It’s officially mine!! I have it at home with me right now y’all!! Soon my life on one leg will be mostly over. I say mostly because it’ll never be fully over with technology where it’s at currently. It’s going to take some getting used to and I’ll be starting physical therapy in a couple weeks. You have no idea how ready I am to have my hands back.
For those of you who’ve been on crutches before, you’ll understand. To carry something that can’t just go in a bag is almost impossible. Try carrying a pop from a fast food place… To be able to offset my weight from all being on just my right leg. To have balance without feeling like my ankle is doing all of the work. To not have to tote my crutches around everywhere I go. To just be able to open a door even!!
I want to challenge you to something. Stand up and lift one leg off the ground. Start the timer now. How long do you think you’ll last? 1 minute? Maybe even 5?? Longer?? I bet some of you already had to put your foot down to keep from falling. Now try this. Act like you’re brushing your teeth. Think you can keep your balance with that motion? By the way, how’s your foot and ankle feeling right now? Starting to hurt?
Now if you’ve got crutches available, grab those. Don’t let one foot touch the ground again. Can you make it through a doorway opening and closing the door? Probably but this door isn’t closing on you I bet!
I don’t say this or challenge you to do this because I want to say, “Look at me! I can do all of that! I can even close my eyes!!” I do it to show you that it’s hard. At a gas station this weekend 5 adults standing right outside the door all looked at me, looked at my missing leg, and went back to talking. Guess who took a step forward to open the door… the girl who looked to be maybe 12 years old. Would you have been the adults or the 12 year old? I know I would have probably been the adults before.
Next time you go shopping or you’re out and about, see how many doors have the automatic openers. You’ll be surprised how few. As you go through aisles or follow the hostess to your seat, think about the space you’re walking through. Could you fit on crutches? What about a wheelchair? Notice chairs not pushed in? Maybe you’re the business owner yourself! Look at your business through other eyes. How accessible is it?
I get it. It’s expensive to have automatic door openers. Maybe you need to lose a table or two to have adequate room. Is that money worth it though? For you, probably not because you don’t need it. But what about your friend or family member that all of a sudden is in different shoes? Offer to open the door. That goes for everyone, not just disabled folks. Look at your sidewalk. Is it level and free of cracks? Again, I know this stuff costs money and for a lot of us money is tight. All I ask is that you do your best. Think about everyone that may be attending your event. What accommodations might they need?
It’s easy to just say “they’ll figure it out.” And you’d probably be right. I’ve become a master at getting in and out of places without automatic doors. But is that how you really want to think? Again, walk a mile in someone else’s shoes (or shoe) and make your decision after that.