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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Weathering the Storm...

Last Friday I took the day off work because I had to take my 91 year old grandmother to the ophthalmologist. She has a walker, but I always borrow the residence wheelchair because she just cannot walk very well at all and it makes my life easier. As you may recall, last Friday was the end of a massive heat wave which meant we had some heavy, stormy, weather. Of course, her appointment was at 2:30 and the downpour began at about 2:00. Perfect timing! I decided not to write this last Friday because I probably would have used too much profanity… so I am writing this now because everything that happened that day still annoys me!

So, due to the stormy weather, I called a cab even though the appointment was only a few blocks away. To start the day off well, the bloody cab driver wouldn’t even get out of the car to help me get my grandmother in OR to put the wheelchair in his trunk! He actually had the nerve to ask me if I really needed to bring it! Then, to top things off, he couldn’t handle simple math so I had to separate his pay from his tip (which he did not deserve) from my change, all while my grandmother sits there and says how useless he is out loud! Thankfully, he didn’t speak a word of English either!

Then I had to wheel my grandmother up a steep ramp at the doctor’s office in the pouring rain. The wheelchair had absolutely no grip and it was very heavy to push on a slippery slope. Somehow I managed to lose my flip flop and nearly fell which would have been horrible as the chair would have rolled backwards onto me. I managed to get up to the top and the ramp was not level with the landing. There was a huge gap! Thankfully, someone came to help us into the office and I thought the day may be turning around.

After the appointment, my grandmother wanted to go for lunch at this little place she loves. I really wasn’t interested but the rain had stopped so I agreed. There are 2 steps to go in, no handrail and no way to get a wheelchair up. She struggled her way into the restaurant and then insisted that she could walk all the way to the back to use the bathroom (which ended up taking about 20 minutes to and form). The food SUCKED because the new management doesn’t know what they are doing and to make things worse when a larger woman walked by our table my grandmother says out loud “well that’s an awful size to be”! I wanted to hide but instead I gave the poor woman a sympathetic look apologizing for my grandmother’s rudeness. She seemed to understand as she smiled back at me very much in the same manner.

When lunch was over, I had to get my grandmother back home and of course it had started to rain again. She had the rest of her lunch to take with her along with the wheelchair. I had my umbrella open and we had to tackle those stairs together once again. I have to add here that I don’t understand why this area is not more handicap friendly. This neighborhood is surrounded by old age homes so you would think business owners would be more accommodating, no? Anyhow, I had to hold my grandmother while she goes down the stairs (remember, with no handrail), keep her wheelchair from rolling away as she uses it for support as well and the wheel locks don’t work, hold her doggie bag and the umbrella all while battling the rain. At one point I thought the manager was coming to help but he was only running to say hi to his friend outside!!! I couldn’t have been fuming more at this point. I pushed her home in the rain with no help from anyone, getting stuck in sidewalk potholes and all! The only help I got was from two bus drivers who blocked the road for me to cross with her. Thank you!

When I finally got her home I called DH to hopefully get a ride from him because I was near tears at this point. He was already well on his way to his friend’s house and I was really out of the way so since I was already soaking wet I just sat in the rain, crying, waiting for the next bus home…

You all think I am lucky to have so many days off recently, but THIS is what I am doing when I am not at work! Would you really like to trade??? I think not!

It did get me thinking though. A couple of times in the last month I have ran to hold a door open for an older woman, helped someone bring a stroller down to the metro, picked up a toy that a kid lost on the street when the mom didn't notice and every time the people are genuinely surprised that someone helped them; and now I know why! Please, if you are young and able and you see someone who could use a hand, help them! Maybe when you are old and grey someone will return the favor... or maybe not... but at least you will know that you did a good thing for someone that day.