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.