Any suggestion that would require me to travel gives me a daymare. Occasionally, family members will ask me to accompany them to somebody's house. I will balk at all such suggestions but very occasionally I will succumb to the entreaties and agree to travel. Such instances would have caused Jeeves to observe, 'A somewhat sharp crisis in your affairs would appear to have been precipitated, sir.' I would be beset by all sorts of anxieties - Would my gastrostomy leak and cause pain (as it sometimes does) making me want to lie down? Would I suddenly want to pass motion? would Jaya have to attend to some phone call leaving me with no means of communication?
People around me are always willing to help but it is not much use if they cannot understand what I am telling. Some famous neurologist whose name I forget said,'When I point look at where I point not at my finger'. Many people have the habit of looking at my face instead of looking at where I am looking with the result that they remain baffled about what I am indicating.
I think the biggest reason for my reluctance to travel is the perception of loss of control, however illusory, of my surroundings. In my room I know what is kept where, where the switches for the fan and lights are, etc. Folks at home can easily make out what I want . If I want to suddenly pass motion or urine, the appropriate steps can be taken immediately. This is not easy when I am out of my home. In Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers, Robert M. Sapolsky says:
Place two people in adjoining rooms, and expose both to intermittent noxious, loud noises; the person who has a button and believes that pressing it decreases the likelihood of more noise is less hypertensive. In one variant on this experiment, subjects with the button who did not bother to press it did just as well as those who actually pressed the button. Thus, the exercise of control is not critical; rather, it is the belief that you have it. An everyday example: airplanes are safer than cars, yet more of us are phobic about flying. Why? Because your average driver believes that he is a better-than-average driver, thus more in control. In an airplane, we have no control at all.
Another reason for my reluctance to roam the countryside is that I may not find the conversations gripping. I was not a social butterfly before my stroke so I am not likely to be a party animal now. An inability to speak is not the best aid for charming conviviality. I will keep thinking wistfully about how I could have spent the time reading something interesting. I will be relieved when I finally return home. By that time I will have a backache and a headache after inhaling all that smoke at traffic jams. (I am getting a bit long in the tooth, you know!) I am happiest when comfortably ensconced in my wheelchair in my cozy little room quietly poring over a book or perusing an interesting blog post.