I loved my compact kitchen. Although counter space was limited, I had a large double-sided sink and enough room for a dish drainer. Directly underneath were three drawers. I used the top one for silverware and the two lower, deeper ones for storage, ranging from potholders items for cooking preparation. Lining the next wall was the stove, and fridge. Across the small room was a breakfast bar, and kitty-corner to that was a wooden shelving unit I used as my “pantry.” Across from my kitchen was my childhood bedroom. Strange, huh? But considering my apartment used to be a storage area for lumber, not too bad.
When I designed my kitchen, I wanted a dishwasher. But it would be an expensive custom fit due to the small space.
Mom, always practical, pointed out, “You already have a dish washer. You.”
I resigned myself to being chief dish washer and installed drawers instead. The kitchen-fitter said “The drawers have a nice feature. They come with a glide close. You never have to bend over and shut them as they do that on their own.” He demonstrated.
Suitably impressed, I agreed at the convenience and that it would be a great time-saver.
One day I emptied the last of the dishes. With a small tug, I pulled the bottom drawer open and tossed the plastic measuring cups inside.
Uh-oh. That didn’t sound like it landed in the right place.
I bent down and pulled the drawer all the way out to investigate. Everything sat in its place: fake grilling pan with ridges to give the impression burgers or fish were authentically grilled, two oblong serving platters from Thailand, a small Turkish coffee pot, a Moroccan wooden mortar and pestle, two plastic strainers and several white measuring cups. I stooped at the floor level and peered more closely. Yes, I could see the half cup I just put away, but not the quarter cup.
Like I really needed this delay! The article I was writing could use a few more edits before I sent it out. Did I really need to do that now?
Yes, or else I might forget the changes. Probably forever.
Time to get that measuring cup.
It must have fallen behind the drawer. I squeezed my arm through the dark narrow opening and felt around with my fingertips. Nothing. I inched my hand to the left. Then to the right. If I could j-u-u-s-t reach that silly piece of plastic. As I stretched further, the drawer glided to a gentle close—on my arm.
Oof. It didn’t hurt—but the movement pushed my arm in a little bit further.
Not a time saver today, thank you, Mr. Kitchen Fitter!
I sat down on my knees to get more comfortable and re-opened the drawer so I could see.
Gosh, almost no space between the bottom of the second drawer and the top of the third drawer. Wait. Oh no….
I tried to extract my arm but it was lodged in the narrow space. Tightly. I yanked. Pulled. Pushed. Nothing.
Goodness. I was trapped between two drawers.
Don’t panic. There has to be a solution.
I tried to wiggle. Only wedged myself in more tightly.
Calm. Calm. Easy does it.
That helped … for thirty seconds.
“Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom Mo-ther. MOM.” I sniffled in exasperation. “MOM!”
Oh, here comes Buddy. “Good boy. Run for help. Go find Mom.” I felt like I was on an episode of Lassie, only I was the main character and the famous collie always running for help was a black lab mix.
My relief was short-lived. Buddy promptly lay down next to me and licked my hand. Alas, he was no Lassie. I guess he didn’t know how that showed worked.
“Buddy, go. GO!”
I looked at his greying mug and his arthritic legs. He could never open the door to Mom’s house anyway. Mom had me keep Buddy in the apartment. She wasn’t going to chance him lying on her sofa, like he did mine. She said It was bad enough when he barked,
That gave me an idea.
“Buddy, bark. Pretend the neighbor is getting out of his car. Come on,” I cajoled. “Bark. BARK.”
He cocked his head to the side, made himself comfortable and placed his head on my free hand. He smiled his peculiar crocodile-like grin. Normally that melted my heart. That day, I asked him, “Are you laughing at me in this predicament? It sure looks like it from this angle.”
“Mom. MOM!” I called until my voice grew hoarse.
Hopeless. I could see the headlines in the newspaper now. ‘Legally Blind Woman Stuck between Two Drawers in Kitchen Apartment. I filled in the article with my imagination. With cracked lips, the woman near death groaned. She could hardly get the words out between dry hacking coughs. Upon rescue, she croaked, “I’ve been tortured by the phantom aroma of steak on the grill. I could touch the pan underneath my fingertips but could not free myself to stand up and cook. My dog became so traumatized by my predicament he forgot how to bark. We kept each other company, enduring the worst moments together….”
