Sunday, September 27, 2015

Still Sore


It's only been two weeks since the surgery to remove the pins and rods from my thigh and hip, so I am still sore. But the pain is not much more than it was before the metal was removed, so it's no big deal.

I've been out and about on my crutches, trying hard NOT to put more than 50% weight on my surgery leg. Easier said than done. Since it doesn't really hurt, it's far too easy to forget not to use it. I am being as good as I can.

In the house, I am using my wheelchair which offers its own challenges. It is decidedly faster to get around than it would be on the walker, but my house is not easily navigable.  Fortunately, the chair fits, with some extra maneuvering, through all the doors and down the hall. The biggest obstacle is the bathroom which is too narrow for either the chair or the walker. So, I've stashed the walker in front of the sink and use it when I'm standing there for tooth brushing and such. Then, I have a shower seat that extends over the tub so I can sit and then swing in, and a raised toilet seat with arms. I kind of hold on to these to support me in and out of the tub and toilet area.

Sorry to go on with the detail, but as I noted the last time I was handicapped with such devices, I discovered a world not exactly user friendly to people with mobility issues.  So many places look, on the surface, to be "handicapped accessible," and yet, in reality, still pose quite a challenge. My favorite was the US Post office with all kinds of beautiful exterior ramps and parking for the handicapped, and then, a set of heavy doors with no automatic openers that were REALLY difficult to open when you were seated in a wheelchair.  Or, there was the restaurant "accessible" bathroom that had the access door partially blocked by a pile of children's seat risers that made it impossible to get out of the bathroom hallway on wheels.

Like  a lot of things, the ADA (American with Disabilities Act) has a set of regulations public access places are required to follow. But, following the letter of the law and the practical application of the law are two different things.

I've also entertained myself by food shopping with those electric carts the markets provide. Since I can't exactly shop on crutches, the carts are the answer. But so far, two different stores have two different kind of carts with totally different sets of controls. It's not quite rocket science learning to use them, but there is definitely a learning curve involved. Store #1 had carts plugged in near the door, easy to spot. I just had to unplug one from the wall and hop on. However, trying to find a place to stash my crutches while I rode was a bit of an issue. Fortunately the controls were easy to decipher. Store #2 had the carts in a little hall just past the door...a bit harder to find. I unplugged one, only to find it did not start. Looked it over and realized it needed a key. So I had to crutch over to the service desk to get one. Then, I had to figure out how to make the darn thing to. It had a push button panel, I managed to guess my way through. And then I had to pull the handle knobs towards me to make it go forward, only after I pushed the "forward" button. If I need to reverse, I had to push a blue button in the middle, then the "reverse" arrow button, and then again, pull the knobs towards me. In the other store, pushing the knobs forward made the cart go forward and pulling back made it go back. All in all, a bit confusing to someone who was not too "tech" savvy.  

Again, some kind of standardization would be a big help.

When I left Store #2, I only had two bags of groceries, so I held them in my hands and crutched my way out.  Once I was in the parking lot, the sweet guy who collects the stray shopping carts called over to me--we always say "hi"--and said, "You could have ridden the cart out here."  I thanked him and said it was fine. Besides, I hate to make extra work for him if I can avoid it, and I would have either had to leave the cart in the parking lot, or driven it back into the store and then crutched back out anyhow, so no big deal.

The cart in Store #1 was clearly labeled "For In Store Use Only."  Huh? So you shop, get a bunch of bags and then, how do you get them to the car?  The clerk inside told me to drive the cart on out and not worry about it. I did, then did the return drive to the store and the crutch back to the car. Took me twice as long.

All in all, a humbling experience. And definitely something to think about.


  1. Anonymous8:13 AM

    Being temporarily disabled can be quite an eye-opener. Glad you're getting out and around, even with all the obstructions/difficulties.

    1. Thankfully, I am still pretty agile. My Physical Therapist noted that yesterday. Being a rider and swimmer pays off at times like this.

  2. The carts do sound confusing. I ve wondered how the people who need to use them manage to get what they need from the top shelves. If I can I will help with that. I hope you're able to get around without all the devices soon.

    1. You're right. Unless you stand up, you can't reach the stuff on the top shelf. Fortunately, I can stand up, so it's OK. I will pay a lot of attention to others in the carts from now on, though. I've helped before, as you have, but I will be specially vigilant from now on.

  3. All architects should have a compulsory period of living as if disabled.

    1. Brilliant idea. It would make a huge difference. Once you are there, you just don't "get it."

      Fortunately for me, I can get up and walk if I need to and get out of tight places since my legs work OK. I just have to be careful not to put too much weight on my surgery leg.