Monday, February 15, 2010

On Disability, Accessability, and Analogies

While recovering from my knee operation, I've been thinking about a lot of things. Some of these (e.g. my questioning how the Hell the character of Gregory House is able to function on the meds he takes) have been ultimately trivial and unimportant. Others (e.g. my thoughts on grapefruit/orange hybridization) would likely only make sense to Floridians who have experience with both joint surgery and altered states of consciousness.

Given the state of mind I was in for a while, I am very lucky that I didn't try to peel my knee.

One of the circumstances I've faced, however, is probably a bit more significant... if a great deal more mundane. As it functions as a pretty good analogy to a wide variety of disability-related issues (mostly those centered around accessability), however, I'm sharing it here.

My house has one portible phone. All of the remainder are traditional wired units. On the ninth (a week after my operation), I was sitting in my little recovery area when the house phone rang. The portible unit (which was by me) had run out of batteries, however, so I had to disconnect myself from the machines I was hooked into, grab my crutches, and hobble over to the nearest traditional phone as quickly as I could (a distance of about 20 to 30 meters, give or take). I didn't make it on time and barely missed the call.

Then I found out the hard way that I hadn't brought my cell phone with me. It, still within easy reach of my starting point, began to ring. I attempted to hobble back, but again couldn't make it on time.

Ironically enough, the calls both turned out to be the doctor who'd performed the operation which had led to me being unable to answer. Had I been able to pick up, it might have saved me some of the grief which I am facing at the moment regarding an unexpected complication in my recovery.

Suffice it to say that cold is good for swelling, but too much of it leads to freezer burns (not major ones, thankfully).


Had the call come via my cell phone first (which was much more accessable in both the literal and disability studies senses), I would have been able to simply reach over and answer. Instead, I wound up failing to answer due to my attempt to try the less acessable solution first.

As I said, it's an analogy. Take it as you will. I could probably write up a better article on this, but my rehab efforts are exhausting me and I have a lot of other things on my mind. One of the banes of blogging, that last one is...

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