That thought of that desperate scenario motivated me to make another attempt to free myself. I maneuvered off my knees and onto my behind. Spying the two colanders at the far end of the drawer, I picked them up and whipped them one by one behind me. Maybe Mom would hear the noise if she was in her living room. Unfortunately, like pebbles skipping across the water, they bounced lightly across the floor and skidded to a stop in the middle of the bedroom beyond my kitchen. They didn’t make much of a ruckus.
What else did I have to get her attention?
The wooden pestle. I grabbed it and pounded it several times against the tile floor as hard as I could. I waited and listened. In the absence of hearing her cane tap up the stairs, I knew an imminent rescue was not happening.
Mom! Are you sleeping?
Determination set in. Mom, I am going to get your attention if it kills me. I picked up the pestle and thumped it hard. Only my aim was off. I missed the floor and instead smacked my serving plate from Thailand. Cracked it right in half.
Ah, that beautiful plate. It wasn’t as if I could hop into the car and pick up another. I would probably never go to Thailand again. And even if I did, the chances of me finding a match were near impossible.
Buddy looked up at the sound. He probably thought it was me running into something again. He was accustomed to thumps and bangs when I bounced off furniture I couldn’t see.
My muscles started to cramp up from being in the same position. How many minutes—no, hours, days—had I been stuck? More importantly, how much longer could I bear it?
My fingers wrapped around the grilling pan and I banged that against the floor, but I quickly stopped. Now the corner of my lovely tile was chipped.
Unbelievable. I was truly captive in my own kitchen. And making poor rescue choices.
I started shouting at the top of my lungs. Why didn’t Mom hear me? Well, aside from napping, she was hard of hearing. We also had a closed door and set of steps between us.
Buddy, likely bored with my shouting or else I hurt his poor ears, wandered off to lie down and take his own nap.
You need to calm down. Think rationally.
I wiggled. Rested. Wiggled some more. Tiny movements.
Wait a minute. I’m moving. Thank you, God.
Quarter inch by inch, I wiggled my arm. Encouraged by the progress, I quietly continued … until I found myself …
FREE AT LAST!
I nearly stumbled down the stairs, my legs still cramping as I made my way down to her living room. “Mom,” I was half-crying, half-laughing. “I’ve been shouting for over an hour.” My voice sounded gravely.
“Was that you?” She covered her mouth. “Are you okay? What happened?” Her face, wreathed in lines of concern, reflected motherly kindness. “I heard some sounds, and kept looking out the front door. But nothing was going on out there.”
“No, it was me.”
Mom placed me in her favorite chair with an ice pack pressed to my swollen arm. She brought over the footstool. “Honey, put your feet up here.”
The advice was helpful, so I followed it and filled her in on what happened.
“Keep that ice on for twenty minutes,” she instructed. “Don’t take it off until I tell you to.”
I started to laugh at my Lucille Ball moment but my arm throbbed and my throat hurt. It would have been a lot funnier if Lucy’s arm had been stuck between two drawers and I had seen it on a black and white television screen. But why? Lucy quickly falls into a dilemma. She plots her way out. If it doesn’t work, she cries. She laughs. She makes faces. And she comes out on top every time.
So do I. As a matter of fact, most of us do. Of course, we grumble and grouch as we try getting out of tight spots. When we are stuck, we want an instant response.
There’s a little word that changes our outlook. Mine comes from faith. Like an on-the-go jack-in-the-box, this cheery, almost entrepreneurial, support pops up in all of our lives. Resilience. We just need to pay attention.
Who doesn’t get stuck in life? It might not be between two drawers. That’s probably my specialty. It can feel like a vise with no wiggle room. I might have made the first mistake by reaching into an area that was unsuited to me. But afterward, I was held captive by my circumstances. Like most of us, I had no idea how long it would last.
