I woke up this morning, after a restless night of nerves and muscles screaming at me, thinking what a luxury it would be if I could just stand up and WALK to the bathroom. The luxury of easy bathroom access. When you're able bodied you don't give it much thought. If you gotta go, you just go. When you're in a wheelchair it's a major production. If you gotta go, you gotta think about how you're gonna get there first! If your wheelchair doesn't fit through the door or the doctor has given you diuretics for your blood pressure you can be in big trouble unless you time things just right; and on diuretics you have to really time it, seconds count.
It was a bathroom stop that started all this slow decline in the first place. I could walk, dance, play ............. THEN I went to the bathroom. I sat down and my knee popped. I didn't give it much thought, my legs often pop and ping for unknown reasons. When I went to stand up I didn't have a knee on that side of my body and I listed over to the right so far that I fell flat, splat all over the bathroom floor. That's where my man friend found me. Not much dignity being found splayed all over the bathroom floor. Thank goodness the bathroom was scrubbed and sparkling. Would have been horrible to have to scrub and disinfect before I yelled for help.
The other day a female friend and I went to the local Target. Generally they have nice accommodations for wheelchair users. I watched a group of females walk through the swinging door and disappear inside. I gamely followed. All of a sudden one of God's avenging angels came out of nowhere, threw open the door and screamed at the women inside, " HEADS UP! A WHEELCHAIR'S COMING TO PEE!" She startled me so much I almost needed her to call for housekeeping. Can't you hear her yelling? "HEADS UP, A WHEELCHAIR JUST PEED!"
Once a group of us went to the mall. Men and women both found restrooms within easy distance. We searched all over the place to find a restroom that had one of those little stick figures sitting on a wheel on the door. We finally found one way at the other end of the mall. And when I went in there it was one of those tight little places that are put together just enough to accommodate the law that says they have to have one for the stick figure people too. It was so tight that I had to get out of my wheelchair to get in the stall and then the stall didn't have hand rails, so I had to inch my way along the sides of the stall and hope that I didn't wet my pants before I could get turned around enough to attempt to sit down. I finally got situated just right and was about to sit down when the back of my knee bumped the portable potty extender that they had put on the seat. The extender slipped off the toilet, landed on the floor, and bounced outside the stall. I had to inch my way back to my wheelchair and get out of there, hoping that I had the strength of character to extend the search for a department store that could handle a wheelchair.
I have a least a dozen stories about using public restrooms while in a wheelchair, but that's not why I'm writing today. I just wanted to say 'If You Gotta Go, You Gotta Go', and the damn wheelchair makes going so complicated!