Monday, February 14, 2011

Eye Opener

Boy, being on crutches has really opened my eyes to the world of the children and the families I work with.  I was on crutches for 3 months in high school, but I was so much younger and carefree then, it didn’t matter if I fell on my crutches and I certainly didn’t have two children to take care of.  Simple things can be so difficult, and they take so much more time! It’s just amazing how difficult it is to walk through those big heavy doors and the revolving ones are really tricky!  My Mom has been a huge help within the walls of my house, but as I’m feeling better and getting out some, it has been a huge eye opener, both good and bad!

On one hand, I have those individuals who make a point to open the door for me or help me carry something.  In Trader Joe’s I picked up a box of pretzels, stabilized it between my crutch and made my way to the check out line.  The friendly cashier said, “You need something to dip them in.  Have you tried the mustard?”  After I told her I had seen it, but couldn’t carry it, she immediately went to the shelf and picked up a jar for me. 

I’ve also encountered some not so helpful people. But, the most appalling experience for me was when I went back to the doctor to get my stitches out.  I was two weeks post-op, so by this point I was feeling comfortable and quite good on my crutches. I drove myself to the appointment (it’s my left knee and for those of you who know me I like my independence), pulled into the very full parking garage and parked on the opposite side of the deck.  Since the elevator was on the opposite end, it was closer to use the stairs.  I hobbled down the stairs, pulled open the big heavy door and hurried through it so it wouldn’t hit me on my back side, swung my leg over a chain and proceeded into the office.  Pondering this situation, I looked around the waiting room to find most everyone either in a wheelchair or on crutches.  How did they all manage, I thought?  Perhaps they have a handicap sticker (which would have only helped part of the problem) or they were dropped off at the front door as many of them did have someone by their side. 

Being an OT, I shared my concerns with all of the other patients in mind.  Evidently, this premier Orthopedic office of the Carolinas (can I get any more specific?) is aware of this problem as they are currently sharing the parking garage with a nearby hospital.  The strange thing is that they don’t have a solution.  Why not offer valet for those individuals who can’t participate in the Crutches Olympics?!

As Ellen says, “Be Kind to One Another!” and open that door for someone today! (Yes, I've watched a lot of T.V.)

Michelle Yoder, OTR/L
Occupational Therapist
S/P Knee Surgery and now on the other side of therapeutic intervention

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