Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Surviving a Broken Ankle

Broken bones hurt. I now have an experiential understanding of this.

But the worst of the broken bones shtick is not the pain, but the shrinking of my world. I now have an experiential understanding of the relationship between mobility and access to the world out there.

And I know that this is different for someone who has a temporary mobility disability than for someone who has lived with this for a long while. When you live with something, you figure out how to get what you want and to get where you need to be.

One colleague did this by chairing our professional conference every other year - when you run things, you make sure it is accessible. And that sets a precedent.

Another colleague did this by setting up a foundation and becoming a filmmaker - he travels the world and makes films about disability. (Case in point - we met in the Middle East).

Another colleague chose a graduate school based on wheelchair accessibility - as far as I can tell, his daily life has fewer barrier challenges than it might if he had gone to say, UNM.

As I've often told people who suddenly find themselves deaf or hard of hearing, there is an adjustment period that takes some time. Part of the challenge is figuring out what you need now that you are in this new state of being. Part of the challenge is figuring out how you will get it. And part of the challenge is reconciling the "old you" with the "new you".

And yet another challenge is doing this in such a way that doesn't annoy those who have lived with a similar disability for a long time. As I've learned from years working with another part of the disability community, new discoveries on my part do not mean new knowledge for the community.

Working in disability advocacy has given me (dare I say it?) a leg up on how I will get access. Figuring out what is most important given my new state of being is potentially interesting, but I'm looking forward more to seeing how I navigate this and how this experience will affect my thoughts on disability theory.

1 comment:

Rocky said...

you might be interested in this story from Idaho, regarding accessible trails -


I hope you are (patiently) healing – a neighbor of mine is starting her 3rd month of recovery from a broken ankle, and just now is putting weight on her foot without her boot –