Friday, September 7, 2012

Accessible.....Maybe......

Since I have been taking my mother-in-law to so many doctors' appointments in so many different places, I have become more aware of how many places are truly handicap-accessible.

(Side note: The next person who asks if she can step up on the scale is going to get punched in the nose. #1 - Is her WEIGHT really the most important thing here? and #2 - Do you think she's sitting in that wheelchair for FUN?)

Today was particularly challenging. We went up and up and up and up and up and up and up and around and around and around and around and around and around in the parking deck looking for a handicap parking space. They were all taken, and there weren't of the UNhandicapped kind. I finally went all the way to the top floor of the parking deck, and there was no handicap parking, but there was an elevator. Theoretically. It was "out of order" and had about a six-inch step-up just to get to it anyway. So I had to wheel her down the ramp (please let me be strong enough to hold on to her, please let me be strong enough to hold on to her, please let me be strong enough to hold on to her) to the elevator there. We were on Level K. We had to go down to Level F to take the skywalk over to the hospital. There we were on the 2nd floor. But the elevator there doesn't go to the 9th floor, where we needed to be. We had to go DOWN to the 1st floor and take ANOTHER elevator up to the 9th floor.

But that wasn't even my main complaint. Some of the hospital entrances are automatic doors that I guess are triggered by movement. I love those. Some of the doors to offices and departments within the hospital, though, aren't so accommodating. And they won't even stay open. You have to somehow manage to hold the door open and push (or pull) a wheelchair through it at the same time. Arrrgggghhhh!!! It was hard enough for me; I kept imagining how difficult (impossible?) it would be for a disabled person on his or her own. Some of these places CALL themselves wheelchair-accessible, but you'd have to be superhuman to manage it alone.

From the hospital we had to go to the prosthodontist (I love typing that word). His office has handicap parking, but the "ramp" was rough concrete with some broken pieces, and it was not easy to get the wheelchair started up it. The entrance to the office was a brick (really? brick?) walkway, and then I had to wrestle with the door. The two people in the waiting room were much to busy looking at pictures on a cell phone to help the woman struggling mightily to get a wheelchair-bound elderly woman in the door. I finally had to ask my mother-in-law to hold the door so I could maneuver the wheelchair through it. When we left, that brick walkway scared me to death. It was fairly steep, and I shuddered to think what might happen if I lost my grip on the chair. We might have found mother-in-law somewhere on I-285.

I have become much more aware of which places are truly handicap-accessible and which ones appear to do the minimum just to fulfill the letter of the laws. But medical professionals? They should be ashamed.


2 comments:

Lilith said...

Yes, weight is a very important thing. If the doctor needs to change any medications she is on or add new ones they need to know how much she weights, since most medications are done by weight.

They have to ask. Also, significant weight loss or gain is a sign of something serious going on.

So yes, it's THAT important!

K-Sue said...

So true! Until you are dealing with the issue with your own friend or family member, those slightly-wider stalls, grab bars and ramps seem generous enough.