An ever present difficulty I encounter is having to ask any Carer to do anything ‘ practical’. That’s essentially anything at all which involves the use of a tool.
Tools include screwdrivers, spanners, scissors, files… well you name it really. Anything metal that you have to use with your hand. Before my injury happened I didn’t have any concept of how widespread this ‘ problem’ is. It does explain how the handyman job is alive and well, and definitely won’t ever become a redundant post.
Because I am in a ‘ vehicle’ ( wheelchair ) ALL of the time ( except for when I’m in a mechanical bed, or in an electrical hoist , I can’t really pretend it’s not a constant concern. The nature of wheelchairs is that regular tweaking to the moving parts is a given, and is unavoidable.
When you are actually IN the chair then you can’t be doing anything to it at the time, so often I have to explain to someone else what needs doing. But it’s just scary how even otherwise intelligent people can just go to pieces when asked to turn a screw or a bolt, using a tool.
Invariably the thing I’m hoping someone can help me with is actually incredibly straightforward, and involves one bolt or one screw, but Lordy it can get ( nearly always gets ) extremely fraught.
As I don’t have a choice. When something breaks, or may break unless it’s attended to, I CANNOT just leave it. If I don’t have brakes, or my tyre is flat, or my wheel may come off, it’s not an option to just ignore it. Well think about it… it’s not!
I really do hate asking people who I know will go to pieces to help me, but sometimes I have no choice. It’s not as though there are loads of practical people wandering around in my flat. Today I was honestly very close to tears. When you just run out of ways to explain something really simple, and you get nowhere, and no it’s not changing a gearbox or servicing a bottom bracket, it’s just tightening a bolt, then I really don’t know what to do.
And the thing is, whilst the person I’m paying to help me is allowed to get upset with me, it’s seems I’m absolutely NOT allowed to express the slightest amount of emotion to them. Well that’s more than quite difficult. I mean if you saw someone feeding your baby, for example, and they repeatedly poked the spoon into your baby’s eye rather than into its mouth, well it probably wouldn’t be long before you said anything, and your words would almost certainly be laced with ‘ feeling’. Yes, it’s just a tad annoying even, isn’t it? When someone surprises you with an inability to do something really obvious, it can actually be mind blowing’ly frustrating…but I’m not allowed to show it, no matter how long it goes on for, because then… I’m the angry and ungrateful wheelchair man, rather than the chap who really really desperately hoped you can help him, and is paying you to do so too.
And that, dear reader, is my lifelong curse. 🙂
PS As if to illustrate this point perfectly, just after I’d written this, I had to leave a building. There was a lady in the atrium stood near the exit door. I said ‘ excuse me but would you mind opening the door for me ?’
She looked at me, nervously, and said ( and wait for it ) ‘ how do I do it ?’
I said ‘ well you turn the door handle and pull …’
I think it’s just a thing that overcomes otherwise sane human beings when they see a wheelchair user? It’s definitely nothing I’m doing, I can assure you!