Here is another instalment of the series that I first posted in July 2022.
I am wheeling my caree through a shopping mall, overtaking other pedestrians, most of whom do not have wheelchairs to push. And I am told to hurry up. We reach a bunch of people in front and I am forced to slow down and weave a way through them. “Get a move on,” I am told. “We can’t just barge into people, dear,” I reply.
Earlier, as I was about to leave the house, I was putting on my shoes - well trainers today, so I had laces to tie. “Couldn’t you have put on slip-on shoes?” I am requested.
OK, so my caree is impatient, but is there an underlying cause of that? If I am honest with myself, I am impatient too at times. I try to put myself in the caree’s position.
It takes about a minute to lace a pair of shoes. This may not seem like a long time. But my caree cannot stand for long. The minute that I spend lacing my shoes represents another minute she needs to stand waiting, in pain. Likewise, she enjoys being in shops but not the transit between one shop and the next. When I purchase new shoes I tend to prefer those that slip on, to avoid this waiting period. But this can restrict my fashion choice. Also there are practicalities. Trainers have good grip, best for wheeling a loaded chair up a sloping, smooth, marble floor - but they have laces.
There are also occasions when I keep her waiting while I am out of her sight. I am doing something important but she does not see that; she is just waiting while nothing seems to happen. For example, I leave her by the customer services desk while I go to get a trolley and self-scan handset. But the next “available” trolley is jammed against another one, so I have a struggle to separate them. Then neither of the ones I have freed has a self-scanner socket, so I need to start over. When I go to collect the self-scanner, the system will not accept my store card, so I need to get customer services to sort it out. Back at customer services, my caree says, “What is taking you so long?”
If there is any delay for no obvious reason, I nowadays keep her informed about what is happening or what I am waiting for. This has proved to be the best strategy.