Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sleep, Elusive Sleep...........

OK, how long will the foot pain go on I keep asking myself each night?  I hate to grumble here but as I say to people when they ask, "How are you doing?"  "There are Good Days and Bad Days."  I have been having a string of not so good days and it is really not too much fun.

My right foot is not tolerating "Work."  Yes, you ask how is that?  Well, it is because the floors at the office building I work in are too hard!  Yup, carpet with very little pad over concrete is not working out so well for me and my foot.  I worked from home yesterday and what a difference, but then what do I go and do?  I forget to take the nerve medicine before going to bed, so here I am at 3:00 am going why is my darn foot still hurting me?  Duh! 

I guess I have been able to test if I can wean myself off the nerve medicine and the answer is not yet.  Being less than full functioning along with not feeling great for so long can be wearing.  I feel for anyone with a chronic condition as I have a sense of what my issues may be like longer term.  I feel like the right foot is going to be my continued nemesis.  It has gotten better, but it will not ever be right 100% again.  That makes me sad.  I have to continue to remind myself of my good fortune in this situation or you can tend to  dwell on the little things.  Like that darn right foot.  Wasn't that a movie?  Something like that right?

Friday, March 25, 2011


Everyday is a new journey as I progress in this new life.   I am happy still to be alive and walking, but I want this dog gone brace off in the worst way possible!  I really hate it in a way that I have never, ever hated anything.  I will survive, but boy this has been a challenge.  Last weekend I attended a horse show which traditionally has been the kick off to the show season.  Yes, it would have been my first show on Casey had we been able to ride.  Was it tough?  Well, it was different since we have known for a long time I would not ride this year, but being able to ride again in general has been in question so a show is really inconsequential.

I saw my rehab doctors a little over a week ago and asked to have them consider returning me to work. For those of you who know me my job in Human Resources can be done for the most part via phone and computer as well as conference call.  Just prior to my injury I started a new job which would require more travel throughout the state of WA, and I acquired a new team.  So, of course I had to have an accident to test how they could handle all of this and more.  What I can say is my team passed with flying colors.  What an incredible team of women who pulled together, supported each other and along with my boss who filled in while I was out made it all work.  You all ROCK! 

Yes, despite the intense negotiations with my two rehab Docs and my hubby who all thought I should be off of work longer I went back this week to work full time.  I have taken it easy and am glad for the mental stimulation and human interaction.  I was very tired by today, but I am glad I insisted that this would work out.  My body is willing and physically I am feeling OK.  I will pace myself and make sure that I don't over do it.  Glad for the weekend for a little rest and relaxation.  All is going well and we are on the count down for the brace to come off on tax day.  Mark your calendar!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Stormy - "Justa Swangin" - Rest In Peace

When ever a beloved pet passes away I feel like they deserve a memorial service of some kind.  So, this is my tribute to Stormy or "Justa Swangin" which was her registered name with APHA and Pinto.  I was Stormy's owner for a fairly short time, but as with any animal I have had the privilege of sharing part of my life with she has left an imprint on my heart.  I became Stormy's owner during a time when by all rights I should not have been buying a horse.  Yup, I tend to do that, but hey at least I am honest.  

I was in the midst of still trying to determine if Stormy's half brother would be my "All Around Horse" and since Irish was taking a long time to grow up and mature I decided to find a more finished show horse that I could  show.  Why was it a bad time?  Well, lets see, I had started a new job which had me traveling from Pierce to Snohomish county for work each day.  It was over a 100 mile commute round trip  in the worst  traffic Seattle had to offer every day.  We really wanted to move, but this was in early 2007, and the housing bubble was beginning to soften.  We put our house on the market and in the prior 6 months a house like ours would have been snatched up, but we sat and waited and waited and waited for a buyer. 

I kept commuting  for over 6 months and I really needed to have my horse out let.  I will be the first to tell you that horses keep me sane.  They are my diversion, my passion, and the one thing will keep me doing a job that at times people think I am crazy to do.  Yes, I have even told the boss, if I don't do horses then this job can go.  Fairly embolden, but hey I am honest, and since I keep the horse hobby he knows he is good.   We closed on the horse and the house in the same week.  I did the vet check and all seemed good,  and off she went to the trainers.