Right now, coping with Covid-19, most of us feel stuck. I heard the governor of New York call this feeling “Cabin Fever.” It’s real, has symptoms—overwhelm, feeling closed in, anxiety, lashing out with no rational reason (usually at a parental figure).
In the back of my mind I knew sooner or later my mom would come to my aid so I didn’t give up. Resilience kicked in and I noticed a change. After I freed myself, I went directly down to Mom. She fixed me up with all the right things.
During this Covid-19 stay-at-home, isolation period, regardless of the challenges that wedge us in—including Cabin Fever—let’s find that prevailing quality that pops up with hope and gives us strength to push forward. Whatever the source, let’s pay attention and be resilient—positive, helpful, other-minded. It will help us through this time.
God responds in a similar way as my mother. No matter what my age, I turn to him, trusting he has my best interest at heart. Unlike my mom, he is not limited by human frailties. He may choose to let the struggle continue for some time before he soothes us. But he does come. Every. Single Time.
How are you stuck right now? Can you give concrete ways your resilience can move you forward in the situation?
5 Stars “…I’m not vision impaired. I don’t read non-fiction for enjoyment. I am not what some might consider the target market for this book, but I can tell you that I would recommend it to my own teenagers, my husband, my teenage students, and anyone else I know as a book of bravery, encouragement, motivation, testimony, and just as a pleasure read. Don’t pass it by: You will be blessed.”–An Amazon Reader
–An Amazon Reader
5 Stars“Living in the Power instead of the fear!”
Mobility Matters elegantly shares Amy Bovaird’s emotions and experience which anyone going through vision loss can identify with. The transformation as she overcomes her fear and the enemies voices that her loss of vision will now define who she is as a person and dictate the rest of her life, will inspire hope to each reader. Amy’s journey stepping out in faith and how the Lord’s Word gave her the strength to keep going, is a must read.
This book is not only for those going through the hallway of vision loss, but for each family member or any one who loves someone losing their vision would also benefit by reading.
Mobility Matters Stepping out in Faith has left me thinking I will now call canes power sticks!!!
Michael Benson, Founder
Visual Experience Foundation
4 Stars “…As a mobility specialist myself, I found this book of great interest to me for its subject matter. I was quite amazed that Amy could get around on her own with her genetic condition, particularly at night, since individuals with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) tend to lose their night vision and are using a cane at night much sooner than Amy was using any assistive device (even a bright light). Amy maintained her positive attitude, her faith and her sense of humour. If only we all could do that in times of crisis!” –Kathryn Svendsen, Mobility Specialist, Canada
5 Stars “Couldn’t stop reading until I finished. Very inspirational. Will definitely be looking for more by this author!” –Sharon Hannah
5 stars “…This book really inspired me. Amy’s outlook on life is what I would like to model in my own. Yes, going blind SUCKS but she took it to another level. She made it into an adventure and I needed to be reminded of that again. Her positive outlook on this all has really encouraged me in my current situation now. Taking the step of faith to move on forward and embrace life for what it is. I highly recommend purchasing this book! Be inspired, take a journey behind the life of someone with Usher, smile, laugh, and enjoy! –Andi Nicole
5 Stars “As a person who lives with chronic illness, I sometimes get bogged down with books on illness that feel really heavy. This one does not. Author Amy Bovaird, who is losing her sight, writes so well about her personal experiences, I feel like I’m walking alongside her as I read. I kept coming back to the story to see what happened–was she going to let fear stop her? Would she overcome?
The lessons Amy learns through her experiences apply to any of us who fear aging, illness, new symptoms, or really anyone who needs some inspiration, and that reminder that much can be accomplished if you step out and forward–even when you cannot see beyond that first step. I definitely enjoyed this book. –Kimberly Rae, Bestselling Author of the Stolen Series
Blog post review by Gillian Davis, RP Tunnel of Sight
One of the best books I have ever read about mobility and white cane use is called Mobility Matters: Stepping out in Faith by Amy Bovard. It is funny, poignant and packs a lot of tips and useful information. You can find it by following the link below to Amy’s web page and listen to a chapter before you buy, it is wonderful.