Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Be a Helping Miracle

(Reprinted from my Slices of My Life blog at http://slicesofmylife. Blogspot.com)

You know, I don’t have a problem with ambulatory people. In fact, a lot of my closest friends are ambulatory. They are all welcome to use the mugs and plates in the upper kitchen shelves that I cannot reach, but could you please check back in a couple days, after I’ve had time to run your dishes through the dishwasher, to make sure that someone tall enough to replace those dishes has stopped by and done so? Otherwise the counters get cluttered with dishes that are too high for me to put away. I never use them, which is why they’re up high. There’s this one cup on my counter that someone got down a couple months ago and it’s still down. It keeps getting moved around the counter, but it’s still down. I’m ready to put a post-it on it now, asking for anyone who’s able to put it back up where it belongs. I think it’s been washed three times now since it was actually used. It’s beginning to be a bit of a game. 🙀

So, my ambulatory friends, when you’re visiting your wheelchair-bound friends, it would be really great if you could offer to do a few of those little things that they cannot do or would take ten times longer for them to do. It would mean a lot to them and would help them immensely. They might not feel comfortable asking for your help. Thank goodness I have a couple of friends who do this already. I keep hoping I’m not going to wear them out.

Most of the time when I ask for help, I feel like an annoying, dripping faucet. I used to be the person who helped people all the time. Now I’m the one who has to have help a lot. It wears you down. I mean it truly makes your soul weary to have to ask for help all the time. 

Count your ability to walk effortlessly as the huge blessing it is. It’s devastating to lose that ability even for a short time. Yes, eventually you adjust, and if you have unlimited funds, you can customize things. Plus, your upper body, if that part of you still works, gets really strong. I now have killer biceps, whereas, in my biking days, I had killer quads, calves, and glutes. 

If you haven’t lived it or been with someone who has, you probably wouldn’t think about all the ways people in wheelchairs have to figure out again how to do basic things. I know when I used to ride my bike to work near Seattle, I was shocked at how many curbs weren’t wheelchair accessible. I was delighted when King County changed that and went all out to alter every corner so people in wheelchairs could go out without someone strong to get them up and down the curbs. I bet most ambulatory people didn’t even notice. I’m not sure if it was my prescience that made me notice things like that or what. 

On my mountain bike, I just jumped the unramped curbs. Try that in a wheelchair and you’ll end up doing a face plant and not be able to jump up and pretend it didn’t happen. No, you’ll just be lying there, possibly bleeding, waiting for help. Me, I just don’t go out much. It’s too hard and too dangerous most of the time. What do I do if my motorized wheelchair breaks down? I do have a manual one but have you ever wheeled yourself around in one of those for hours on end? I wheeled myself around in one for hours on end for a couple of years. They’re slow, so crossing a busy street is scary, and they can break down too. Try bending a wheel and see how far you get. 

Not trying here to whine or complain. Just hoping to open a few eyes. There are people all around you who are in compromised health. Don’t wait to be asked for help. Offer willingly and with a smile, and if they say no the first time, make sure they really don’t need help. They might just be hesitant about accepting assistance. If they are still in an angry stage, they might push you away, but don’t judge. They have been through a lot and might not be willing yet to forgive the world for their current state.

Try to be a blessing wherever you go. No matter what your current ability or disability. You do have something to offer. I can’t do everything I used to do, and what I can do may take a really long time now, but I can do some things again. More things than a couple years ago. Hopefully two years from now, I’ll be doing much, much more. 

For now, I can write and read and edit. I can speak and listen. I can even do some housework. No, I can’t clean my house from top to bottom. Especially can’t clean the top of the house. But I can do some things. I may not have the strength to do a lot every day, but I keep trying to do more and get better at it. Much like anything else in the world. Do what you can to help others. You never know when you’ll be the miracle someone else needed.