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Understanding and Accepting Handicaps Part III

As for being handicapped,I found that most people had made their places handicapped accessible, but not conveniently so; and a lot of places did not maintain them.  I was repeatedly faced with a button to open a bathroom door that was very heavy that did not work.  It was at the college where I was in a choir.  Usually the parking for someone is handicapped is not close to the front door.  I understand they have to put those long ramps there and that  was where were the parking was at the end of the ramp not the front door.  Also I find I have to use a quad cane to get to the shopping carts or electric  cars inside.  That is the most dangerous part of the trip for me.  It would be nice if carts, etc., could be easily accessible from your car.  Occasionally I flag someone down who has a cart or carts and ask them if I can have it for my trip inside.

This is the internationally recognized symbol ...

This is the internationally recognized symbol for accessibility (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

People can be very helpful and sweet out in public, but sometimes in crowded places they don’t look where they are going and make quick turns.  I am now at a stage where I could do without my cane if the place is not crowded and there are walls or furniture to hang on to if I need it.  At home I do without; but I am challenged by open spaces and rough ground, roads, and sidewalks and especially in the dark.  A lot of this stuff you don’t know until you are there.  Stairs and slopes each have there pitfalls.  I like to walk on a level surface and curbs and slopes challenge me.  Long flights of stairs are scarey (and they need railings or banisters for safety), more so going down than up.  Of course I use elevators, but they don’t always have them and I have not yet tried an escalator, but they have them in London if you want to use the underground.  I’ve been there.  That’s my story, don’t get me going I could talk for hours on this subject.  Did you learn anything that you didn’t know?

 

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Understanding and Accepting Handicaps Part II

Rest home for seniors in Český Těšín (Czeski C...

Rest home for seniors in Český Těšín (Czeski Cieszyn) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A continuation of yesterday’s post.  I also consulted in nursing homes for the disabled and for seniors who needed more care than they could get at home.  I bet you could figure this one out.  I wound up in a nursing home after a serious surgery because I wasn’t able to care for myself by myself and my husband had a weekend job that kept him away from home or sleeping most of every weekend and besides that he still had to work on the farm which was two miles from our house.  I needed to be independent in all areas when I got home even with handicapped equipment. At home, after all of my surgeries I had home health, but they could come only for a short time and it didn’t last long. I found I had very kind and competent help on all of these occasions..  I had a good roommate the first time time and later the second time after more surgery,  I spent two weeks on a rehabilitation unit.  It is not fun to accomplish your personal tasks in front of everyone, but nearly everyone was at that stage especially when they first got there.  Sometimes you have to be patient as the staff has other priorities and realize that it may have been you at another time.  I did have family visitors, not so much at the rehab unit which was thirty five miles away.

Nursing Home

Nursing Home (Photo credit: LOLren)

If I am standing still or sitting down or driving a car or on the phone, you can’t tell if I am handicapped.  My troubles started slowly and I was having problems for a long time before I went for my first surgery and they didn’t get resolved til my third surgery and I still have some residual nerve damage which effects the way I type, how large or small I write, whether I can hold on to something,  how I walk, and other things.  My family didn’t always understand; they were busy with their own lives.  One of the biggest problems I had was dropping things.  People would focus on the mess rather than helping me.  They thought I was clumsy (and stupid), not that I couldn’t help it.  Understandably at one point I got depressed. I have traveled by myself and shop and do almost all of the housework at home.  I had to adjust.  I don’t do something quickly or neatly, but I have found a way to do it on my own.  It even effected the way I eat, but that is better now.  Don’t expect miracles, but give it your best shot.  It is easier to vegetate.

Boy, did I find out what it would be like to be handicapped.  You see the world in a whole different way as a bunch of  obstacles.  In an evaluation with one surgeon, who had a medical student with him, asked my husband and son who came with me, not me, if I had any memory problems.  The only clue the surgeon had was that I came with a walker.  I didn’t dress goofy, my hair wasn’t gray (by the way I cheat) and I didn’t babble and I was as well educated as he was.

 

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Understanding and Accepting Handicaps, Part I

Boy with Down Syndrome using cordless drill to...

Boy with Down Syndrome using cordless drill to assemble a book case. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You don’t know how it is to be handicapped unless you have been there or been intimately involved with and caring for someone who is.  I have traveled both routes.  In fact, when I started out in this field, I didn’t want to work with the handicapped.  I avoided institutions for the developmentally disabled and nursing homes and wasn’t nearly as sympathetic towards my aunt who had polio and my mother who was shut-in in her later years as I should have been and I have since thought this over many times with increasing insight about how it might have been for them and what major adjustments they had to make and should be unfortunately post-humusly praised for by me.

I live in a rural area and found some limitation in job opportunities even when I traveled some distance away.   I worked in both homes and workshops for the developmentally disabled and in nursing homes.  (I’ve also worked in prisons, but that’s another story).  (See also my blogs on mental institutions.)  I learned many things that influenced my views in life.

I could never abort a child even if I knew via amniocentesis that he or she would have Down syndrome  In fact, I considered that before I got pregnant with my last child at thirty nine and I found out, shockingly so, from two different obstetricians in two different towns that I would have to sign a paper saying I would have an abortion if they found the fetus had Down syndrome.  I found out  several things.  An abortion at that late a stage of pregnancy was only allowed in these special cases and I read about what the procedure for such an abortion would be which was shocking.  I knew what Down syndrome persons were like from working with them and I realized I couldn’t abort my child just because he or she would be a two year old (or four year old or six year old, etc.) the rest of his or her life.   I also didn’t want to take the risk; however, how slight that the amniocentesis might hurt the fetus or cause a miscarriage or still birth.  I tell this story, because I never heard all this before and everybody that I talked to about it  hadn’t either.

There is more to this post on being handicapped and I will continue it tomorrow.

CAUTION:  These links are obviously Pro-Life and are somewhat more graphic than my post.  I realize there is an opposing point of view and I invite you to comment on this post about abortions and the handicapped and to propose links with an opposing point of view.

 

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