Last year when I had a big lull between posts I vowed I would remedy that. I had every intention to keep writing and log my journey. So why didn’t I?
Let me tell you … there is myriad of reasons. Each time I sat down to start writing my mind wondered. I could not think of anything. Of course, there were PLENTY of things to write about, but I could not think of anything of significance … anything that would make a difference … an impact … on anyone.
So, why today? Why am I writing today?
I honestly don’t know.
Maybe it’s because the 3-year diagnosis anniversary was the 10th. (Yep, it’s really been 3 years!)
What do I share with you?
I could moan and groan and tell you all about the walking difficulties … or my left hand is constantly numb … or that using a motorized scooter at the grocery store and Walmart is completely humiliating (you should see the looks I get) … or how showering and dressing is completely exhausting … or doing simple tasks such as cleaning the bathroom or vacuuming & sweeping the floors are so difficult I’ve had to resort to hiring someone to do those things for me … or that I’ve had 5 falls since January … or how much weight I’ve gained because of the inability to sufficiently exercise … or standing and moving about the kitchen preparing dinner causes an extraordinary amount of pain I can barely move by the time I’m done … or … or … or … but who wants to read that?
How about the observations I’ve made? That’s it! I’ll share the observations I’ve made!
Chances are most people haven’t even thought of these things …
• In many public places (department stores, movie theaters, etc) the handicap bathroom stalls are at the very end of the line of toilets. Now this may not seem important. I can assure you it is! Every single step a mobility-challenged person takes is a BIG DEAL. Those extra steps could be all the difference in “making it” or not. (For curious minds … I have not NOT made it. There have been some close calls though. 😉)
• I don’t have a problem with anyone using handicap bathroom stalls. Just be cognizant of who is waiting to use the one and only handicap stall. Get in and GET OUT!!!!
• Note to public restroom designers:
– All doors need to open out at the very least. Ideally, they should be double acting doors. This will sufficiently allow those with walkers and wheelchairs to get into the stall.
– Stalls need to be wide enough for someone to get in with a walker or wheelchair. (Does not necessarily need to be the size of a typical handicap stall.)
– Place toilet in center of stall, not next to the wall. HELLO … COMMON SENSE!!!! This will allow for correct placement of toilet paper holder so that it is not right on top of the toilet.
– Install handicap toilets in all stalls. No matter who uses the stall, the person will be able to use the toilet without risk of falling onto the toilet or strain to push herself up.
– All stalls should have grab bars. This is a safety measure and should be common sense.
• Many businesses have come a long way in ensuring all customers have access into and out of their establishments. They’ve installed ramps and push buttons to open doors. HOWEVER, THE VAST MAJORITY OF BUSINESSES ARE CLUELESS!
For example, the handicap parking spots at my local SteinMart are on the side of the store rather than the front. Why the big deal? The handicap spots are SIGNIFICANTLY further away from the door than the parking spots directly in front of the door. Yes, those extra steps make a HUGE difference! I can’t park in front of the store though. The curb is far too high to step up and lift my walker up without risk of falling. Stepping down upon exiting is even riskier. It would be the same for anyone with mobility issues.
• In addition to poorly place handicapped parking space location, there are not sufficient handicap parking spaces. In my opinion, the first 5 – 6 spaces in EACH ROW need to be handicap. Not just the two rows in front of the door(s). At all businesses. INCLUDING DOCTOR OFFICES!!!
Would you believe there are only 6 handicap parking spaces at the medical arts building where my PCP is located? 6!!!!! That is just absolutely ridiculous!!!!!!
• Like I mentioned above, many businesses do a great job with ensuring all customers have access into and out of their establishments. However, they could do better! How? Automatic doors should be standard equipment at all businesses on all exterior doors and restroom doors. Since it is difficult for me to maneuver a walker in and out of a door, I know it’s even more difficult for someone in a wheelchair. Accessibility is a must!
If it had not been for the kindness of a stranger, I would have never been able to get into the restroom at Macy’s! She waited for me to use the restroom so she could help me exit.
• Just like parking spaces being further away from the door, so are the handicap ramps. EXTRA STEPS MAKE A DIFFERENCE! Need I say more?
I’m sure you’ve guessed the less steps to accomplish a task, the better. It goes a long way in energy conservation … and being able to make it through the day.
Why have a step-up curb at all? Why can’t the door and parking lot be on the same plane? This makes more sense and more cost effective anyway. In addition, less chance for someone to trip on or fall off the curb.
I wonder what it would take to advocate for these changes? Where would I even begin? Hmmmm … let me think about that. If you have any ideas, please let me know.
In the meantime, I keep pushing forward. PT, home exercises and the 2nd round of Lemtrada coming up at the end of January.