fit in normal wheelchairs. I sat down and awkwardly placed my feet in the stirrups. Then of course the reality set in. How do we move this damn thing? It’s a giant chair with 350 pounds in it. I tried spinning the wheels myself but I could make about 1 mile an hour at best. Carrie as a trooper just started pushing me. This next 5-10 minutes was some of the most shaming and awful of my entire life.

My wife huffing and puffing, straining and grunting to maneuver me through a theme park. As I sat with my feet up and tried to look sheepish. Wondering if everyone saw this and thought I was injured, lazy, or retarded. We barely had made it inside the park when I just called a stop. I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t spend the next 10 hours listening to my lovely wife shove me around a park while sounding like she’s pushing a boulder uphill. I would rather hurt.

I silently popped about 5 ibuprofen and we returned the chair. Knowing what the alternative was now, I had decided to suffer through. I was careful not to wince or complain or to even show how much it hurt. I stumbled around we saw some more of the park. Mostly I tried to do what she wanted but I was in almost constant agony. Eventually we took some Ecstasy we had smuggled into the park toward the end of the night, and in a haze of artificial happiness and a complete lack of pain, we rounded out the night and ended on a good note. The next day we flew home in a fog and started living life again. I didn’t even really think about it for a few days.

Then I would think about that wheelchair and how hard it was for Carrie to move me and the feelings I felt floating along and feeling miserable while she carried me.

I guess it felt like a little too perfect of a metaphor.