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Archive for October, 2010

How Accessible?

It took only one day of pushing Bruce in a wheelchair to discover that “handicap accessible” isn’t necessarily so.  Even though there are many places we’ve gone to repeatedly, we discovered we didn’t have any idea where the handicapped parking was even located!  One good aspect is that those areas have a flat access that can actually accommodate wheels.

The tag was easy to obtain.  I went online and found the form for Georgia, printed it out, presented it to his doctor, got it notarized at the hospital, and went to the tag office and received the hanging tag within a matter of minutes.  However, maybe because it is so easy to get, it seems everyone and his uncle has one.  The handicapped section at the Family Practice parking lot out at Eisenhower Medical Center is always full and that lot alone has 17 slots — I counted.  Granted this is a place where sick people go, so I shouldn’t be too surprised, I guess.  The last time we were there, I didn’t dare go look for tags or license plates on all those cars because I knew I’d find some with no designation and I’d be tempted to call the MPs and make trouble.  Life is too short.  The MPs can do their own policing, can’t they?

We’ve found extremely steep ramps that make pushing uphill a challenge.  Sloped areas right at the doorway are equally tricky.  Especially challenging are the doors.  Try hanging onto a chair that is trying to roll away and open a door at the same time.  (His model has brakes like a ten-speed bike.)  Whew!  Fortunately, someone usually sees me struggling and comes over to help.  I decided yesterday that if no one is available at a restaurant, I am going to go inside and ask one of the chirpy greeters to come help hold the door.

Since there is nothing wrong with Bruce’s arms, he has started helping me lift the chair up into the trunk.  Man, that is really helpful.   The chair we got for Bruce is not as bulky as it could be — however, bulky enough for one semi-old lady to manage single-handed.

Best if all are the stores with automatic doors and the electric carts.  Look out, Bruce just might mow you down as he flies by!

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Irony

Question:  What is ironic about rebuilding a deck and not even smashing your thumb?  Answer:  Falling on the ramp leaving the tool shed after putting all the tools away.  That was Bruce’s dilemma last week.  A torn ligament in his left ankle with a fracture of the tibia and a spiral fracture of his fibula.  After a surgical repair of the ligament, he is in a cast, not able to bear weight on that leg for three months, so not to break the screws in that ankle.

The doctor said he could sit in his wheelchair on the deck and admire his handiwork!  (Funny, Doc. . . .)

Speaking of wheelchairs.  The first one the medical supply place sent us was gorgeous.  It had all the bells and whistles.  Problem?  It was so big I couldn’t lift it into the trunk of the car.  They also sent a wheeled walker. Problem?  It was too slick for Bruce to manage on laminate floors.  Back they both went.

The next company sent a much lighter chair than is more manageable.  Although it doesn’t dance and sing “Dixie”,  I can handle it.  I’ve learned to lift it onto a thick blanket pad on the edge of the trunk and slide it into the car.  I resurrected my old walker and shower chair from the infamous shed that were left over from  my knee surgeries and he is using those.  He is getting stronger and, therefore more agile each day  (if that’s at all possible on one leg.)   Only two months and 20 days to go!

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