My Dad stopped driving about 2 months ago. Around the same time, we finally bit the bullet and got him a handicap placard for his car. Since he lives with me, I am usually the one to drive him around to appointments and errands (although I must give my husband and eldest son a shout-out. They are awesome about driving him as well!).
Since I've been driving him, I've noticed the extreme shortage of handicap parking! I suppose that's subjective. I mean, according to people at Triplet Connection there is way too much handicap parking and the people that use it are perfectly capable....right? And I admit it's possible that since the greater portion of places we go are geared towards people who are more likely to be disabled - the Internist, the Radiation Oncologist, etc. -- it makes sense that it's harder to find a handicap space. But I've been noticing the same problem at Wal-Mart or Rouses' or the mall.
I'm not accusing anyone of using spaces they don't need. I'm sure those are there, but I also know there are those needing them who don't look like our idea of disabled. In fact, I consider that we don't really NEED those spaces at all. I can park way out in the lot and push Dad's chair as far as I need to. In fact, that's what I do when there are no spaces available or some yokel has parked halfway into the remaining one so that I would not be able to open the door and let Dad out. No problem - unless it's raining, so I need to remember to pack a poncho for Dad, note to self. Then again we are in the middle of a drought so that hasn't been a problem either!
Or I can stop out front, unload Dad and the chair, push them inside the building, and then go park the car. Depending on where we are, I choose which to do, no problem.
It was just interesting to me to note how few spaces there actually seem to be when you're looking for one. Before I needed one, I would have also said there seem to be plenty to go around. But now I say that Dad's lucky he doesn't have to drive himself anymore.
The other thing I've noticed is the lack of other handicap considerations. Now I am talking about the places you expect to find disabled people. The oncologist, for example, is located in an older building in town. Sure, they fixed it all up with ramps and stuff, but the door is an old fashioned, heavy double door. You can barely fit a wheelchair through one half of the door, but it's physically impossible to open both sides at one time. It opens out, which is nice if you're GOING out but for going in, not so much. Luckily I built up my mad door skillz by operating a Quad Runabout stroller full of 85+ pounds of wiggly babies for all those years.
Luckily at Radiation there is one of those automatic door thingies. You know. You press a button and the door opens. If you can get there in time. Which is where those skillz come in handy again. Unfortunately they only thought of the button on the outer door. To get into the office you need the hip action again. So usually while Dad is in being zapped I sit by the door so I can hold it for people, because again Dad is the lucky one to have someone bringing him!
I guess all this is just stuff most people never notice because they don't have to. And hopefully, you never will.
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