I need help showering and getting dressed in the morning because of the loss of fine motor movement in my hands. I cannot do belt buckles, buttons, or zippers anymore, so I am dependent on my wife to do that for me. Combing my hair, scratching the back of my head, cleaning my glasses is now a luxury of the past. I have noticed that handicapped people sometimes have hairs and dandruff on their shoulders, and food stains on their clothing. To my dismay, I see that I have it too at times, because I am not able to brush it off with my clawed hand. Sometimes I put my arm over the stain to cover it up. The other day someone shook my hand in a friendly greeting while I was holding a cup of coffee in the other hand. He shook it so hard that the coffee spilled all over my clean white shirt, tie, and dress pants. I felt like all that I had left of my dignity was my neat appearance, and now that was gone too! It was an honest mistake, but this was the first time I felt anger, not at God not at that man who shook my hand, but just grrrrr! It all boils down to pride, something I need to learn to let go of.
Another thing I notice is that some people bend over and talk louder to you than they did before, using a patronizing tone. Just because you cannot walk anymore, does not mean you are now hard of hearing or now have difficulty understanding. Having a separate handicapped accessible bathroom in a public building sure is nice if you need assistance. A handicapped stall in the men’s room doesn’t cut it when your wife needs to help you! I refuse to use the handicapped stall in the women’s bathroom, so I just grit my teeth and bear it until I get home. (Just a little hint for those who are building new churches.) I don’t mean to sound like a whiner, but maybe when you read these things it may make you realize, what a privilege it is to be independent and to be able to do things yourself. It is important for a handicapped person to be treated with dignity, respect, and to make provisions for them to have maximum independence. I hope it helps you to work with the handicapped in your community.