Our first year of showing was a year of learning for me.  Stormy had more buttons than most sports cars and knew her job.  She was shown extensively by her previous owners and had made her way to WA from CA.  She was a seasoned show horse.  We began to notice that she seemed to have some hoof tenderness during the show season.  Not uncommon for a long time show horse so I was not concerned.   We did pretty well and and I was happy and decided to move her a little closer to home.  My former trainer "M" had kept her feet in good shape so any tenderness was minor and I did not let it bother me. 

The next show season at a new barn proved more challenging and Stormy never seemed to get in the groove.  She was off more than she was on and her feet were clearly bothering her.  The vet x-rayed her and prescribed various prescriptions without much success.  I was able to show her, but it was hit or miss.  Something was clearly wrong.  By the end of the season I took her to be evaluated by a well known farrier who had success with horses with problem feet. 

She stayed at the facility for over 6 months and had ups and downs, but when "M" the Farrier was less than optimistic for her continued improvement I knew a tough decision would need to be made.  I asked his opinion and he candidly told me what the options were.  I was heart sick and it would take me 8 more months of trying and her not getting better to get me to make a decision.

I moved her back to a place she knew as home when her former owner, "S" generously offered to take her in and take care of her for me.  I did not have many alternatives for a horse who was lame and I knew it was a matter of time when keeping her comfortable would no longer be an option.  I had already made my peace with it when the time came.  I made the arrangements with "S's" assistance and asked to not know the exact date.  I would dwell on it and it would be better to not know when it would be. 

"S" said it was Sunny out last Friday and that Stormy got brushed real good which she loved.  Ironically, I went to watch the first horse show of the season  that day and watched my horse friends show their horses at the same fair grounds where I had my first horse show experience as a rider on Stormy in 2008.   I was well distracted that day.  She was a good girl going to the vet and they would have given her a sedative which horses are accustom to so she would not have been scared.  Good bye Stormy, I will see you again one day......

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

Author unknown...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Shoes - A Whole New World Awaits

Since progressing with my rehab I have found that the balance issues need to be addressed through better arch supports and the right shoes.  I discovered, very close to home, a great store that sells shoes for those of us who have "feet issues."  Yes, it is one of those stores that I would have never set foot in before my accident (sorry I couldn't help that), but now I am so happy they exist.  They have a very nice selection of shoes with great arch support and that in some cases (not all) can be stylish in their own way. 

I have discovered that I  love "Danskos!  I have always been a fan of clogs so they were not a stretch for me, but they really have a great support that I now need for my arch, particularly on my right foot, which as I said probably will never be totally right again.  I sure wish the hubby had found this store when he went on his wild adventure trying to find me some shoes while I was starting rehab.  I am sure he would have balked at the price tag, but hey at least my first few venture walking in rehab would have been less painful.  Recall the nice black pair of shoes he thought were going to work for me??

So now I have to look at what I wear on my feet a little differently.  The hubby calls me "Imelda" which for those of you who don't recall was the former first lady of the Philippines who had a stagger number of shoes.  Well, I certainly don't have the number that she has, but I am one of those people who thinks each outfit deserves matching shoes, and I do have a closet full of shoes, well actually two.....  So what do I do now?  Now I have to make sure that my removable arch supports go in the shoes I intend to wear if they are not good shoes with arch supports.  So, some of my shoes will work with my new situation, but many will not.  Sounds like a shoe buying opportunity to a certain degree?? 

The problem with these new "special shoes" is they are not cheap!  They are all over $100 easy and that will certainly make me pause in picking up a couple of  pairs to match  my outfits.  So, I guess I may become someone who has a limited shoe collection.  I know right now I cannot wear heels, but I love variety  in my shoes so I am feeling a little restricted with the thought of limiting my shoe options.  I have not even started to think about my boots, yikes, at least I think they all should be good with the arch inserts.  Oh, did I mention that the removable inserts are $30 for a pair.  Sounds like the price of shoes, or I should say the former price of shoes I would buy.  

Just another one of the adjustments I have finding I have to make in my new world.  May seem trivial, but just think about how important walking is and you will realize that these are the types of things that can be very important for my progress in rehab.  I guess the hubby will get to stop calling me "Imelda."

Friday, March 18, 2011

On Being Less Abled Continued.....

As my recovery continues I have become acutely aware of the challenges that I have in being less abled.  I am beginning to do more each day and with that comes more time ventured out in the "community."  For starters many "able bodied people" are not even aware of those of us who are "less abled" and they breeze right by without thinking about a heavy door slamming in my face or that I may not have enough balance to side step you and your busy little children who are running around.  I am slow, yup, much slower at everything than I was before and that does not seem to fit in our go, go and do more society of people who are wired in and always moving.  I hate that I am slow and not the same as I was before, but I have tons of empathy now with everyone else who may be slow  and less abled for what ever reason. 

