Carol's Blog

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A Trip to the Mall



Yesterday I went to the mall. This is the first such trip for us since I had the stroke last summer. We live one and a half hours from the closest mall and that is a good thing until we actually need something at the mall. It was a rainy day, I wanted to avoid some less than exciting chores at home, and I needed to try to find some orthotics for a new pair of very sensible post-stroke shoes. So off we went. The first debate was the route to be taken. New Hampshire does not have good east-west roads, so though we could “get theya from heeya” there was no ideal route. I wasn’t driving, so did not win the debate. Less than a mile from home, Ed decided to try a shortcut that involves a few miles of Class VI roads. This actually worked out fine, and I later decided that I prefer these roads to the crazy busyness of the more populated part of our state. Shortly after we left home I remembered that I had left my coffee mug sitting on the kitchen counter. I did not wish to re-navigate those roads, so I started to fixate on where to find the next Dunkin Donuts. I must confess that now my suggested route just happened to go right by a DD’s.


Before going to the mall, we were planning to stop at my favorite LL Bean outlet store. To me, this is vastly preferable to any mall. Ed was signaling to pull into the parking lot, when we saw - a furniture store! I checked my trusty smartphone and discovered that it had not moved but was “permanently closed.” Drat. On to the mall. The parking lots did not seem busy, a good sign. We entered on the second floor of Macy’s and since we needed to go downstairs, sought out the escalator. ESCALATOR! Not just stairs but stairs that move! I have (sort of) mastered stairs but I am accustomed to those that stay in place. After watching a few glide by, Ed says helpfully “take your time.” I am sorting out “weak foot down, good foot up” but determined that stepping down here was a job for the stronger foot. So I decided to count three stairs and step on. Right foot down and quickly I pick up the left foot as high as I can to keep it out of trouble. Success! Disembarkation was uneventful.


I need a dress for a wedding this summer so we poked around in that department. Ed was incredibly patient and tried to be helpful despite his affinity for anything horribly bright and garish. He carried around the few selections to be tried on. There was a “husband chair” outside the dressing room area, and I assumed he would sit and wait there until I needed his opinion. I tried on the dress he liked best, an easy pull-on affair, and went out for his approval but he was gone. Then it came time to get the dress off with my one fully functional arm. I thought I was all set until I figured out that I had managed to get the lining over my head and the rest of the dress was wrapped tightly in a manner I could not identify. I twisted and turned but felt like Winnie the Pooh after he ate too much honey. I was stuck. Panic started to set in. What if I have another stroke and am found like this in a dressing room at Macy’s? Deep breaths. I can do this. Since I am here to tell about it, I did manage to escape. When I found Ed I announced that I was never ever again going into a dressing room again.


It was time for lunch, but when we headed to the food court and our favorite sandwich place we found it had also been replaced. Ed found a place to sit and relax and told me to “just find something.” It seems that I chose the slowest sandwich-maker of all time. When I finally returned to our table I didn’t even have the energy to complain about his choice of seats next to the children’s play area and beneath a giant TV. The sandwiches were surprisingly good, and then off I toddled to finish the errands. In another shop I found a blouse I liked and got in line at the register. Three of us were waiting to pay as the lone clerk seemed to be involved in a deeply personal phone conversation. That ended and the next customer accepted her offer to apply for instant store credit. It would only “take a minute.” Right. That completed, and now with two more people in line, the personal phone call was resumed. That was it for me. I hung my blouse on the closest rack with the intent to stomp out of the store in a huff. Wrong again. I learned that the post-stroke me is not capable of either a stomp or an effective huff.


Completely exhausted, we left for home, in commuter traffic of course. I told Ed that I didn’t have the energy to care what route he chose. I had a dress that I would wear only when I have an assistant available, and a comfy new orthotic in my not-so-cute shoes. And a blouse I didn’t buy because of my high and mighty principles. Ed fixed dinner, I had a sip of wine and the rest is oblivion. So cheers to an overall successful day and to an extraordinary husband.


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Carol I remember the days of "can someone help me with this zipper" so always shopped with a girlfriend on hand.  You did a good job on the escalator and overall should be very proud of yourself.  I hope the dress is a success at the wedding, it is the hardest occasion to cater for I think. I think you are an extraordinary couple.

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My first trip to Macy's i remember well. I simply asked the saleslady if my husband could come into the fitting room with me.without batting an eyelash she said " SURE".. As i walked into the dressing room i announced loudly that i was bringing a man into the dressing room. All the other women said "okay". No one was bothered. I also had to bring him into a public restroom. Again I announced loudly what was going on. Everyone was very understanding. Thank goodness we were not in North Carolina. LOL where there is a will there is a way. I lahughed at your description of entanglement. Been there many times and every time it is a panic attack.

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I would like to just say...I have felt like this when shopping and I haven't had a stroke.  Needless to say, I am not a huge fan of shopping.  Probably why I shop online...Anyway, I applaud you Carol.  It sounds like an above the top excursion for you.  May you have many more...I believe that is what keeps us waking up each day.  Next time I am in Macy's I will think of you.

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Carol, you did great, and so did Ed. My husband hates shopping, so he take me (I don't drive since my stroke), he stay in the car, and off I go.  If I can not get the clothes on, I ask the sale girl at the front of the fitting room,  for help.


  You did a wonderful job with the stairs, I get on and off them, but it is not pretty lol.



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Carol I hope you enjoy your dress and shoes. And kudos for being a brave adventurer in the jungle mall.

Back in the day,all women needed attendants so never feel awkward.

Moving stairs! Congratulations! I'd just as soon climb Everest. So be proud of accomplishments on your journey.

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