Last week, I was crutching outside to wait for my sister to pick me up and a neighbor saw me as he was walking his dog and asked me what happened. I told him my truncated version: I broke my foot, tore some tendons and had to have surgery. He asked how long I’d be on crutches. I told him for at least the next 8-9 weeks. He then graciously offered to lend me his knee scooter. Wow! I thought, what an awesome random act of kindness.
Yesterday, I decided to use the knee scooter to scooter up to the clubhouse and get the mail. I couldn’t remember where the handicapped ramp was to get up from the curb. As I got closer to the clubhouse, I scanned all the sidewalks and couldn’t find it. Finally, I saw where it was—right next to a visitor parking space where someone had parked. Handicap access FAIL! I scooted up as close as I could and stopped, trying to figure out how I was going to get up on the sidewalk.
I couldn’t fit between the car and the curb to get close to the ramp. I was going to have to pick up the scooter, stand on one leg and put it up on the curb. I have to admit that I have some trepidation about all curbs now. They are my nemesis. I was standing there planning my attack and another neighbor came up behind me and asked if I needed help. I said, yes, I thought I did as I wasn’t sure how I was going to maneuver. You don’t think of these things until you need them. Obviously whomever designed the access ramp was not thinking at all. Had I been in a wheelchair, it would have been even more impassable. She helped me up onto the curb making sure the scooter didn’t roll forward (it was at in incline) and I didn’t lose my balance while picking up the scooter. She held the door open for me and I got the mail, put it in a bag and left. I was able to manage, slowly, by myself, to get past the car and put the scooter down onto the street.
On the way back, another lady on the street called out, hello neighbor! I looked up from my intense gaze at the road and said hi. She said it doesn’t look like you can get out much; can I get you anything from the store? A wave of gratitude swam through me and I smiled as I said, no, thank you, I’m good, thank you so much for offering. We introduced ourselves and I thanked her again for her offer and told her that was really nice. I’m really impressed at how kind and generous people can be. Just that small offer of help really made a difference in my day. I am pleasantly surprised at all the compassion I have been shown by strangers. Look at me and Blanche DuBois, relying on the kindness of strangers!
I still had about halfway to go before I got home. I had a hill to go down which was rather unnerving as I wasn’t sure how well the brakes worked. I was careful to avoid sticks and other debris because they make the ride very rough and unstable—there are no shocks on a knee scooter. I feared falling off of it and was surprised by my lack of confidence in maneuvering it. I remember scooting along like a champ on my niece’s Razor scooter last summer with no thought of falling off. I notice these days I try to remain very present to my surroundings. I know all too well how a moment of inattention can drastically change your life.
I made it back home without incident and was really pleased I was able to do that small thing on my own. I have noticed that since the accident, I live with more fear for my safety than I did. I do not let it stop me from doing things. I have about five things that freak me out on a daily basis. I am constantly working through fear. That, however, must be discussed in another post. I have to proudly go through the mail I got all by myself! It’s the little things, folks– appreciate them!