Archive for the 'Wheelchair' Category

Paratransit Follies — Part 2

Wednesday, March 28th, 2007

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While staying at the warehouse, I phoned a paratransit company licensed by the city and scheduled a ride to my bank. As the female driver strapped my wheelchair to the floor of the van I noticed a small portable black and white television stationed on the driver’s side of the dashboard. I assumed that during her breaks she parked in a lot somewhere and stared at mindless shows. She glanced at the schedule attached to a clipboard while she absently grabbed my fare. No sooner had she merged into traffic than she switched on the TV; it was tuned to a soap opera.

Three minutes into the journey she complained that she hadn’t eaten breakfast. While the TV blared, the van jerked to a halt in front of a McDonald’s or as she familiarly called the popular fast food chain, Mickey D’s. more »

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Paratransit Follies — Part 1

Wednesday, March 21st, 2007

Back when I almost languished in the warehouse, paratransit companies expected their drivers to follow stringent rules when serving the infirm and disabled—at least that’s what they wanted everybody to believe. (This may have changed, but I doubt it.) The reality of high employee turnover for an underpaid and largely unskilled position (though many unsophisticated drivers insisted otherwise) forced urban paratransit companies to shitcan reasonable standards when hiring workers.*

Cripplevan companies trained their drivers to assist elderly customers as they shuffled up or down the van’s ramp, and to always back wheelchairs in or out of the vehicle—never to push except on level ground. A driver who followed proper procedure used heavy nylon straps to secure the wheelchair to the van’s floor, then fastened a seat belt around the passenger. (I remember once when I reached for the safety strap; the driver ordered me not to move, to let him do it because “I be a trained p’ofessional.”) more »

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Low-Rent Reality

Wednesday, January 24th, 2007

The warehouse administration strove to methodically whittle away a resident’s peripheral reality and impose a manageable illusion of reality for the purpose of nurturing dependence and therefore obedience. Though the administration cultivated a high profile, for all practical purposes the flying monkey CNA’s ran the show.

The majority of certified nursing assistants employed by the warehouse were mouth-breathing soap-free scuzzbuckets who didn’t know shit from apple butter (though they had memorized the protocols of visiting incarcerated boyfriends and relatives). Occasionally some chirpy twat determined to save the world managed to slip through. more »

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All Crippled-Up

Wednesday, December 27th, 2006

Freddie expected the CNA’s to unconditionally wait on him even after he’d shown the capability of performing a given task. For example, he easily navigated his wheelchair to the liquor store but took for granted that a CNA would happily drag his drunken ass to the shower room when the stench of his soap-deprived body became unbearable. If anyone questioned the annoying lack of effort he put into taking care of himself, he bellyached like a petulant child: “But I be all crippled up.” Sometimes he’d also remind them: “. . . And I’m a black man.” I never figured out any reasonable correlation between his race and his accidental injury. more »

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Welcome — Part 2

Wednesday, December 6th, 2006

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Because most licensed doctors recognize a dead patient as a potential lawsuit, they initially performed a tracheotomy on me. I remember during my time in the ICU when I wore a string like a choker around my neck. (I’m sure there was more to it, but at the time it seemed just a string.) An either overzealous or incompetent nurse had tied the string too tightly and it mercilessly dug into the nape of my neck—I host the permanent furrows that prove I’m not whining like a drama queen. I literally couldn’t make a sound, much less complain. more »

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Welcome — Part 1

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

I have no problem differentiating between hallucinations and factual events that occurred in my post-trauma surroundings. Though I had a flimsy grasp on reality immediately after I surfaced from the coma, the fleeting moments of lucidity proved themselves wildly enhanced. And my intuition had kicked itself into ultra-high gear.

A silent ambulance obeyed speed limits while it carried me from the intensive care unit of a standard hospital to a rehabilitation hospital where the thickheaded staff would try to subjugate me for the next three months. My faceless doctors had assigned me to a high-ceilinged three-bed ward. (During the course of my stay they would twice order me transferred to another room.) more »

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Royal Transportation

Wednesday, October 25th, 2006

In 2001 after waiting almost two years, my name crept to the top of a waiting list and I finally skipped the warehouse. I moved several miles and neighborhoods south into a conventional high-rise full of squeaky-clean Nigerians. On my own at last, I decided that I should stock up on office supplies so I phoned the cripplevan phone-lackeys one morning at 6:00 am. more »

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Decisions, Decisions — Part 2

Tuesday, September 26th, 2006

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“Caring staff” — One of my roommates, a friendly and gentle middle-aged man, suffered from Elephantitis. He harbored an uncommon variety of the disease that merited his lecturing at out-of-state medical schools. Classic Elephantitis causes extreme swelling of the victim’s limbs or genitals; my roommate’s manifestations weren’t readily visible. Though his body remained normally proportioned, his unique version of Elephantitis had rendered him legally blind and extraordinarily weak, and had usurped control of his bladder. Unsteady on his feet, he shuffled like the Mummy after downing a handful of Quaaludes. He spent his last days confined to a wheelchair. more »

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Decisions, Decisions — Part 1

Wednesday, September 20th, 2006

In the weeks following my release from the warehouse, I discovered that various administrative secretaries had wildly fucked up the paperwork associated with my case. This came as no surprise given the treatment I received while a resident. Faced with the almost impossible task of lighting fires under unconcerned asses, I phoned the warehouse office several times and attempted to perform the administration’s job for them. Whenever a clueless staff member answered the phone and put me on hold, I heard a pre-recorded advertisement for the warehouse. more »

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Drive Time

Thursday, September 14th, 2006

Ambulance service is like medical care insofar as you get what you pay for. A resident in a private nursing home that needs transportation via ambulance to a hospital can expect intelligent, polite, well-trained attendants. The same dumbasses who initially conjectured that recreational drugs and a botched suicide attempt caused my stroke abandoned me in a public warehouse. Like nearly everybody on a state-run medical facility staff, low-rent ambulance attendants delude themselves that they’re “health care professionals” though they’re amazingly stupid, lack even the most rudimentary social skills, and are less conscientious of their work than poorly trained chimpanzees. The ambulance attendants with whom I interacted presented themselves without exception as bumbling dolts. more »

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