Being out in the community presents many challenges.  Because I have a disabled parking permit the parking issue has for the most part not been so bad.  However, I did not know there were so many people who have these parking permits and many times all of the spots are taken.  What issues this presents is I then have to park in a spot that makes it terribly hard to get out of and into may car.  I am not suppose to twist and with the compact parking spots that I may be left to navigate try using good techniques to get into or out of one car.  Virtually impossible.  OK, negative shout out to all public establishments who are not meeting Americans with Disabilities Act  (ADA) code for parking or access - You are rude and should not be in business if you cannot have the decency to have the legally required number of accessible parking spots, not to mention an accessible restroom. Yup, there is one "Mexican" restaurant in Monroe, WA that is going to get turned in by yours truly on Monday for their lack of access.  Don't mess with a disabled lady who knows as much as most attorneys on this subject.  Not smart.

Being out in the community gives me a chance to drop things in public and not just at home.  I cannot bend over and pick up anything right now so boy do I have to be careful.  I dropped some mail when getting it out of the mail box and I had to get real creative with the cane to get it up and into my car or I was going to have to go back to the house and get my grabber device.  I have dropped items at stores and find that there is usually someone who will help if you explain the situation.  Not great, but it works.  For a very independent person like me none of this feels good, but I am sure I am learning tons from this experience or why would I be living through it right?  I do live in fear of dropping my car keys and being unable to get to them.  I am very, very careful with this as I have that thought running around in my head now that I get to drive again.

The good news is that there are many people like me out in the world, some have had accidents or may have a chronic medical condition, many can recall a different time when life was not so hard.  No, we do not all feel sorry for ourselves, yes we do find the best way to get through each day and yes, sometimes we drop things that we can't pick up.

Lesson Number 8 - At least once each week take the time to help someone without being asked to do so.  You will be paying it forward with your thoughtful and generous spirit.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Horses Continued.....

"No ride is ever the last one. No horse is ever the last one you will have. Somehow there will always be other horses, other places to ride them."

Boy does that say it.  If you have it in your blood you won't little an accident, spinal cord injury, or a foot that does not seem to cooperate get in the way of your dreams.  The prospect of not riding again was never a consideration for me.

The Dream Horse Continued - Wizard was amazing for me.  He developed my confidence and took total care of me.  We trail road all over Piece County, WA and then took off to other great spots.  We camped, we did it all.  To think when I got him I was not sure how to even secure the saddle??  I was a very novice horse person and that is good and bad.  I didn't know what I didn't know and boy did I take some risks.  I was lucky in some ways, but I definitely learned from every experience. 

Along with Wizard came several other horses.  Yes, I had to do the "baby thing" and along came "Enchante," a beautiful, well bred Quarter Horse filly (Appendix) who had enough Thoroughbred in her blood line to trace back to Bold Ruler, yup Secretariat's sire.  I got her as a baby, 4 months old and so began my journey with a young horse.  She was sweet and feisty and I was determined to do all the work with her and I did.

She became a project for me during a very tough time in my life and she was my therapy as I worked with her to get her under saddle.  I did everything from the ground with her and was the first person to get on her back.  I taught her to move off my legs and then got some help from a trainer "T" to get her started. 

When she was 3 years old we took her to a Quarter Horse show to show her at halter, which meant that I just had to go in and set her feet up so she stood correct and then have her judged on conformation.  She was perfect in many ways, not a big horse, but striking and very correct.  She won it all in her halter class - Grand Champion!  I still proudly display the trophy they sent me.  I was thrilled and I had the bug.  Not only did she do well in halter, but she won ribbons in riding classes also.  She was talented.

It was through this experience that I met "K&S" who has a stallion that I bred Enchante to shortly after she started her show career.  So began my journey to find the perfect "Paint Horse."  Yes, they may look like a Quarter Horse with different color patterns, but Paints are their own breed with very specific criteria that allows a horse to be registered as a Paint.  I was totally hooked and so began the beginning of what has brought me to where I am today, but that story deserves it's own post.

One of My First Rides on Enchante

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Goals and Dreams

Having goals and dreams in my opinion are a good thing.  I have always had goals - personal, work, hobby.  It keeps me focused on where I am going.  It suits my need to have something that I am working towards for completion.  I have used various means and methods over the years to track my goals and found just writing them down and keeping a list seems to work best for me.  It is always amazing to look back on it and see how I can just check them off, completed, achieved, done.  It feels so good.

