C’est la vie (or rather, life with ADA compliance)

At the beginning of April my husband was hit by a car while he was crossing the street in a crosswalk.
It shattered his left leg and left him with fractures throughout his body.
On top of 6 months of unemployment, it was utterly devastating.
We’ve not had insurance. We’ve not had income. We had hunkered down hoping a job would come soon but with the injuries and his subsequent inability to even search for a job (much less interview) we were out of options and out of time.

We’ve fallen and we’ve fallen far and hard from a life in which we used to enjoy financial freedom and security.
To all appearances we look fine, but we’ve been hurting and strategizing and searching.

Finally, my husband has found a job. Thank goodness. We’re all relieved. However, we have new challenges to face: the job is in Tucson, he starts next week, we don’t have a place to live, and I have no idea how we’re going to pull this off.
Oh, and to top it off, he still can’t walk.

I’ve had a crash course in living life with a disability and navigating getting around the “letter” of ADA law versus the “spirit” of ADA law.
What does that mean? It means that many places will say they’re ADA compliant- and technically they are- but they still aren’t easily or even readily navigable when you’re not-able-bodied.
I feel humbled: I’ve just learned what I’m sure every single differently-abled person has known their entire lives. I will never look at a handicapped parking space or a ramp or even a good ol’ doorway the same way ever again.
My husband has had to learn to use a wheelchair. He has had to learn how to use a toilet (which he still can’t functionally do), how to get dressed, take a shower, get in and out of our house (who knew that “small” lip in our doorway could be so intimidating?), get in and out of a car, and more. Suddenly the stairs in our house felt like Mount Everest. I remember a doctor asking us, “Do you have a bathroom downstairs? Well, can he shower outside in the back yard?” To which I replied (after my initial internal “AYFKM?”) no, we live in a townhouse with a very tiny and very exposed patio. “Oh. Perhaps he can go over to a friend’s house.”
That was when I mentally checked out of that conversation. My husband wasn’t at the time even cleared to get into a vehicle and she was suggesting I pack husband, wheelchair + his other necessary accessories (walker, shower bench, stool, leg immobilizer), and small children up so that we can impose on someone else? I won’t even go into how uncomfortable it would feel to show up at someone’s house just to shower.

I will never look at a handicapped parking space or a ramp or even a good ol’ doorway the same way ever again.

Life has required so many adjustments. There have been so many seemingly ‘little’ things that just pile up. How do I explain to people what any of this is like? How do I explain just how monumental even seemingly benign mundane tasks are?
I don’t. I really can’t. And it doesn’t matter.
I just keep putting one foot in front of the other.

We’re not without a few lovely moments, though: bike rides with my Big Girl and Babs, family horsey time with the girls, silly ‘dress up’ photo ops with Chroi.

It is SO good to get out!
Sparkly clean Unicorn
“Do these colors make me look good?” Goofing around with colorful tack and a saddle I borrowed from a friend, that obviously doesn’t fit Chroi but served well enough for a quick ride. 

Categories: Living YES

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