Thursday, October 26, 2006

Perspective (or, Sleepy Barcelona)

Today at work I helped a guy in a motorized wheelchair who had no control over his body from the neck down and very little control from the neck up. Basically, his whole body was constantly writhing and spasming, and he drooled a lot and couldn't speak or gesture, and just constantly seemed like he was in the process of performing a very low-impact sneeze. I asked him if he needed any help, and he sat and flailed a little while, and I waited, and then somebody else came up and asked for help so I helped them, a little relieved.
As I was helping the other customer, the wheelchair guy rolled up behind us, so I figured that he must need some help and just wasn't able to talk. When I was done helping the other customer, I noticed that wheelchair guy had a board next to him in his chair. I took the board out; it was about 1.5 feet by 2 feet, and maybe a quarter of an inch thick, and on the upper left hand corner it said "I can hear perfectly." Next to that it said, "I use this board to talk. Repeat back the things I point to." The rest of the board was covered with words and the alphabet and the numbers 0-9. So I held the board in front of his face and he proceeded to flail around a little more, but little by little I noticed that he was using his nose to point to different words or letters (it didn't help that he was wearing a baseball cap; for awhile I thought he was trying to point with the bill of the hat). So after awhile he was able to communicate that he was looking for a specific DVD, and he wanted me to read to him what our computer said about it, and I ended up ordering the DVD for him.
At the end of the conversation he started spelling out "can" "someone" "help" "me" "in" "the"...and I was worried that he was going to say "restroom." But he ended up saying "elevator," so I helped him get in the elevator and took him upstairs and he went on his merry way.

The Point: The point of all of this is to say, "HOLY SHITE!" What an amazing amount of balls and strength and heart this person has to be out and about on his own. If I was trapped inside of a body that didn't work, I'm sure I would lay flailing around on my bed all day and life a very short, unhappy, bitter life. So I was just moved by this guy and his profound handicap and the amount of energy,brains and effort it must take to overcome it every moment of his life. The world is a strange place.

The last couple of nights as I've been driving home after doing set stuff after rehearsals, I've been coming up into the city from the south, on 395, which is probably one of the prettiest views of Baltimore there is. The city really has a nice skyline from the south, and I enjoy the drive. Listened to "The Old Matchbook Trick," and thought it was a song that eveybody should hear. I'm not sure if that's true or not, though.

Also, saw a guy who looked like Kevin Sorbo walking on Charles Street.


Anonymous said...

Now that's a good read. Brought up some old memories, thanks...sean

Anonymous said...

Good read. It takes me back to a certain time in my past. Thanks...sean