Monday, July 23, 2012

Guest blogging...

This is just a quick post to explain my guest blogger...

Hubby had a little fall a few weeks ago and broke his ankle. He's been on crutches ever since and is finding life as a (albeit temporarily) disabled person quite enlightening!

I like what hes written and intend doiing a little reply soon. In the meantime, I will tell you all that despite being very, very tempted, I haven't said 'Welcome to my World' yet!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Temporarily disabled...my exciting new guest blog entry...

It has been an interesting 10 months: I have gained a whole new insight into 'disability'. As a child I was asthmatic - I still am, but it is thoroughly controlled by medication and I don't even notice unless for some strange reason I try to run somewhere. Aside from that, I have been generally healthy and able-bodied. Until last September...

Last September, I injured my left leg. Not permanently, but it still isn't quite 100%. Then a couple of weeks ago, I had a little mishap while Morris dancing (yes, I am one of those strange guys who wears bells!) and I fractured my right ankle. So, for some time last autumn I was walking with a stick, in some pain and at the moment I am using two crutches to get around, although without pain - I just have one totally useless leg. What have I learned?

Even the things you can still can do can be limited, and that is enough of a loss in itself. Last year we had a holiday, but spent the whole week beside the pool - Wifey could have explored Kos town extensively in her wheelchair (and she did want to) but I couldn't walk very far at all - it was much too painful. This was a bit of role-reversal from her pre-wheelchair days, when she was the limiting one.

This gave the first interesting insight into a psychological aspect of disability which is not often considered - guilt: I felt really guilty about holding her back.

When using a stick, you only have one free hand for carrying. Ironically, I realised, this can mean more walking, since you may need to make more than one trip to move things! Which is hard on the bad leg.

With the broken ankle, walking with two crutches, carrying is almost impossible. Currently, a messenger bag is my constant companion: it means I can carry a lot of things around, although food and drink is a bit of a problem! This leads to another insight - disability forces you to become a real problem-solver. I can just about carry a sealed drink container with a handle, using one finger, whilst still gripping the crutch, but a normal mug of coffee, or a plate of sandwiches, is hopeless. Leave one crutch behind, and you're reduced to hopping - one free hand, but certainly not the way to carry a cuppa!

So - you put the mug down on a flat surface, move to a position between that and the next flat surface within reach, stand still and move the mug from one to the other; repeat as necessary, but a corridor is a real barrier. Where's Wifey's old wheelchair?

Some jobs don't require moving about, so they? Like washing up. But standing in one place on one leg for any length of time is a strain on the remaining good leg. How long does it take a single-leg amputee to adjust to that? Or to develop the strength to stand it? So - easy answer - sit down to do it. Simples! But it's surprising just how awkward that is. You are not standing over the sink at your usual height, so your view is different, and the angles are odd, making the movements awkward and clumsy. Conclusion - everything is harder.

And also, everything takes more time. Emptying the dishwasher normally is easy: bend, take out plates, stand up, put plates in cupboard, etc. But with two crutches, you just have to sit down, take the plates out and put them on the work top, take the bowls out and put them on the work top, etc., then stand and transfer stuff from the work top to the cupboards. This simple job becomes a two- stage process, and that's without the pots that go away on the opposite side of the kitchen...

Reduced mobility can affect almost everything you do. I hate rain. I've never understood those scenes in films where the lovers embrace in the middle of a downpour, oblivious of getting soaked - I would sprint for cover every time. Oh, wait...

This is as close to disabled as most healthy people will ever get, if they are lucky. But everyone should try it for a few weeks, and see how it opens their eyes.

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