Sunday, January 20, 2008

Going Up? Not Today

I am afraid of heights.

Seriously afraid.

So last Tuesday on discovering that the elevator at work had broken down, I had to face going down the stairs under my own steam. I asked one of my co-workers to go and get Joe, who was waiting in the car for me to emerge from the building. He came in and up and together we slowly made it down the stairs. I held on to his shoulder (thank heavens I met someone with broad shoulders) with one hand, grasped the hand rail with the other and slowly took a step down. My disability leaves me with very little feeling in my feet. It's very easy to go off balance and very easy to fall. The long stairway, the feeling of vertigo combined with a lost of equillibrium, made the climb down no less an accomplishment than climbing up Everest.

On Wednesday I had to work from home because the elevator had yet to be fixed and while climbing down was difficult, climbing up is impossible. Now, I like an unexpected day at home as much as the next person. I loved 'snow days' as a kid and I love them even more as an adult. But part of the love of 'snow day' is that there is a universal 'we're all in this together' feeling that comes with them.

'Elevator Day' didn't have the same feeling. At all. I was home. Everyone else was at work. I needed the elevator. They could use the stairs. I had a disability. They didn't. Normally it doesn't matter, but Wednesday it did. And the day didn't feel like a 'SURPRISE' you get to work at home - it felt like isolation. It felt like 'difference'.

At least it did until about 9:15, when my cell phone rang. My cell will ring here at home, but there isn't a strong enough signal to actually have a conversation. We could see the number that called, could see that it was someone from Vita. I called the office and Anita was able to tell me that Jon had called, she put me through. A few mintues later, after discussing what needed to be done with his powerpoint presentation, Jon sent me the data he'd been working on. Now I'm pouring through numbers and checking out his figures. A few phone calls later and that was all put to rest.

Then Rose and I had to talk about the outgoing email to all staff. There were issues with formatting and issues with presentation of the material. Rose had suggestions, I had comments. It took a little while but it got done. Then in my email box was a request from Manuela for something she wanted me to write and a few seconds later we were on the phone going over a request and figuring out how I could contribute to what was needed.

Banging on the computer here doing what I would do there. Talking to people here as if they were there, the sense of isolation managed to ease itself. Somehow I knew that people were being purposeful in keeping me in the loop and up to speed with what was going on in the office and my contribution was still sought, even though I wasn't there. I even got copied in on the emails about the elevator repair and what was going on with that.

Though no one said a word, all day, about the elevator, about my working at home because I couldn't climb stairs - there seemed to be a diligence in ensuring that 'disabled' didn't mean 'disconnected' - and while I don't feel grateful for the consideration, I'm certainly thankful.


Joyful Fox said...

Hi Dave,
I'm new to your blog. I first visited because of Brent Martin and how it affected me.

I first met you years ago, in Stouffville at a staff meeting at Raylene's home -Uxbridge (a staff meeting for Christian Horizons).It was memorable for me. I rememer Raylene was being grouchy and you said, "'re a grumpy gus today."

You said those words with acceptance. I was touched. I never forgot you.

I've heard you speak on various topics on disability. I worked for 10 years as a manager at Christian Horizons under Belinda.

She was the one who introduced me to your site.

Thank you.

One question that is irking me, compelling me to ask.

What time do you get up in the morning. I look at your post times. Wow!

I am an early riser. But 4:18 a.m. Wow!
I've only read 10 or so of your posts but the time is

Just curious and I'm smiling...
Gotta know...

Dave Hingsburger said...

Joyful, I can't leave you in a state of irk so I felt I must answer your question. I get up, usually, around 4 in the morning. I like early mornings but the trade off is that I go to bed very early, usually at 8 and read for an hour and lights out at 9. By the by, I remember that group home with great fondness - that was a very very long time ago now.

Yatseq said...

I haven't read your blog for a week. Very busy, annoying difficult week. On Tuesday I am having a job interview in organization providing advocacy services for people with LD. I am not prepared. I haven't got a word for my presentation, I am thinking about giving up. But one day left. I will read the unread posts from your blog and I am sure I will feel again why I applied for the job - as after the last week everything seems to be blured. Thank you for being so reliable Dave. All the best - I'm starting to read now

Joyful Fox said...

Hi Dave, bedtime for you.

Yes, after I wrote the comment on your blog, I was trying to remember how long...just over 20 years didn't seem that long when I initially wrote the comment.

Dave...thanks for responding.

I like the "by the by" has the flavour of the Newfoundland hospitality and ease...

I can't help but remember something my Dad always used to say. I think it was a quote from Benjamin Franklin,

"Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise."

Thanks for the inspiration.

Here's to a prayer that the elevator is working for you tomorrow...perhaps the "elevator day" thing is old now.

It's odd...this world wide web thing...I feel like an uninvited guest if I just drop into a blog without introducing myself or saying 'hello'. It's like walking in to someone's life and they may not even know your there. I still can't do that...feel like I'm intruding that I've introduced myself, and you've acknowledged my presence, is it o.k. to visit again?

...o.k so I'm fairly fresh at getting caught in the web.

Bye for now.

Anonymous said...

I too, hope the elevator is working for you tomorrow.I'm sure your workmates missed you, as I would miss your blog ,if you took a break big or small.From p.t.