That time I got stuck in the garbage room.

I had a few things in my fridge that needed to be thrown out. So I threw them all in a grocery bag and scooted to the garbage room.
I usually only visit this room when I have things to recycle. The bin for that stuff is right at the front of the room, so I never have to go inside. But this day I did have some garbage. In order to throw things out you have to go right inside the room to where the garbage can is. I wasn’t worried about that because there is a button on the inside of the room to push in order to open the door to get out.
So I go in the room, the door closes and latches behind me, I throw out my trash, and then push the button to get out. Herein lies the dilemma.
The button did not work.
So Here I am, facing the wall of the garbage room on my wheelchair with no button that opens the door and no apparent way to touch the latch to open it myself.
I’m stuck.

I reach for my phone to call for help. It’s then that I remember that I left my phone in my room because I was streaming music using my cellphone and Bluetooth speakers and didn’t want to disconnect from that. I assumed that it would be a quick trip to the room and back again, so I didn’t bother taking the phone.
When that sinks in, I began simply calling out for help.
“Can anybody hear me? Is anyone there?”
Nothing.

It’s kind of funny when you think about it. I’m stuck in a room that stinks like garbage. Me, my wheelchair, and some smelly garbage bins are sharing this little room together.
I didn’t panic. I knew I would get out at some point.
But sitting there, I realized something. I am truly all alone here. Not one single soul on the entire planet knows I am here and there is no way to contact anyone.
I wasn’t lonely. I knew I had many, many friends and family members. But I was truly all alone.

There’s a difference.

In my aloneness I started to think; to reflect, on my situation. Not just the one where I was stuck in the garbage room, but the bigger picture of my life. I acknowledged that my need for independence has crumbled quite a bit since ending up in a wheelchair. I need people now to help me get to bed and to get up and to get dressed and to get a shower. I even most times rely on people to take away my garbage for me.
But on this day I realized that I can take out my own garbage darn it. And then, sitting in that room all alone, I got the independence devil in me. I would not be stuck in this place alone. I went back-and-forth on my power-chair, knocked over a bin, and finally managed to turn around. Then I managed to lean forward far enough to grab the handle of the door and push it open. Then I scooted forward far enough so that the door couldn’t completely close without hitting my wheelchair. Then I pushed my way out.

I was free!
I am still independent!

Well not really. But it was a moment to remember that I don’t need people for every single thing. I can still do some things myself.

That was important for me to be reminded of;
even if it did mean smelling like garbage for a few hours…

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