Disabled Life

The thought of falling

P1000807Here is the story of how I broke my crutch. I promise I’ll try and make this funny and not a bore. It was a Saturday and I hadn’t done much for a while so I thought I’ll go to town, go to a movie and go to mates engagement/housewarming party. As I walk up Queen St there is a man in front of me dawdling, I mean I am disabled but this guy was slow, cue a typical Auckland sudden epic downpour.

There are benches outside Giappo’s gelato shop and quite a bit of cover. Most people have sped under them. I think this is a good idea. Dawdler is still dawdling. It forces me to shorten my stride/jump. When I move on crutches it’s not unlike skiing. Shortening the extension of my arms is a lot like sudden braking if I do it at speed like I am in this moment.

There are families crowded into Giappo’s. It’s a well established gelato shop and kind of iconic in Auckland because it’s awesome.  The section of street I’m on is between the Imax centre and the civic. It has lights built into the street.

The heavens open and all the rain falls hard and cold. This is not unusual in Auckland. I am very close to the movie theatre but I’d like to stay dry. I have to move around the dawdler. I can go out further into the street & rain or move under cover. I decide to move under cover. I am still travelling forward when dawdler stops. DICK! No i didn’t say that but I thought the hell out of it. I shorten my arms up and move to the right. My right crutch starts to slide…I am going to fall.

This next part all happens in a fraction of a second.

I know I am going to fall. My crutch landed on one of the light strips. There are a lot of people to the left of me,  I twist my body to the right while my right arm keeps extending partly due to sliding but I’m not resisting I push it out. I need to land on my side to protect my head. There is some screaming. I really hate dawdler. I will need to get up fast or people will panic. I hit the ground. It doesn’t hurt. I go to get up but people are already grabbing my arms so I can’t do anything. Dawdler is one of them, he’s not all bad just slow.

If you see a disabled person fall they’ll be using their arms to get up. Best bet is to grab around the waist I would think. Or wait a little bit to see what they’re doing then move in to assist. DO NOT JUST ASSUME THEY’RE OK! Every disability is different and for all my pissing & moaning I am an exception not a rule when it comes to my physical durability.

As I look down I think I see a piece of my crutch. Sure enough it’s broken. The owner of Giappo comes out and helps me to a bench. People are talking about it. I try to assure them I’m ok, No one is really listening. Now I need to get a taxi to get the broken crutch home. A woman asks her husband to drive me to a taxi stand. I am also offered free gelato, nice 🙂

Waiting for the cab I call my mate and tell him I am not going to make it to the engagement party. I go home post a photo to the Auckland city council. I am tired wet and just annoyed. So annoyed that 3 hours later I change my mind and decide to go to the engagement party. It was worth it!

So what to take out of this. Well mostly don’t dawdle. But also that a lot of people banded together quite quickly over something that I guess looked bad. I can after all only share my perspective. The fall was fast but my experience stopped any real damage. The next 2 weeks were physically exhausting as I used one stick. But I am back on two now.

The light strips are still there…lurking…waiting…


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