Friday was a “red letter day” for me. My right leg is now free. I am out of the cast, out of the boot and learning to be mobile again. Whew, this has certainly been a journey in waiting and patience. Although it is not over yet, I feel I am more than on my way.
It is hard to be disabled in any way. I certainly have much more respect for those that are handicapped full time and contend with obstacles on a daily basis. I have discovered many little things that I had to contend with daily. Here are some of the discoveries I made on this path over the past couple of months.
Those yellow raised squares at the street corners are awful. Maybe they help the visually impaired, and I am sure they do. They were an obstacle for me. It is hard to get over them with a knee scooter or a wheelchair. Not fun.
- Signs in restaurants and other places of business, that say they have handicapped accessible bathrooms, have the heaviest darn doors that lead into the restroom. Some of them were almost impossible to open and manipulate my scooter or crutches at the same time. On a good note there was often someone close by to hold the door open for me so I could scoot on into the bathroom. People are kind.
- Sinks in the restrooms were a good height when standing up but not always so when in a wheelchair. The sinks were often not near the dryers or towels.
- Trying to get out of Starbuck with the scooter, and a drink was next to impossible without help. That was the one place that I actually had to ask someone to help with the door. The people there were so occupied with their computers they did not even see what was going on.
- Handicapped spaces are not always near the front door of venues. And…what happens when they are all taken?
- Some of my friends were hesitant to park in the handicap spaces until I reminded them that this was not about them, it was about what would make it easier for me.
- Elevator Doors, were either good or too quick to close. I am sure there is a mechanism on them that would help the door be a little slower to close.
- Even a small step can look giant when on crutches or a scooter.
- Home Depot and Lowes have electric scooters you can use in the store. This was so easy and convenient.
- Bed Bath and Beyond also had a wheelchair I could use. I got to the point that if I knew where I was going, I would check on line or call ahead and ask if they had a chair or scooter I could use.
- The electric scooter was a God send at Zoofari (the Wild Animal Park). I also did not have to wait in line to see the butterfly exhibit. They move the handicapped to the front or near the front of the line. It was a nice perk, although I paid for it with the renting of the wheelchair.
- If I had wanted I could have rented a beach wheelchair and gone to the ocean. I did not, yet it was nice to know it was available.
- One of the harder parts of having a broken right ankle was my inability to drive. I discovered Lyft (similar to Uber). It did not matter if I was going a few miles or a distance, all I had to do was make an appointment on my cell phone app. The drivers were never more than 10 minutes away. I met drivers from all over the world. I loved sitting up front and asking them about their lives. Lyft was a life saver for me. I did not have to get bored and rammy at home.
- I have good neighbors. Kelly would bring her 2 year old boys over and I would have a chance to visit and play. My neighbors on the other side offered to help when they could. I am blessed.
- I really appreciated all the people who took notice and were willing to offer me help. Just bringing my tea to my seat at the local coffee house meant so much.
- And here is the biggest one for me to remember, IF YOU NEED HELP, ASK!!!!!!
I know that from now on I will try to gently remind myself to not be too quick to judge why a person is parking in a handicap space. Not all disabilities can be seen. Yes, I will take the time to hold doors open or close doors if someone needs help and maybe even if they don’t. I would like to believe that this is one more reminder to myself to be kind. Sometimes it is about all one can do. Be Kind.
I am slowly beginning to walk. I will be calling physical therapy on Monday to set up appointments. I am ready to progress and move on in my adventure called life. My bike is anxiously awaiting for me to climb on board. And, yes, I am ready to do some hiking. My sweet little Roadtrek is calling to me as well. As I have been learning over the past 3 years, I am taking it slow. Baby steps, one at a time. Patience, patience, patience.