Now I Know What it's Like to be Disabled
Hey all! Still recovering from knee surgery (here's my first post on the subject), but doing much better. It's been about six weeks, which means I'm in the home stretch. Still rocking two crutches, but should be down to one soon. After that I'll have a limp and then, finally, hopefully, back to normal.
Have any of you ever been on crutches for an extended period of time? Man, oh man. It gets old real quick. And you start to notice patterns in people's reactions. Some people feel like they shouldn't say anything. Others ask you the same questions over and over again, mostly How did you hurt your knee? And When are you going to be off crutches? I try to give the shortest possible answers, because in truth, they're pretty long.
Being temporarily disabled has certainly opened my eyes to just how accommodating and unaccommodating the world can be.
Total strangers race ahead of me to open doors. At work, my colleagues have taken turns carrying my lunch for me and grabbing ice packs from the freezer. Last night, I went to a group dinner at a restaurant, and a friend of a friend I'd never met before took it upon herself to help me in every way, finding a secure spot for my crutches, hailing me a taxi, holding open doors.
But on the other end of the spectrum, I've had cab drivers sit and stare at me as I hobble over and attempt to cram my crutches into their backseat. I've gotten dirty looks in crowded restaurants when I accidentally bump into someone's chair. A 20-something girl behind me on the sidewalk called me a bitch because I wasn't moving fast enough.
Humanity, you guys! It's pretty f'ing unpredictable. This experience has definitely made me more handicap-aware. I'll never forget what it's like to struggle with a door or cringe at the sight of stairs.
Never be afraid to offer your assistance, my friends. The worst that can happen is that it won't be necessary. But, trust me, it'll be much appreciated.