As most of you know, I was out of the office for two months because I had a “drastic” bunionectomy. I was lucky that I wasn’t in pain and I had a knee scooter so I could be quite independent in the house. However, when I was finally able to venture outside, I saw the world with different eyes:
- People run into Starbucks and do not realize there is a handicapped person behind them, so doors get slammed on one’s face. It is also hard to close doors behind you.
- Handicapped bathrooms are used by everyone, even if other stalls are empty. It is still hard to lock the stall door. Even if there is a handicapped stall, sometimes it is hard to open the main restroom door.
- If one is on a knee scooter, ramps can be very scary. Luckily I had a brake or would have been in an accident. I built up my “good” leg when I had to push uphill. Getting from doors to the parking lot over curbs or getting from the parking lot into places of business over curbs and up steps and over thresholds are a problem.
- Venues are not handicapped friendly. Segerstrom has lots of stairs and it is hard to go in the elevator that is packed with people stuffed like sardines. I’d warn that you better get there very early to find your seat. At SCR I had to “give up” my scooter until the end of the performance and wait for the audience to clear out before it was returned to me. Hollywood Bowl has handicap seating, but I reserved my seat before the surgery. Therefore, they would not let me have my scooter nearby. It had to be parked in front of the section and I was afraid it was going to be stolen. Plan on not seeing the end of a concert or you’ll be mobbed with fans running for their busses and will get knocked over.
- It is very irritating to run into people/friends/acquaintances that offer medical advice. I think I heard more bunion/feet surgeries than I needed to know. Do not offer medical advice, especially if you are not a doctor.
My “handicap” was short lived. However, people with disabilities go through these problems every day of their lives and we should be more empathetic. As reported by Census 2000, nearly one in five people in the U.S. lives with a disability. According to the Americans with Disability Act, a “disability” is an impairment that substantially reduces one or more major life activities. Common Courtesy is an old-fashioned phrase that we should practice. I learned from my experience and will continue to slow down and help the handicapped.
By the way, if any of our readers need to borrow a knee scooter, I have one handy.