Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Really? You Have To Ask?

Image description: Two heavy looking stands with cordon strung between them
I went down to the clinic to have my blood drawn as per a request from my doctor, routine stuff. I was tense all the way down because I knew that it would be a difficult process. I'm not, shall we say, a 'single poke.'

The clinic is in an old building which has been made accessible as an afterthought. An afterthought that I'm grateful for, don't get me wrong. The elevator door is just wide enough for me to back into, but it takes great concentration. So I arrived, tense from worry and a little tired from negotiating the pathway there. I turn into the clinic and for some reason they've set up this little barrier, you know those poles that have the extendable cordons, to separate one reception area from the other. It's wierd because they are right beside each other an need no additional markings to be clear.

The barrier though makes it too narrow for me to make a clean turn into the clinic. I go in, as I always do, and am immediately stuck. I wasn't expecting it. It had never been there before. But I was stuck. I reach forward to move one of the barriers and it's really, really heavy and I can't shift it. People help in the way they can, they watch. And tut. Joe is behind me and can't get in. I'm now panicking. I need to shift the damn barrier or make it possible for Joe to get in. The barrier won't move. People help in the way they can by, now, watching with keen interest.

I turn the chair and launch into the corner giving Joe just enough room to get in. He too has trouble moving the barrier, they are really heavy. Now there is room but, shit, I'm in an awkward position and it's going to take several moves to get into the reception area. The receptionists too, are helping by watching and motioning to each other what the problem is. There is a fellow waiting to come into the clinic as well. His patience, never fat, grows thin quickly. He huffs his exasperation at not getting in quickly. He too has seen but he doesn't see a person in an awkward situation created by a needless barrier, he sees an object causing him, in all his important self, to wait.

Finally, I'm in. Finally, I'm at the desk.

The clerk taking my paperwork, who had watched the whole debacle of my entrance said, "So how's your day going?"


Freaking really?


Glee said...

I'm gonna say this straight. You spend your time helping other people be assertive about their rights. You do great work. SO it's about time you starting asserting your rights. Like this. If it were me in that exact same situation I would've got to the barrier. Stopped and used my big voice to say "excuse me, you will need to come here and remove this barrier. I cannot get in. You are making it inaccessible." and repeat if needed in an even bigger voice. Stopped the whole waiting room and everyone behind the desk, in their tracks.

And then when that had been done I would speak more to them at the desk and explain to them that they are breaking the law. And not only for me but for parents with pushers or elderly people on walkers et-bloody-cetera. And to please remove forever the barrier.

A lotta people will witness that. And some of them will learn a good thing and remember it in a useful way. A some of them will just reinforce their own prejudice a bit more. such is life. but the ones who get it are new jewels to shine the light.

We just gotta get loud. And not care. And not shame ourselves. which makes me think of this blog post http://dulcimerdude.com/blog/2016/03/18/self-esteem-societys-problem-not-mine/

But anyway. I've had more years of it than you so am SO over it I just fucking shout these days. Not all of the time but certainly at a ridiculous situation like that you found yourself in.

What did you answer to that Question "So how's your day going?" Dave?

szera said...

My Irish cannot conjure anything close to politically correct, let alone polite in response! "Just another day in paradise" 😒

Unknown said...

Being a 'patient' has an inherent power differential in it - that begins to influence us before me even before I enter the building, and lasts until I am partway home again. It's there even if it is only a trip to the lab, or a followup appt. when I know all is well, don't have to be examined, etc. It's the nature of the relationship - I am dependent on others, the level of potential threat (as I perceive it) is higher, the risk of being blamed for my own health issues or shamed for my choices - is always there. And I don't have a visible disability. So, I get it that it is very hard and often not possible to use your advocate voice, Dave. I hope that the shame spiral that can happen after an event like this is over, or didn't happen. Even proud warriors get tired sometimes. Clairesmum

Jeannette said...

What Glee said. I agree. (On the other hand, would I have the nerve? I dunno. Maybe, if I were going through caffeine withdrawal because I hadn't had my coffee, in which case I probably could start World War III all by myself.)

Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt said...

When in two seconds those people could have organized and removed the barrier - the watchers - if they had one soupcon of sense among them.


Next time make like a general. Ask the impatient guy behind you - Waiting to get in? When he says yes, say, Okay you pull here, Joe will pull there, and you (point to appropriate person in the background), Either get building security or lends us a hand.

Some well intentioned people need instructions; others will help just to get rid of you.

Then raise hell with the receptionists - you are going to be a spokesperson anyway, and you will help people who can't or won't speak for themselves.

You are ENTITLED to proper medical care. That includes access. Whether they like it or not.

I will do the same next time I have to. Promise.

Louise said...

Awful situation. But I did laugh because I saw the pic first as two penises with a spark between them...... ;-)