In talking to a friend recently about goals I realized that not everyone is goal oriented.  Some people would just rather let life come at them and bounce with it.  I guess that is OK, but at times those same people may be the ones that wonder why things happen the way the do, instead of having a life guide by which to live and make certain decisions that can be life impacting.  I guess I don't understand this. If you don't want to call them goals then call them dreams - things that you dream of doing one day.  Get some clarity around your dreams,  get specific and commit to them. 

There are great tools available for first timers to goal setting.  "Mind Tools" has a life evaluation guide which can be a great first step in the goal setting process.  Visit their web site for tons of incredible resources.  Additionally, I am a huge fan of creating a "Picture Book or Treasure Map" what ever you want to call it.  Essentially for those visual people you are creating a goal collage of pictures that represent the goals you have set and are working towards.  Cut out pictures from magazines, take pictures, what ever works so that you create that visual picture to focus on.  In using this in the past I found it to be very effective in helping me keep the goals I had set right in front of me and helped me focus and achieve them.

Also, I have found, through trial and error that being very specific about the details of one's goals  can be critical.  You can say "I want to go to Hawaii," but if you don't nail down when, which Islands and then with whom, and outline what you want to do when you get there all you have is a wish.  The specifics of goals can make or break achieving them in a successful manner.  Remember the adage "The Devil is in the Details" well it is true and can make or break the success of your goal setting.  It is the one thing that you did not think was important enough to consider that can cause the most grief.  Be specific.

Today, right now, all my goals have changed.  It is amazing how one life event can have you reevaluate everything.  I am in the process of doing just that.  It is going to take some time since life is very much focused on the goal of rehabilitation as of today.  Sure there are a few other things revolving around, but my everyday is focused on getting stronger, having more balance and healing.  I cannot have another focus since my life going forward depends on my current outcome.  Goals - well I want the big toe and the one next to it on my right foot to bend better and be able to support and balance me so I can walk without the use of a cane.  Will it be perfect?  Maybe not, but both my PT "J" and I believe that it will be better than the doctors say it will.  We are focused, goal oriented women who want more for me than just accepting that "it is what it is and that maybe I won't need to use a cane."  Really Doc?  I guess you don't know me.

Lesson Number 7- Create Goals in your life to help focus, guide, and give you clarity about what is really important.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Horses - Continued.....

It is like a chronic disease or condition.  It is always there and I guess I would call it horseitis.  It has to be in your blood or you wouldn't do it.  You wouldn't spend hours in a cold barn getting ready for a show or practicing for an event where you will likely spend hours waiting for a class or for it to start, only to have to hurry up to get you and your horse ready into the class or event.  You wouldn't be around all the dust, dirt, hay, "poop" and subject your self to all that goes into it if it wasn't in your blood. 

Beyond all of the above there is the fun of it which includes spending time with great people who "get it and get your disease," primping and cleaning both horse and tack until both shine and glimmer.  Spending hours fine tuning you and your horse in preparation for the show or event.   Picking out an amazing outfit that compliments both the horse and rider and then swallowing the knot in your throat, sitting up straight, and tall and riding into an arena that seems way bigger than when you were practing in it to show in your class or participate in your event. 

It gets into your blood when you begin to show your horse or do any type of competition and you can't wait for the next one.  To fine tune, fix the errors, strive for perfection, and do it all over again.  In spite of the extreme exhaustion of being on your feet for days on end, and doing more physical work than anyone would every believe you crave the next show or event and can't wait for it to get here.  Yes, ask any horse person who is into showing or doing anything with their horses and your will see the light in their eyes and the passion of hope for the next planned event.  It has to be a disease because ordinary people wouldn't do it.  Just talk to them a little about it and they don't seem to understand why we would do it either?

So, in dedication to all my "Horsey Friends" have a safe and amazing show season this year!  Enjoy the journey and I will continue to work hard so that I too can be back "hopefully" next season with the light in my eyes and craving the next show just like I know you are.  Giddy Up!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

So Now I Know What is Going On

Going to the doctor is rarely fun, but I was looking forward to the Friday appointment at the Spine Clinic. Yup, this would be my first post operative follow-up with a doctor where I may have more than  breeze "How you doing"  and check my reflexes and strength and off they go.  We left early cause I wanted to make sure when found the place. It turns out when I give Bob the address he say, "that's my parking garage building!"  He knows the building well since this is where he parked every day for nearly two weeks while visiting me.  He and K slept in that garage the night of my surgery.  He proudly shows me which parking spot the car was in when it substituted for their bed while they waited for me to get out of surgery.

