Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Crippled Is as Crippled Does

True. We just moved into a new house. A house where we can have 1-floor living. For my benefit. We have the second floor. I just don't have to go up there, except for when I want to.

(We also moved for Sweetie's benefit. Bigger bedroom plus an extra play room. Yay! Many other reasons, too. But these were the biggies.)

Also true that, now, given the choice, I will almost certainly take the elevator upstairs instead of walk up one or more flights when I visit various doctors and office building. I could walk it. I just choose not to. And that's okay.

But, no. I do not need one of those sit-in-a-mechanical-seat-and-slowly-ride-up-the-stairs contraptions. Heck, no! I will not use it, Sam I am!

This point comes up because one of the places I work is seriously considering moving locations. To a second-floor space. Up 1 flight of stairs, 18 steps up (as Sweetie counted when we visited yesterday evening.) My boss asked me to come check the space out, primarily because she was concerned for me about the stairs. No problem, I told her before seeing the place. I can do stairs, no problem.

So, Hubby and I and Sweetie, along with a couple other important people my boss wanted to see the space, headed out yesterday evening to check things out. Yup. Them there are stairs. You weren't lyin'! And... like I said. No problem. I can do stairs. I just don't choose to, if I have the choice.

During our time there yesterday, and in talking with the realtor, the idea of installing one of those mechanical ride-on chairs on the stairs was brought up. You know, for other members of our community (I work for a small alternative spiritual school/interfaith church) who may be elderly or impaired and not easily able to/wanting to climb the stairs. Sure, the realtor said. We can at least bring the idea up to the landlord to see if they would be okay with our adding this on.

So that was that, and the space was big and great and just right. I gave it my stamp of approval, as did the other people in attendance. Then my boss asked me directly:

So, Amy. You said you like the space. You approve. But what about the stairs?

They're fine! No problem. I'll have no trouble getting up them.

And what about the idea of adding on the mechanical chair?

(Oh! They're thinking that would be a big help for me! I didn't even consider myself as part of that equation.)

Oh. I wouldn't use that. I definitely wouldn't use it. In fact, if it was there, it would be in my way. So if you'd only get it for me, don't worry about it. 

You wouldn't use it?

No. I would not. I mean, unless something happened to make me severely crippled. Then, of course. But otherwise, no.

With that, all of a sudden, Sweetie pops into my personal space, demanding to know, "What does crippled mean?!" (Apparently, she asked me politely a moment before, but I didn't hear. So she got in my face about it.)

When I finally was able to attend to Sweetie's question, I gave her my quick, not-really-correct-but-it-did-in-a-pinch definition of crippled - it's when you're really, really hurt or not able to walk at all. Much worse me.

So anyway, after that, my boss and the others kind of agreed, quickly - "Well, then. It's always something that can be added on later if you want." I kind of think that my very certain, very quick and definite answer to the chair question took them all by surprise. They probably didn't know what to do with themselves at that point.

And Sweetie's question kind of took me by surprise. I mean, she has me for a mother and she doesn't know what the word "crippled" means? How can that be?

I'll tell you how that can be. Because I do not define myself as crippled. Not by any stretch of the imagination. Sure, I am limited with how much physical activity I can do. I know my limits and I accommodate. But I definitely am not crippled.

And I don't mean that I take that word as a negative connotation of what I am - physically disabled. I know, logically, that I am physically disabled or, if you prefer, crippled. But it's just that I don't look at myself that way. I don't treat myself that way. I don't have family or friends that treat me that way. I'm just me. I'm just Amy. I'm just Mom. I do what I'm able to physically do - just like any other person out there does for themselves. I don't focus on what I can't do. I just know what those things are and live my life accordingly. I ask for help when I need it. But, all in all, I look at what I am physically able to do - not the opposite.

Back to that mechanical chair - no, I most certainly would not use it. In fact, I would take offense at having to use it. I'd be embarrassed to use it. Choosing to ride the elevator up a flight or more of stairs is one thing. The elevator is there for all to use, and hundreds of people in all sorts of physical conditions use them every day. But the mechanical chair on the stairs - no. That is meant for someone who cannot, in any other way, comfortably get up the stairs. I can. I am able. No problem. I will climb the stairs. Let me at 'em!

Crippled is as crippled does. You're as crippled as you make yourself be. This is true for anyone. I do not act crippled. I do what I am able to do. Just like we all do. This is what Sweetie knows of me. This is what everyone who knows me knows about me.

And I will climb the stairs!

1 comment:

Sera Das said...

so nice..loved reading it I am on the same boat :D