Gill is back to talk about the time she snapped her ankle and had to figure out how to drive a wheelchair whilst not being able to see. I sometimes wonder how well I would do at something like that, but I don’t want to have to wreck an ankle any further to find out.
It has been said that you don’t want to leave people to their own devices or that boredom can be dangerous. I look at boredom as a time when my mind is at its sharpest and I come up with my best ideas.
Wheels Of Boredom
On June 23rd, 2016, I had to give up some of my independence thanks to a freak accident. I broke my ankle, which meant I needed a lot of help. I had to wear an air cast that looked a bit like a ski boot. It wasn’t easy to deal with, and as a result I had to ask for assistance with things I had thought little of prior to that day. People had to actually come help me remove the boot and stocking so I could shower, and then reverse the process when I was done. I also had to do physical therapy, which required someone to remove the boot but not the stocking.
But the biggest change was having to spend the majority of that summer in a wheelchair. Needless to say I couldn’t go far, which lead to some boredom at times.
But Gillie plus boredom can sometimes lead to awesome.
I lived in the not-so-great wide yonder of suburbia at the time, and with few options that didn’t require some kind of accessible vehicle or the same amount of planning as a royal wedding, I decided to teach myself to roll down the streets to the local strip mall.
Figuring It Out
Thankfully I lived in an accessible home, so my first step required simply rolling up to the door at a good speed so I could go over the lip to the outside. Next I would roll on down my driveway and then use the accessible section of sidewalk until I had to maneuver to a hillier section. To avoid going out of control, I would use my uninjured foot as a slowing mechanism. Closer to the strip mall there was a rather angry incline that took a lot of strength, and sometimes even help. When finished at the strip mall I would either have the shop assistant put the bag with my purchases on the back of my chair or set it on my lap. Then my homeward adventure down the angry hill would begin once more.
Angels Around Me
During this experience I lived six weeks in the life of a wheelchair user, which meant having to actually think about stuff I’d only heard from people who were wheelchair users E.G. considerations of doors, ramps, and smooth versus bumpy ground. I also learned that there were people who didn’t mind helping in a pinch. Mr. Patel, a convenience store owner, went out of his way and out from behind the counter to help me in through the narrow door. There was also an Indian restaurant in my old neighborhood where the staff would bring my food out to me on the sidewalk.
My mom was a little upset with me not asking for more help, but my sister was rather proud that I took the initiative to figure something like this out.
I was eventually allowed to walk again, and regained my ability to dance around six months after my accident. I do get occasional pain, but it’s not overly bad. Most days it feels like I never injured it.