We get to the clinic and it is the offices for all the "Ortho, Sports Medicine, Neuro and Spine Docs affiliated with Harborview and UW.  OK, I am feeling pretty good that these are good docs.  I get to have more xrays which I assumed, but hey next time I will dress appropriately.  Note to self, no metal in the clothing and then guess what you don't have to disrobe which is always too much fun with this lovely brace.  Glad the hubby was there to help. 

The doctor comes in soon after the x-rays are taken and I finally get to talk to someone face to face and find out  how things are going.  He is a doc that essentially works for my surgeon Dr. B, a very nice and kind person.  He asks all the right questions and I finally get to ask mine.  He says I am doing "exceptional" which makes me feel like all the work is paying off.  He shows us the x-rays and how everything is still in place.  Yeah, I have not pulled a screw loose cause that would be very bad and yes, they would have to go back in and fix it.  I had to ask.  He begins to pull up all the MRI and other films from the records and explains what happened with my injury.  This is when I feel like I what to throw up.

I essentially pulled most of the ligaments and muscles in my lower back - hence the pain, bruising and residual issues I have been having.  He said that will take 3 months to heal, lovely.  My spine was damaged, yup I knew that, but once it is damaged that is how it is going forward, those damaged nerves don't get better  Wow, OK so what does that mean?  Well, the damage at the level of my spine could have affected my entire right leg, my bladder function, bowel function and all leg strength.  It didn't, but my right foot is the continuing problem and I guess it always will be to some degree.  OK, here is the part that I guess I was somewhat unaware of in relationship to my injury, you mean with rehab and PT and work on my part I won't get healed and back to normal?  So, what can I do?  He says I need to strengthen the leg and foot and work on the foot and it's flexibility, but some of the functionality will not return.  I may never regain my balance to walk without a cane.  What ???!!! This is the part where I cannot think about it anymore. 

I am damaged and part of me will never be the same........... I guess I was hoping and this is where not being a medical professional I just didn't know.  So, my excitement for the doctor appointment has waned and this became one of those "bad" days one has during any recovery process.  I am trying to not focus on it and I know I will walk without a cane.  It may not be fast, it may not be pretty, but I will not be defined by this.  Right now my right foot hurts more than the left every night.  It does not feel like it is really part of my body. It feels a little wooden.  The two toes on my right foot - the big one and the one next to it are doing better, but they are weak and do not grip as they should to provide balance automatically and stabilize that side.  My foot does not flex they way the left one does, it is more stiff and it is weak.  OK, so now I know what I have going on, what do I do with it?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Recovery Process Continued

When you have something happen in your life that requires you to take a pause and evaluate the next steps many time you may not be fully aware of where the path is going to go.  With an accident such as mine or any other the recovery process will have different stages.  Going from living life at full speed to turtle pace for me has been a definite eye opener.  Was I living life in too crazed a manner?  Had I taken time to smell the roses?  All good questions that I have now had time to ponder. 

Rehab has progressed since I got out of the hospital 3 weeks ago.  I have been doing outpatient physical therapy at the Providence Everett's campus and my therapist "J" is top notch.  She makes it fun, interesting, challenging and is a horse person which just adds to the full package.  She understands what happened to me fully and the deep desire I have to ride again.  She has added to my home exercise program and continues to evaluate what we need to do to address my continuing progress. 

Every day at home I ride my recumbent exercise bike and have steadily increased the number of miles I am riding and  am currently I am doing over 5 miles in 40 minutes.  I get stronger every day and am increasing my stamina.  I also do about 30 to 40 minutes of different exercises to build strength, balance and flexibility.  My right leg and foot remain my nemesis and I keep working hard to improve both including my big toe which is still not bending like the left toe.  I am doing exercises where I roll my foot on a tennis ball and attempt to pick up a towel with my toes on the right foot all in an effort to help the foot and toes regain their memory. You don't realize how important having the correct use of your toes are – they grip to help provide balance and stability which happens while we stand, walk and lean forward, backward and side to side.   On a good note I am very strong thanks to boot camp classes and Pilates.  Starting out by being in decent shape has really helped me progress quicker than most according to “J”.  So note to self stay fit and always make time to take care of your body.  You never know when it will pay off.

