I don't typically notice my thumb.
This week, though, I have been thoroughly disabled for the first time in the year and a bit that I've been in the wheelchair. I don't know how it happened but I badly sprained my thumb. Suddenly, I'm immobile without help. I use my hands to push me about and can get from place to place easily and well.
Now I sit and wait while Joe runs into the store, or read the paper when he grabs lunch to bring it back to the car. I don't want him to have to push me everywhere, he's getting older too. So, I sit and mourn the loss of my thumb.
To look at me you'd think that I was disabled because of my legs but it's my thumb that brought me down.
Somehow this seems very important to me.
I can't tell you how many times, when doing assessments of others, that I haven't noticed the thumb. I can see the problem behaviour, that's easy. I can see the concern of those who care, that's even easier. But it's hard to see the thumb.
One guy I did a huge assessment on, had all sorts of ideas for why his behaviour had deteriorated. We investigated everything. He looked unwell, so he saw a doctor. He looked sad, so he saw a psychiatrist. Everyone had ideas. Everyone had plans.
So, after being called to his home to deal with yet another tantrum. Another outburst. I went and sat with him. Told him I didn't know what to do. How to help him.
"Change it back," he said. Crying.
"I'd change things back if only I could," I said, not understanding.
"But you can," he said, "everyone can but no one will."
I was lost.
"Can you show me what needs changed?"
He nodded and took me by the hand and led me to his room. I stood at the door and watched as he went in and turned on the radio. Rock music poured out. "Change it back. Please."
"You want your radio changed back?" I asked. He nodded.
Turns out we couldn't change it back. The station he listened to had changed formats and now, instead of country it played rock.
We found a country station.
We changed it back.
So did he.
I didn't notice the thumb.