Sunday, September 03, 2006

Mobility and Access

These are words that we're paying more attention to since Robb's accident. And so, in no particular order, here are a few recent occurrences that relate to this theme.

The medical supply company that we have been dealing with (thanks to the wonderful workers' compensation insurance company) came and picked up Robb's leased wheelchair. Robb didn't expect them the day they arrived, but we are glad to be rid of that unwieldy beast of a chair.

Robb has arranged to use a car service to get to his new therapists. I'm pleased because driving him to these appointments would take a big bite out of my work day. The cab drivers must love this. They pick Robb up in Oakland, drive him to Walnut Creek, and then stay on the clock (and presumably go get lunch) for an hour and a half while Robb has his therapy sessions. Robb has learned that he has access to the therapists' gym any time during business hours, so he and his therapists have decided to schedule therapy appointments once a week. Robb will work out in their gym twice a week.

On the subject of therapy, it seems that Robb is doing better in terms of balance. His ankle and calf muscles are working hard at helping him maintain balance. This continues to be one of the big challenges. Without strength or sensation in his feet, Robb is off-kilter much of the time. He no longer lurches around the house, or spontaneously starts to tip over, but if he closes his eyes while he is standing, he will fall over. (No more kissing with eyes closed!)

I went down to a local bike store and ascertained that they do, indeed, sell one of the recumbent trikes that Robb was considering. Unfortunately, they sold it the day before I stopped in.

We had an issue accessing our own apartment on Friday. We walked out the door, and didn't realize that neither of us had the good sense to bring our keys until we had reached the garage. Luckily, our neighbor Dominique was home, and she supplied us with tools for a little session of breaking and entering. Those close to Robb, who know his MacGyver tendencies, will appreciate the fact that a butter knife featured in our little scheme. I take Robb's lock-picking abilities as a given* but I was terribly impressed at the flexibility of his back as we worked on the door.

As soon as we had finished with this little adventure, we noticed a couple on our street having some kind of car problem. It seems that not only would their car not start, but in the process of trying to get the car running, they had inadvertently locked their keys inside. We gave them a wire coat hanger and a telephone book, ascertained that they lived within walking distance, and wished them luck. When we got back from our dinner, they were gone.

Yesterday, Robb and I drove to Richmond to a nursery that one of our letterboxing friends had recommended. I bought a cart-load of drought resistant butterfly and hummingbird friendly California native plants, and we drove down to my urban garden behind Berkeley Repertory Theatre's new scenic studios. I was happily digging away (with Robb for company), when three police cars drove up to the back door of the scene shop. "Uh oh," I thought, "this is my fault." Our alarm codes had been changed on Friday, and apparently I was not on the list for weekend access to the building. I had entered my code, and not set off the alarm. However, the alarm company had called the police because they believed there was an "unauthorized intruder" in the building. Strangely, the alarm company did not follow their own procedures and call anyone at Berkeley Rep prior to sending in the police. At least, Oakland police don't charge fifty bucks per false alarm like the police in Berkeley.

This last thought is hardly on the subject of access at all, but we've got to have our Obligatory Nature Moment. As we were leaving the scene shop, I noticed this bird on one of the telephone poles outside the shop. He is an American Kestrel, our smallest and most colorful hawk. I was delighted to see that he has found a fruitful hunting ground in a very urban environment. He seems to be working the rail yards under the freeway. Judging by the rodent holes in the soil, and the fact that I spotted my garden's first lizard, this little raptor will have access to plenty of prey.

*Did you know that if two people are breaking into a car with a coat hanger in Downtown Baltimore, and one of them is a laughing girlie sitting on the hood of the car, the many, many police who drive by as these two people are accomplishing this task will not stop to see if they are criminals, or to see if they need help, but rather, the police will smile and wave as they drive by?


shiloh said...

I remember you saying that Robb had made a batch of homebrew as therapy but I hadn't concidered breaking and entering as therapy. :)

Anonymous said...

Recumnbant trike- my husband has the exact model you are considering, in red too. He also has some balance problems and can no longer ride a two-wheeler. The trike is great and will not tip over, but has two downsides: it's very heavy and VERY expensive.
Rose in Ohio

Mr. Bojangles said...

You two are doing great things to wake people up to the reality of accessibility issues. Thanks!

Eclipse said...

I mentioned your search for a recumbent trike to a friend of mine today, and he recommended a guy in Alameda and couldn't speak highly enough about him. His name is Zach at Kaplan Cycles, Alameda, CA. A Google search turned up : (510)-522-BENT (2368) My friend says this guy really knows his stuff and could be a big help to you guys in your search. I think it's a great idea. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

hey kids,

ok, so it was a few days ago, but i am responding to your challenge, i am still here! enjoying hearing of robb's progress, and lovely to read about what both of you are up to. wanted to tell you that an actual eagle hang out on my street the other day! i was at work, but there was an article in the sun and a photo, he landed on bolton street ( a block uyp from my apt.) and stayed for about 2 hours. he was a very young eagle, his headfeathers were still brown (not white yet) , but there's no mistaking his majestic overall shape! the theory was that he must have eaten a big lunch and wasn't up to flying, he had tried to take off a few times, and had no obvious injuries, he seemed fine, probably just felt a little bloated! later he flew away just fine, as the "official bird people" were on their way to come take a look!
anyhoo...i thought it was so cool and certainly must be a good omen somehow. and it made me think of you guys and your love for the birds! i, too, am a big fan of the eagle, and lisa you know its one of scorpios ruling creatures!
wishing you the best with healing, living, creating and everything else.....yay for big toes wiggling too!
lots of love,

ziska said...

Kestrels! We have quite a few up here in the mountains- they are spectacular fliers. The one cent postage stamp is currently a kestrel- very pretty little picture....I think I'd have to have a strobe to catch a photo in flight...

Lisa and Robb said...

Wow! What a cool story, Donna!,0,7669964.story?track=mostviewedlink

Bald Eagles keep their juvenile brown coloring until they are about five years old, after which time both the and females get the famous "bald" patterning.


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