get me outta here!

i just got hooked up to my i.v. pole here at the infusion center, getting my yummy dose of cytoxan. i ask them to park me in a seat not too far from the bathroom, since there is a lot of fluid pumped in along with the meds – cytoxan is apparently hard on the bladder, so they try to keep it flushed out during the day, and recommend that i drink tons of water over the two days after the infusion. ( i drink tons anyway, to wash away the leg cramps), so i am in the bathroom a lot. (too much information?)

mostly what i’ve been thinking about is that i really want to continue being a photographer, as it seems to be just about the only thing i am good at ( or at least i think i’m good at it. it feeds my soul, at least). i have cobbled together a little studio in my basement, and done a bit of fooling around down there, and while it’s been fun, it’s not really where i want to be. i would SO much rather be out wandering the streets. studio photography is so different because i first have to find or create something to shoot, and set up and “design” the lighting. not skills i think i really have, or enjoy all that much.

anyway, i’d rather be out on the sidewalks and alleys, finding interesting light to capture, than hunkering in my basement, relying on my spotty imagination. i came upstairs a few days ago feeling like i had run out of things to take pictures of.

i don’t drive, but i’ve got several ways i can get into town. it’s the wandering around that i’m stuck on. portland is a city on a hill – not quite san francisco, but there’s a lot of up and down. and it being an older, new england city, it has it’s share of crumbly brick and cobblestone, which make wheelchairing – already hard enough – nearly impossible.

so my next project is to investigate either some of sort of wheelchair assistive device, like magic wheels or nordigo, or maybe a scooter. nortigo doesn’t sound like it helps with going uphill,  and the magic wheels would  first of all require that i get a new chair, they cost at least $5000 (!), and might not be enough to get me up the long hills. in either case, there is no way to try them out before buying them.

scooters are less portable, and i don’t know if the local metro bus (one of the ways i have of getting into town) which has a wheelchair lift, can handle a scooter. and what does one do if one is out and about and the battery dies?  i have a feeling that a scooter will be the way to go as the most likely solution that insurance will pay for.

so that’s my summer project – get myself  mobile and out and about with my camera. for inspiration, i visit the wheelchair kamikaze – this guy is nuts, and makes me itchy to get out there.


Author: stephen

stephen harris is a writer, painter and a photographer who lives with his family in maine.

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