Thursday, October 14, 2010
The Central Washington Wheel Chair Bound Student OR The Flying Gimp
Anyone that knows me is aware that I am a professional home heath care provider. Yes, that would be my title if they haven’t changed it yet again this year. I think of myself as a Gentleman, Gentleman. Batman had Alfred, who did things for Batman that went far and beyond the normal tasks of a butler. I do a great many tasks that would turn the stomachs of some people. A good caregiver does these tasks quickly without complaint and with respect. The later is very important. I think of myself as a great caregiver, one that respects his client and has a sense of humor about it.
All that a side, I take you back 20 years ago, I had already been a caregiver for a couple of years at that point when I was hired to work with a client that attended the same college a myself. We lived in the same dorm room and for the most part ended up with the same friends. We enjoyed the social parts of the college a little too much. We liked to play games with other college student sometimes late into the early morning the next day.
We broke the game play only to visit the local 7-11 convenient store for nachos and a coke to wash it down. One night, couple of us left for quick trip to the store when my client asked to go. When we got outside he told us to head out and he would take the wheelchair ramp and the long trip around the dorm to meet up with us on the way. We didn’t think anything about it and headed off into the dark. The trip that he was taking was about four times as long compared to the short trip we needed to walk.
As we turned the first corner I got a wild hair and told my other friend “let’s run out ahead.” My friend laughed and said, “He will go nuts if he can’t catch up.” You see his chair moved really fast, almost a joggers pace.
We rounded the next corner and slowed. I wasn’t into jogging, so we stopped and waited for him on each side of the sidewalk. We moved back into the bushes on each side of the ramp. I was nearest the wheel chair ramp and could easily reach out a scare the daylight of him.
I watched as he rounded the corner and coming full steam ahead. As he got to the stairs he missed the ramp and went down the stairs. The chair bounce down the steps and landed on all fours. My charge didn’t fair so well. His momentum pushed him up and in almost in a standing position. He never worn his seat beat and only used a leg strap to hold the legs down. I watched as my friend and employer catapulted himself from the chair.
I ran to his side and he laid face down in a growing pool of his blood. I unbuckled his legs and grabbed a towel from his back pack to press against his chin. When the funniest thing happened, he started to laugh and wanted back in his chair. I told him of the blood and the appending ambulance and I honestly think to this day if I would have let him in his chair he would have put his seat belt on and tried it again.
Later in the hospital he confessed that he had made the jump before.
A few days later we were having dinner with a few of our friend when one of them started to laugh as he read the school newspaper. It was a college paper and anything made the news back then, even a story about a guy in a wheelchair careening off a ramp in the middle of the night. I remember how the story started; A Central Washington wheel chair bound student fell down a set of stairs. It was funny but he became the Flying Gimp an honorable title that he will answer still to this day.
I learned a few things that night. Always make sure your client wears his seat beat and a title doesn’t make the person, their action do.