I have gotten very adept at managing my brace by myself and can take it off and put it on without any assistance.  This has allowed the hubby to return to work and I am able to be self-sufficient at night and during the day.  Getting well has it challenges and for me it is the waiting it out part.  Anyone who thinks that hanging out at home all day on medical leave would be fun has to be crazy.  It is not, it is boring, and for those of us who are used to daily interaction and lead a full active life it is near torturous.  I get to have my first post hospital MD apt this Friday with the Spine doctor and can hardly wait to find out what is next.  I hope that all is healing well and I am on track to progress as planned.  Plus I have tons of questions regarding long term prognosis that I was not fully coherent to ask while in the hospital.  More to come for sure……….

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Being Less Abled....

I have always hated the word "Disabled" so I am not using it.  Yes, I cannot do the things I did before, and yes some of that may be temporary, but I don't feel "Dis" anything.  I am "Less abled " than I was before.  I can still do a ton of things for myself, but this world is not set up for me or other like me who are not fully functioning.

I was shocked at the hospital when I began to discover small things that were making my life more difficult as I tried to get around.  Sometimes it was as simple as the toilet paper dispenser was set so far down on the wall in the restroom that you had to lean way over to even reach it.  OMG, I have a back injury here people?  Yes, the nurses said many times people fall trying to take care of one of life's little needs.  Totally Crazy.  The hospital showers were another story.  Nicely tiled, yes you could get a shower chair or wheel chair in there, but guess what when used the water goes everywhere.  It essentially floods the bathroom.  Why?  Well as I could see it the floors are not adequately slanted so the water would go towards the drain.  Duh?  So every time I showered I had to have a towel barricade and then assistance so I didn't fall.

Yes, all the nice hospital staff were aware, but what could they do?   Hospital many times were built before the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act - Signed into law by Bush Sr in 1990) and then remodeled over and over again.  They worked with what they had, but my thought would be to make sure "Less Abled" people are involved in the design of say the Rehab unit when you decide to make any upgrades.  Seems so simple, yet mostly organizations and businesses just follow the written government standards under the ADA for accessibility.  Has anyone even asked if they got it right?

One of the true good things that I got for being less abled was a special parking permit.  I have never been one of those people who had to park up front in any case.  However, when you are not able to get around as well as you use to it is very necessary to have the ability to park in spot that allows you to have a bigger parking spot to get out a walker, a wheel chair or to just get out of the car.  Being closer to the destination is relative as many of the stores, offices, etc... apparently followed the letter of the ADA law on accessibility verses looking at what  would make most sense for the customers coming to the establishments.  Try looking at it from their perspective folks and maybe you might just rethink what you have going on.

Another observation is that apparently here in Washington it is relatively easy to get one of these parking permits.  All you have to do is have a doctor sign off on one and it seems pretty much everyone has one.  Yup, I know my Dad has one, but he is going to be 77 years old and has a bad back, etc.... Some of the others getting out of their cars do not appear as less abled as I would think??  Just like a prescription for anything these types of necessary accommodations can and do get misused I am thinking.  My permit is only for 6 months as I view my need as totally temporary.  Do others see it that way or as a way to park up close?  By the looks of it at many locations when all of the parking spots are filled I would say pretty much many, many people are less abled?

I have found in my current state that people look at you differently when you are less abled.  It is not overt, nor is it mean.  I believe they are just curious.  Since for the most part I don't look too bad off I think they are trying to assess "hey what is wrong with this lady?"  I know it is just human nature so I don't let it bother me.  When they see the brace then it usually clicks for them why an otherwise, normal looking woman would be using a cane, a walker or parking in special spot.  Because she has to.  The brace it turns out  is a conversation starter as I have had several people quickly say "you broke your back, right?"  Yup, and then the story is told.  Let's face it my story is a little more glamorous than most.  Not everyone rides horses and the usual culprit for these types of injuries is an auto accident I am finding. 

Being "Less Abled"means that everyday when I go into the able bodied world I must chart my course.  I have to plan access to and from locations, how to carry things like a purse, a brief case or purchases, do I have someone to assist?  In rehab they have you spend time going all over the hospital and outside of it to ensure the basics, but let's face it there is way more out there in the scary able bodied world that is just not easily navigable.  I for one realize why people become home bound when they are not as able bodied.  So how can we change that?  I  have a new found interest in exploring just that............