On June 15th, I fell at my daughters home and ruptured my Achilles tendon. It has been quite a journey so far. I have not been able to put any pressure on my foot for the past 3.5 weeks. The crutches proved to be impossible so I was fortunate enough to get a scooter that I can place my knee on and scoot around. However, after about 40 minutes, I am DONE! Sitting at home gets really old, so I decided it was time to venture out. I choose Target as my first outing. My husband went in to make sure that they had an electric scooter available.
He brought the scooter out to me and I was off. My first thought was FREEDOM! I know that sounds crazy, but it had been three weeks since I was able to go anywhere alone and everything that I choose to do is a struggle. Something as simple as carrying a plate of food is a challenge. I began to think about what it must be like for people who have a lifelong disability. My injury will heal over time and I will walk again, but what about those who won't.
I have learned that simple things like going to the bathroom is a major problem. I need help and my husband couldn't go in the ladies room even if the chair would have fit. Thank goodness Target had a dual bathroom, but I am sure many places don't.
People were looking at me like I was just being lazy. If I were honest, I have had that thought in the past. (Never again!)
Several isles that I wanted to go down were blocked with boxes so I had to find my husband to get down those isles.
Then the thought crossed my mind, "What if my cell phone goes dead, or the battery on my electric cart goes dead?"
I've realized that I have to put thought into every choice that I make. Things that used to be simple are no longer and the challenges puts limits on my choices.
I will never see disability the same after this experience. Adults and children with disabilities are HEROS. They endure prejudice, obstacles, and challengies that we take for granted.
Hopefully, I can use my experience to help others understand the importance of ensuring that all environments are handicap ready so that everyone regardless of ability can feel the FREEDOM that I felt on my first outing.
Norma Honeycutt, Executive Director