Handicapped? Do you need help?

A neighbor asked me to take her to the doctor early in the morning, just a quick trip. It wouldn’t take long.

At the cardiologist there was a front door and back one for patients, depending on what the person was coming for. Miss Jane didn’t know because her battery phone was dead and she had no minutes, so she couldn’t call and no one could call her to give her information.

I parked illegally, ran in and asked. I was at the wrong entrance.

There is no handicapped parking or ramp at the other door. There is also one little step. I parked illegally again, helped Miss Jane inside and then parked legally.

In the waiting room of the heart doctor, all the patients were gray-haired, bent over people who were trying to maneuver a walker or wheelchair over the “little step” at the front door. I tried to help.

An hour later, I walked out of the cardiologist, walked to my car and drove as close to the door to help Miss Jane in the car over that “nasty one step.”

Then I took her where she bought the phone a few weeks ago. The lady had told us to come every month for service. I parked illegally because there’s no handicapped at all. This time I maneuvered Miss Jane up and over two steps and went back to park legally.

The men took her phone. “You have to go to X place to get more minutes. This is a track phone.”

I said, “We’ll go there.” I wanted to say I’m not deaf and heard the lady tell us to come here.

Miss Jane who is deaf said, “I heard the girl tell me to come here.”

No help there, so we gave up. I drove to X place but they’re sold out. We go to Y. Once again I parked illegally because handicapped parking is too far for Miss Jane. There are two steps and no ramp. I found the aisle and the track phone cards, “This is the one you need.”

The worker yelled, “I keep the cards at the cash register, I’ll give you the right one there.”

Miss Jane pays and asks him, “Can you put it in for me?” He nods and scowls. “This is a track phone, you bought the wrong card. I’ll refund your money.”

We drive to Z. No handicapped parking nearby but only one step for Miss Jane.

Twenty minutes later, the clerk said, “I cannot put minutes in because your battery is dead.”

We give up again.

I drive her to the pharmacy to get her new prescriptions. One big step up from a handicapped parking place. More walking.

Her new prescriptions aren’t ready, but she has older ones for pickup. I’m confused. I drove her last week to collect all her meds, but we must come back again.

Before we leave the pharmacy, she says, “I’ll get my corn meal here.”

“They don’t sell it here, but I’ll drive you to Bi-lo”

She’s happy. “I can walk around in there and see everything I need.”

I took her grocery shopping last week. My car was so full it was hard to get her walker in.

Having parked illegally and helping her in and out and then parking legally and reversing the process at each stop, I have by then lost track of the times I’ve jumped in and out of the car and re-parked.

Hours later, she gave me a giant red heart box of assorted chocolates. I don’t eat assorted chocolates. They’re too sweet. I eat plain, dark chocolate.

I gave her a big hug, thanked her and explained. She kept the chocolates.

I lost three pounds.

Lessons learned.

  1. If an older person asks for help, schedule the whole day.
  2. Take your phone to call and ask about doors, (If I can’t remember to charge my own phone and I’m twenty years younger than Miss Jane then how do older folks remember?) And right now I don’t have a phone.
  3. Start lining up people today to help you when you’re 85, can’t drive, and are handicapped. Poor Miss Jane has no family.
  4. Think of your Good Samaritan role as an adventure.
  5. If you’re driving a handicapped person, try to figure out how to help that person get a handicapped sticker, so you can park a little closer, but remember there will always be steps and distance to walk even with handicapped accessibility.

Does anyone else have any other suggestions that would help me?



About celestecharlene

I served as a medical missionary in West Africa for thirty years treating the sick and establishing health clinics in rural neglected areas.
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