It’s Here!

Yesterday my scooter arrived!!!  I took the day off to make sure I was there to sign for it.  It came midday and the guy didn’t make me sign for it.

I’m so happy to have this.  Now I have to figure out how I’m getting it in and out of my car so I don’t end up with sore body parts, dirty clothes, or damaged car.

It folds differently from my previous scooter so I can’t slide it in like I did the old one.  I’m going to look for options at some point this weekend.

This means I can go places and not feel like a complete burden.  I’ll be able to get around and it will be better than before because my old scooter was sporadic at best towards the end.  I have independence and confidence in being able to get around and do things.  I don’t have to feel as anxious about going to new places or being left out of things because I’m concerned I won’t be able to get around.  My new scooter means I am able to get around any store – maybe even multiple stores!

The struggle with the insurance and the process to get the new scooter was difficult.  I’m glad it’s over and I can put it all behind me.

I’m actually looking forward to doing errands this weekend.  I have two stores I need to go to and I should be able to get around and do the stores without a problem.  I should be able to take care of the things I need without there being any issue.  I’m almost excited to shop – and I don’t like shopping.

Dear Businesses

I’m a hermit.  I freely admit I’d rather stay home than go out.  When I do go out, it has become more and more difficult for me to go places.

I’ve been feeling a bit annoyed with myself over the anxiety I feel when I have to go to new places.  It’s hard for me to know whether I’ll be able to get into a new place of business or not.  Yes, we supposedly live in a world where everywhere is supposed to be handicap accessible.  We don’t.

My favorite craft store in my home town does not have automatic doors.  I know this may seem small but without them it makes it more difficult to get into the store.  When an employee sees me struggling to get in, they do come help.  Also I had complained to the manager about how difficult it was to get through their aisles and it has been somewhat better.

Ken, Alicia and I went out to supper last night.  Alicia and I were going to do a Paint Nite event at this restaurant.  I was excited and looking forward to it.  Alicia went in to see where in the restaurant the event was going to be held.  If it was close to the door, I would have walked but it was at the back of the store.  We were told we could go in the back.  I drove around but there was a fence surrounding the back and you had to climb over the fence to get in.  Does this sound handicap friendly?

I drove back to the front of the building and went in.  Now had I been on my own, I would have had a hard time getting in because the doors weren’t automatic.  Fortunately, Ken was there to open doors.  I got all sorts of funny looks when I drove my scooter through the building.  We got to the area where the event was being held.  They had all these plastic lawn chairs or tall bar stools.  I can’t sit on a bar stool, my legs go to sleep and I can’t walk.  I asked the bar tender if they had sturdier chairs.  I’m a big person and the plastic chair wasn’t going to cut it.  She ignored me.  When I asked a second time, she rolled her eyes at me.  Fortunately, Ken isn’t shy and he went into the restaurant and got me a better chair.  Again, had I been alone, I wouldn’t have stayed.

So here is my little rant.  If I could I would send this to all business owners.

Dear Businesses:  We may be a minority but we still have money to spend.  If you want a handicapped person to come to your store make it easier for them to get there.  Have your doors easily accessible for people to get in and out of.  Train your employees to assist without judgment.  If I feel like I’m inconveniencing you, I won’t come back because I don’t want to inconvenience anyone.  I don’t want my visit to be a production.  If it is, I’m less likely to come back.  I don’t like to be stared at or considered a difficult customer.   Think about whether your customer – all customers are going to be comfortable when you pick your chairs.  I shouldn’t leave your establishment in more pain than when I came in just from sitting on an uncomfortable chair.  Flimsy plastic chairs are not going to work well for larger customers.  If you don’t want my business, no problem.  I’ll take my money elsewhere.  But you can bet your bottom dollar, I’m going to make sure everyone I know is aware of how poorly I was treated.

These factors contribute to my being a hermit and the anxiety I feel going to a new place.

A Burden?

You would expect those closest to you to best understand your limitations.  They don’t always.  I suffer from arthritis among other things.  Pain is a daily – minute by minute part of my life. 

Many of my family members treat me as if I’m just being lazy when I am unwilling to do certain activities.  One of my sisters always has her family events in her basement.  This is fine for everyone except me because I cannot do stairs.  It hurts that she is so inconsiderate of me, but at the same time, I don’t want to demand the party be in another part of her house because it is her house. 

Cooking has become very difficult.  I can’t stand at the stove long enough to watch items cooking.  This means my husband is stuck cooking.  More than that though, I need to have items packaged in a way that is easy for me to grab and go.  It sounds ridiculous but to make a sandwich by the time I’ve gathered all the items to make the sandwich I’m almost in tears from the pain.  To gather items for breakfast and lunch during the week, I look for simple solutions like poptarts (not a health solution).

I don’t mean to complain – the people in my life have the best intentions.  I can sit and do nearly anything – cut things up, package, season, mix, and so on.  However, walking around to gather or standing to cook is painful.

Most people just go through their morning routine and if they forget something it is just a run back to get it.  What I do is plan out my steps – literally, I plan every step of what I will do because the more steps I take the more pain I’m in.  If I forget something, I gauge whether it will be worth the pain of retracing my steps to get the item – especially if I have to go back up steps.

I wish I could do all the things I used to.  I miss taking hikes, cooking, doing all the everyday things I used to.  Sometimes I feel stuck in the recliner.  I often feel like a burden when things need to be done or I want things done but can’t do the tasks myself.

In the past, if I wanted a room rearranged I would just do it.  Now it is impossible for me to do this type of task on my own.  I’m a take charge type of person, if I don’t like how something is I just fix it.  Sadly I can’t anymore so I have to ask.  This makes me feel like a burden on those I have to ask.  I’d rather do without than ask.  If I don’t ask then people won’t look at me as lazy.  If I don’t ask then I am not beholden to people.  And yes I know if I don’t ask then it won’t get done.

I’ve gotten good at telling people what I can do but I’m not very good at telling them what I need help with.  Is this because I’m stubbornly independent?  Is this because of the reactions I’ve gotten from people in my life?  Probably a bit of both.  If I think on this logically I know people are willing to help but there is still that voice in me that says do it yourself or let it go.