You know the old saying about how you can never know what someone else is experiencing until you walk around in their shoes? (To Kill A Mockingbird if I'm not mistaken) Well, I am truly experiencing what it must be like for people who are permanently handicapped, for whom this isn't just a two-week thing that you endure, it's their lifetimes.
The worst part is having to think about all your actions. Even going to the bathroom becomes a production. You can't be lazy about it and dawdle till your bladder's ready to burst, because you can't do the 100 metre bathroom sprint. And don't even get me started on taking a bath. I sit on a chair, a plastic bag around my cast, which is elevated on the pot, thankfully within distance. Since I can't let the cast touch the floor, it becomes another deal to switch from the leather cast `foot' that I'm wearing (it's a sort of shoe, big enough to fit around a cast, with velcro straps. Not high fashion, but, hey, it works) to the green plastic bag, all the while doing a flamingo type thing with my other foot. Because my toe is fractured, the plaster raises that and so I can only walk on my heel. Walking up stairs takes me, oh, twenty minutes. Answering the door, about seven. And I'm not bothering to answer the landline. My cellphone is travelling everywhere with me.
But it struck me yesterday how handicap unfriendly this country is. There are no wheelchair or slope options, everything has stairs. And most stairs don't even have a railing, so you hold on to the wall for support. And forget about using a public loo, I'm talking non-five star, coz most five-stars have a handicap option. Squatting is incredibly hard to do on one foot, with no railing. I even realise how terrible the roads are in parking lots--try hobbling and avoiding potholes at the same time.
Mine is a fairly minor injury. I even have a fair amount of mobility (I haven't had the balls to drive yet, but I'm sure soon I will risk it). But, with the sudden startling insight I have recieved, I begin to look at things as stuff I can do and stuff I can't. And of course, stuff that people who have a permanent disability can't. I think I'm going to do something about it. The next time I'm somewhere with stairs and no slope or railings, I will speak to whoever's in charge. I mean why shouldn't I and my fellow cast-ridden bretheren have a good time, right?
Oh and by the way, I hurt it when I tried to balance on a rotating barrell, slipped backwards, feet in the air. For a story, I promise, I'm not a barrell fetishist.