Being a married couple with both of us with cerebral palsy, there are times when one needs to move aside to allow In someone more capable. And, sometimes that means one of us must go it alone.
Last Monday, when we called for an ambulance because Darrell’s pneumonia wasn’t getting any better on the antibiotics prescribed during the previous Thursday’s trip to the emergency room (ER), the paramedics essentially dismissed da wife on wheels. Only one of them stopped to ask if I’d be okay while the others wheeled away my husband and took the time to understand when I asked, “Which hospital?”
For two days in the ER, I was constantly moving out of the way because there was no room for my scooter. The closest I could get to my husband was the foot-end of the stretcher.
Even once he was moved to a room, there were IV stands, bed tables and curtains to contend with. The only physical contact I had with my husband for the first few days was to rub his feet, which he hates, but it was the only body parts I could reach.
Yet, like any loving and concerned wife, I have made the 9 or 10-block trek on Surrey’s sucky sidewalks, hoping this hospital escapade doesn’t kill this scooter like it did last year, every day except for the day prior to my WordCamp presentation.
Today, on my trek up, I was thinking that if a nurse could be present, as required, while Darrell transferred from the bed into his power wheelchair, then we could downstairs to the cafeteria for a frozen cappuccino or, at least, go outside for some fresh air. I figured this was something we could do together as husband and wife, with minimal effort.
Once Darrell was safely in his chair, he informed the nurse that we were going down to the cafeteria. She flipped!
“No, you must go with a relative.”
“She’s my wife.”
“No, wait for your parents. What if something happens? She is incapable. You’d have go down in the elevator. No. Stay on this floor. Wheel around in the halls.“
WTF? Incapable? Of using the elevator? What could happen to Darrell, strapped into his chair? We’re only going to the cafeteria, for pete’s sake! Besides, I know how to yell for help if I need to!
Without knowing anything about me, except that I use a scooter and that she can’t understand my speech, she, a professional trained and caring nurse, labeled me incapable. She has no clue what I am capable of or how Darrell and I work together as husband and wife. She has no clue about the adventures we have been on or the trips we’ve made. I didn’t see taking the elevator down one floor as an insurmountable excursion!
When I took my marriage vows, no where did I say “…only if others deem me capable…”. Loving my husband means not putting him (or me) at risk, particularly while he is still in hospital recovering from pneumonia. If I didn’t think he could stay upright while driving his chair a few hundred feet and then suck back something other than water or apple juice, I would not have suggested such a risky proposition!
For today, we were good disabled people and didn’t go out of bounds. Tomorrow, Darrell’s mommy and daddy will hold his hands while we go downstairs. That will make the nurse happy…then Darrell and I will make a run for it!If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a cafe mocha. Thanks kindly.