Wednesday, December 06, 2017

The Door

He was at a door that had swung shut behind him effectively locking him out. The door had a push bar on the inside which would have allowed anyone to help. The trouble is the anyone was me. I couldn't get to him. The stockroom was full of boxes and barriers which made it completely impossible for me to find a pathway to him. I was sitting in my wheelchair as he was gesturing, with increasing anger, for me to come and open the door.

I pointed to my chair and then to the blocked passageway. He didn't care he wanted me to come and let him it. It was cold. It was damp. There was no one around but I knew that some other employees were in the area somewhere. I had started loudly calling for someone to come and help. No one came. The area must have been fairly well soundproofed.

Now he's outright angry, furious that I wasn't coming to let him in. I felt horrible. I began to look if I could move or shift things to make a passageway. I tried but it was impossible, and even slightly dangerous, I didn't want stuff falling all over me.

Finally I heard the voice in the distance of the person that had brought me here to wait for them to try to find something for me. I shouted as loud as I could for "HELP!" He came running to see what was wrong and immediately saw his angry co-worked stuck outside behind a locked door. He immediately went to rescue him.

The door opened but the anger did not subside. He stormed passed me as I tried apologize and explain, because somehow I thought it needed explanation, that it wasn't clear, that I couldn't get to him because the pathway was blocked. He didn't even look at me, he just made a gesture brushing all what I was saying away.

I was left really upset.

I wanted to help him but couldn't. That is one of the most difficult feelings I have as a disabled person. Sometimes I'm in situations where someone needs something that I can't give. In an emergency I'm the one who needs not the one who helps. That's an ugly feeling. I would have loved to help. But boxes and barriers kept me for being able to. My ability to help, the thing that I really try to do, was compromised.

I don't know if he thought I could magically jump out of my chair and come and help. I don't know if he thought I was lazy. I don't know.

But I am disabled.

And I couldn't help.

I should be able to let this go but I'm having real trouble with it. What he needed was simple. So simple a child could do it. But I was not able to do even the smallest thing.

I hate this feeling.

Deep down I have to ensure that this feeling doesn't translate into anything more that it is. And that will be my work for the next several weeks.

6 comments:

clairesmum said...

You did the best thing you could do with what you had available - your good loud voice!
Expecting yourself to be able to do more than you could with the resources you had on hand is a way of 'shoulding' on yourself.

I struggle hard with this - the idea that I can be super-perfect if only I try just a little bit harder.....and the corollary that if I fail then it is my own fault for not trying hard enough.

It is a way of emotionally abusing myself, berating myself for failure in a situation where I did the best I could at the moment.
It's hard to stop, that ashamed misery still feels like where I belong....sometimes.
I hope this pain passes away soon, Dave.

Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt said...

Sorry, but even though you think you didn't help, it would probably have been a lot longer before someone found him if you hadn't been there, if you hadn't yelled.

In this kind of situations, many ABLE people freeze and don't do what they could, NOT even yell.

YOU tried. Eventually you would have gone back out the way you came in to find another person to help. Or the guy could have walked around the building to go in another door (assuming he wasn't in a closed outdoor courtyard or something).

He was made uncomfortable for a while by his own mistake, he's angry at himself, he knows perfectly well you can't get to the door, and he takes it out on someone else, anyone else, instead of accepting that he locked himself out. He actually needs to come over and apologize to you.

Jenni said...

Other people might have had the physical capacity to get over the obstacle-course to the door unaided, but would they have noticed him there? Would they have laughed and walked away? Instead, in spite of the obstacles put in your way by his aggressive behaviour and his employer, you helped. In the face of so many reasons not to, you helped. Not many people go out of their way to help rude strangers, but you did.

All the things you do in your work, the way you support your friends and loved ones, you help and your help is the help they need and the help that no-one else could have given.
You helped me a lot just through your blog, for which I'm very grateful.

So when you think of the dick locked out who you got rescued and you feel down about it, maybe try to balance that by also thinking of me - coping with my life, work, studies and disability in part because your blog showed me it was possible to be successful as a disabled person when I didn't know anyone who was managing that. Thank you Dave.

Shannon said...

Sometimes our disabilities don't allow us to do something at all no matter how much we want to and it's a really frustrating feeling and hard to let go of.

Carol Landaverde said...

Dave you did what you could and as everyone else is pointing out he would have been worse off without you.
His not understanding your limits is not your issue. His being angry was also not your issue. His being rude is hurtful and may be your issue if you choose it to be. I guess my question is why are you so bothered by it.

Purpletta said...

Dave, my heart hurts reading your words. The language you use is so similar to some of the things I say to myself. This though is what I can tell you with absolute certainty:
You are an incredible human being. This has nothing to do with having a disability or not having a disability, reaching a door or not reaching a door. It is because of something far deeper - it is your heart and your love that you share with human kind. You do so much to make life better for so many people, Dave. I look at so many of the things you do & I wonder if I can have such a positive impact on even just a few people, in the way you do for an infinite number.
To tie back to another post, I have to say that from where I sit the Son doesn't turn His head from you... He is reflected through you so clearly Dave. In who you are and what you do each and every day. You bring Him to so many of us...so He must be with you :)
Similar to Jenni above I have to tell you that the impact you have had on my life, through one training probably two decades ago now (oh my! time flies) and through your blog, is tremendous. A while back I went through a particularly dark time & your words each morning brought me focus and peace; your blog... you... were a huge part of what kept me okay those days and weeks. In an emergency Dave we all need help. But in my emergency you were there and you helped.
I hope this man in the back room of the store takes some time to think and realizes how wrong he was to treat you with the disrespect he showed - and maybe just maybe he'll see that the way this room was set up was the true problem & consider addressing the accessibility of that area, and the store in general.
In the meantime I hope that you are gentle with yourself. When you look in the mirror I hope the reflection you see is the extraordinary human being we know as Dave, the person for whom we are so grateful. And that you can see too the reflection of the Him in you.
With appreciation & respect,
Purpletta