Life’s improvements

Yesterday I graduated from rolling around on a rolling chair to walking on a walker. Today I am able to put some weight on my broken ankle, I’d say maybe 25% of my weight. So I can just put it down but not walk on it. My core muscles have healed from whatever the heck I did to them.

Life got a whole lot easier when my friends brought over the rolling chair. I can’t see how I would have gotten by without it. At the time I was not able to hop around at all. If I couldn’t hop, the only other option would have been to purchase a rolling chair. Renting a wheelchair wasn’t possible because I don’t have insurance. Apparently without insurance you can’t rent equipment. You can only purchase it even if you only need it for a few weeks.

When Joe got his wheelchair fixed, the repair person would have a loaner chair for him to use until his own chair was fixed. He said that the loaner chairs tended to be poor quality. I am not sure if I am remembering properly, but at one point he replaced his wheelchair because the one he had been using for years was too worn out.

You have to be fitted for a wheelchair if it is going to be a long-term arrangement. The wheelchair techs will measure you and then, plan and create one that matches you perfectly, that is comfy to sit in and easy to self-propel. The technology behind a decent wheelchair is amazing. These are built like high-quality bicycles. The wheels of some of them can be removed easily for transit and they are lightweight. Joe used to fold his and with one hand, lifted the wheelchair into his car. I admit I couldn’t possibly have done that with one hand myself, but he was very strong. Insurance should pay for this. If it doesn’t, you can expect to fork out at thousands of dollars.

Of course, if you’re only going to rent one for a few weeks there is no sense in having one custom made for you. Anything will do if you can fit into it. I was considering a rolling stool. (Yes, it does make me think of gynecologists…so maybe not.)

Today I am pretty much graduated out of the rolling chair, though. Looking back, I realize now just how tough things were when I realized I had injured my core muscles. It was overwhelming trying to do anything at all. Years ago, I would have gone running to the therapist claiming I “can’t cope.” Really, what I was having trouble “coping” with was not emotional, but practical.

Here is an example: I had to return something I had purchased from a third-party seller on Amazon. I asked for the company to arrange a pickup of the package. They gave me the hardest time imaginable. Finally they sent me a Fedex label and told me to print it out and then, bring it to a Fedex location.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t possible, and was difficult even before I broke my ankle. We do not have a Fedex location nearby. I found a Walgreen’s finally. To get there I would have to take the bus, then walk a distance and cross at a dangerous street crossing. Yes, it can be done. It can’t be done with a broken ankle, though! I couldn’t walk to the bus stop and couldn’t walk to Walgreen’s. I had an exchange with the company. They wrote that there was nothing they could do since they’d already sent the label. Those idiots told me to use the label and bring the box to a Fedex location. Again.

I went straight to Amazon explaining that I had asked for a package pickup and explained why. The first time I tried, they denied me an A to Z guarantee because this was a 3rd-party seller. I phoned Amazon again and explained my situation. The rep went back and looked at my emails back and forth with the company. She said that I can clearly stated, again and again, for a PICKUP and they had not honored this at all. She appealed back to Amazon and next thing you knew, I was given a refund. Finally.

This is the kind of thing I dealt with, day in, day out. I had packages show up at my door that I couldn’t bring inside because they were on the wrong side of my screen door. Finally, I printed out a huge sign telling the delivery people where to put packages so I could bring them in. I had no way of taking out the trash, either. It was accumulating in here and there was nothing I could do. It seems like such a small thing, but accumulation of trash meant these items were taking up space, limiting my mobility. I called the elderly agency to see if I could hire someone (for a five-minute task!) and they wanted to send someone who would help me bathe, etc. I said I did not need this at all (panicking at the thought of an “aide”). Only a person to take out the trash. They referred me to some agency…but then, the dog walker I had hired took the trash out for me.

In my case, “can’t cope” meant practical difficulties, not emotional difficulties. If it was 15 years ago I would have ended up with multiple panicked calls to the therapist. It would have meant calling the psychiatrist because the therapists usually weren’t available. The psychiatrist would have told me to “take a PRN.” Guaranteed.

Risperdal would have done nothing to help. Nothing at all! It wouldn’t have made my trash magically march outside to the trash barrel. It wouldn’t have hired the dog walker. It wouldn’t have alerted my friend to bring over the rolling chair. In fact, it more likely would have slowed the process, somehow this being “proof” to the mental health establishment just how poorly I “coped.”

Of course, I know this now. Decades too late.

For years, I had turned to them for help with things they couldn’t possibly help with. Instead of telling me this, they continued to act like gods who blamed all my misfortune on my so-called symptoms, and they, the ones who claimed to solve everything, “treated” my “symptoms” with brainwashing and disabling drugs. No wonder my life never got better until I left them far, far behind!

Feedback and comments welcome!