More Adventures in Commuting (while disabled)

No one has ever felt stupider than I did last night.  Possibly some adolescents have felt sulkier than I did last night. Possibly. (But alls well that ends well, silver linings, blah blah sunshine and rainbows) Yesterday was my first time commuting entirely on my own. I drove myself to the MARC station, got my scooter out of the trunk and put my crutches in, and scooted to the platform. There is 1 handicap ramp and it’s not particularly accessible to the half of the lot that I use, but there is a sidewalk on my half that is basically a ramp, so I used it. It is not graded for wheelchairs and the like, though, so it was a bit difficult. Not terrible, not great. Got on the train with my scooter (picked it up over the gap), found a space behind some seats in the handicapped section of the car, stood with some weight on the scooter for the 30 minute ride, got off as easily as I got on.

Being in a crowd while on crutches sucks. Being in a crowd while on a knee scooter also sucks. No one bothers to look around (or, in many cases, away from their phone at all, so don’t even look in front of themselves) and they smack into you and cut you off ALL THE TIME. Some do apologize, which is fine and all but it would be better to, you know, NOT ALMOST KNOCK ME OVER. To be fair, a lot of people are super willing to offer assistance if I appear to be struggling in the slightest (I assume as much because I’m in everyone’s way as to be nice, but still, not holding everyone up would be nice for me anyway) but plenty of people are jerks. Got on and off the metro train without issues. The Judiciary Square metro station elevators are like 75% slower than the Union station elevators, which is annoying but not the end of the world.

Once I was out of the station I got lots of stares and also some glares (presumably from people who couldn’t yet see my leg and thought I was just scootering for fun…probably got stares and glares in the stations, too, but I didn’t notice until I was out). DC is clearly not made for the physically disabled and not interested in becoming more accessible. The only ramp for the cross walk I usually take is the driveway-ramp for utility vehicles (to trim the trees and change the lights etc at the metro station/law enforcement memorial which-sidenote: whose idea was it to combine those things? who wants a ton of commuters interrupting their solemn ceremonies? dumb dumb dumb.) and naturally the end was like an inch and a half higher than the street, which immediately starts rising again, so it’s really easy to get stuck there. (I imagine wheelchairs with their small wheels in front  also have this issue) and it’s exactly the same across the street (and these don’t even dump into the crosswalk so in order to avoid technical jaywalking you gotta go along the length of the street for 5 or 6 feet to get to the crosswalk, then go back on the other side to get to that ramp)…the sidewalk over there through the park is all loose brick, which, no fun to roll over. Then when you get to the real sidewalk handicap access ramp to cross the street out of the park there, they have these bumpy tiles so that visually impaired pedestrians know when they have gotten to the street and should stop. Only they also make rolling terrible, and though going into the street isn’t TOO bad, getting OUT of the street is always hella hard. Then you get some sidewalks with damage and like 4 different surfaces of varying heights. Then at 6th and D there’s a 2 inch wide crack in the street right at the sidewalk ramp, which requires lifting the knee scooter over to get out of the street (I can’t imagine how a wheelchair would handle it–this morning I went a different route in so I could avoid it)

All that was survivable. I got in on time (early, technically, but we have a 4 minute grace period before and after the time we’re supposed to start, and I like to consider 4 minutes before my start time as my start time) and work was fine. Toward the end of the day my knee was hurting but nothing terrible. A lot of people who had never spoken to me before spoke to me to ask what happened, which I find notable but not annoying. (I’m sure it would be more annoying if it was a permanent disability.) Lots of people offered to get doors for me. Many did not listen if I said I could get them myself. I thanked the people regardless, which is probably not the best idea, but whatever. They’re trying to be nice and I have an allergy to being rude unless someone is a jerk first.

Going home was TERRIBLE. All those issues scootering in DC were a billion times worse on the way back to the metro. Also, it was raining pretty steadily. I missed my MARC train by like, seconds, so I had to wait for the next one (they depart 30 minutes apart during rush hour). Bumped my ankle getting up to go board, hurt but not serious. Embarking was better this time, I asked for a ramp and they made sure they knew where I was going so they could have it ready when I got off. They also folded up a bench so I could have my scooter with me while I sat (I felt a little guilty taking up, essentially, 3 seats, but at least there weren’t any broken down trains that day, so it wasn’t super crowded.) Got off the train fine. It was hella-raining, so I scooted with my umbrella once I got to the side of the station I parked on. (Going down the handicap ramps was a little scary, because my brakes don’t work well when wet. I’ve been wearing my old sneakers, though, so it is okay if the soles get a little rubbed away from using my shoe as a brake.) Scootering with the umbrella is difficult and takes longer.

Finally got to my car. Hit the “unlock” button on my alarm fob. Brake lights blink as though it has disarmed but no beeps. Press again just in case. Alarm goes off and the LED on the fob blinks rapidly for like 30 seconds then goes dark and doesn’t light up again. I call The Boy because my back up keys are (I thought!) in my regular bag, and I’m using the backpack while I’m broken. A lady stops and offers to help, or to give me a ride, and then tells me to be careful with the knee scooter because her sister used one and now has knee problems. She goes on her way. I scoot over to the driver side to try and figure out the valet switch. Can’t get it to work from the scooter, so I sit in the car and try. A gentleman comes by and offers to help, tells me how to activate the valet switch in his car (which is similar to the routine for mine, theoretically) but it doesn’t work. I thank him for stopping and send him on his way, and get back out in the rain on the now sopping scooter and move to the trunk again. Put scooter away, get crutches, intending to go sit in the (still alarmed but not going off when the door is shut) car to wait for The Boy. Fall on my leg instead. Hurts a mega fuck ton. Get in car, cry a little. Boy shows up, takes me home. Can’t find back up keys. We go in and he starts opening the key fob to replace the battery while I look for the backup. Realize (at like, 9pm) that the back up was in my backpack the whole time. We go back, I get my car, we get home. I ate in The Boy’s car on the way back to my car, drove it home, took 2 Percocet and went immediately to sleep, aching and grumpy (but less grumpy than I would have been had The Boy not been gracious and kind and sweet and not at all resentful of taking care of me even when I’m stupid) …also I got to pet one of my cats super briefly before bed.

RE: surgery and work, my boss is trying to get me all of next week off without repercussion so I can rest up post surgery. If he can’t, I will be back at work for Thursday and Friday. Or fired. But probably not the latter (at least, he’s pretty confident not the latter; if it is, it’ll be against his wishes). I’ll get the time for my surgery later today (talked to the surgery center this morning about my medical history and when to stop eating and taking pills and drinking anything and all that, they said they’d call back later with the scheduled time) and then Sunday night I will gorge until 11:59pm and then nothing in my mouth (if I need a Percocet they said I can have it with as little water as possible, but otherwise no water or anything) and Monday is GO TIME WOO.


1 Comment

Filed under AUGH INJURIES, bitching, I'm an ADULT, life in general, work

One response to “More Adventures in Commuting (while disabled)

  1. Good luck with your surgery and I hope you get the whole week off.

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