Saturday, 13 December 2014

I Can, With A Little Help

The phrase "I can't" has long been one of my bugbears, a peeve of mine. People so often say "I can't" when they really mean "I won't". It's not that you can't do something, it's that you won't do what it takes to enable yourself to do something, most likely because either you don't want to pay the price of doing it or you are fearful of the outcome.

Lately, for me, "I can't" is becoming much more of a reality. There are now things I truly cannot do. Just as the rest of the world cannot leap tall buildings in a single bound, I cannot stand up. Just as the rest of the world cannot run faster than a speeding bullet, I cannot run at all. Compared to me, even the weakest of able bodied people has the power of Superman. I am reaching that stage where there are just too many things "I can't".

On the other hand, there are lots of things where "I can", even though on first blush it would appear as if "I can't". Last night is a good example. A group of us went to see the CP Holiday Train. I know, it should be the Christmas Train; welcome to a secular society. That, however, is not the point of this entry. That discussion can be safely stored away for another day. The real point is what happened after the CP Holiday Train, when we all went up to Jack Astor's Pub for a beer and snack.

One of my challenges in going to pubs is their use of high, bar tables with high bar stools or bar chairs. I got rid of my own small dining set because it had those kinds of chairs. I can't get up onto them, and even when I can I am sufficiently unstable that I worry about falling, especially off the bar stools which I was presented with when arriving at Jack Astor's. I looked at the stool and said to myself, I can't sit on that.

My options at that point were to sit with my chin on the table, trapped in my wheelchair, or to ask the whole group to move to a lower set of tables. The presented compromise was to put me at a low table down at the end while everyone else conversed, drank, and ate up at the "grown up table". I said no thanks to that, and was about ready to go home. Then I looked at the restaurant manager, a really big guy. I said to him "Can you lift me up onto one of the bar chairs, not a stool?" He said "Sure. That will be easy to do."

So over came a chair and I gave the manage guidance on how to lift me up safely. The bar stool came out and I was lifted onto the bar chair. The manager then slid me into place at the bar table. I was up with the rest, instead of going home and sulking. To hold my legs in place, I simply put on my leg strap, something I use at times when driving but more often when using a power shopping carts.

You see, I can't get up into the chair on my own, but I can if I ask for help. The real barrier there is not my disability, but my willingness to suffer the embarrassment of being lifted onto the chair in the full view of everyone in the restaurant. This time my desire to be one of the normal people beat out the embarrassment. There are lots of other things I can't do on my own, but can do with help. It's just the way it is these days.

By the way, getting down was easy. I just slid sideways and fell into my wheelchair. Gravity helps sometimes.

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