It’s alarming what both have told me about some of the differences they experience when they’re in their chairs versus on crutches or canes. And while I am certainly not comparing my injury- and rehab-time to their situation, I can totally understand when they complain about the people around them. I’ve been there and, as a result of back injuries, find myself at times unsteady on my feet.
It’s astounding how unconscious people are. I’ve been with these friends in crowds, or even when we are just maneuvering down a street. When they are using their crutches or canes, they are terrified about being around other people. They don’t have much balance to begin with so the slightest bump can send them reeling. I know because I’ve been next to them. When we’re walking together, I often feel like a blocking back opening a hole in the defense. I’ve practically smashed into people walking briskly right at us who seem to have absolutely no regard for who’s in front of them. And I’m not just talking about people on their cell phones.
I have seen people crash into us; I’ve seen people almost knock my friends over; I’ve seen people stop short or crashing and then, almost incredulously, give them an evil stare as if to say, “How dare you impede my forward progress!”
There are so many times that there are people in need, those with clear signs of difficulty like people using canes, crutches, and wheelchairs. But there are also those with an infirmity that no one notices who may need a little assistance. Seniors especially are vulnerable. Many have mobility issues, others don’t see or hear well. And their balance, even if they’re not using a cane or walker, is less stable.
Really, folks, we all need to slow down, look around, and be much more aware of those who might need a little assistance or move a bit more gingerly. It’s not asking much – I’m not even asking that you stop doing what you’re doing to help. Often there’s no help needed. Maybe just a bit more patience. I’m just sayin’.