Last night, we went to the Saturday mass instead of our regular Sunday mass at 5:00 PM. We sat a row back from the designated crip section in the front of the side section, because the altar server bench was in said regular spot to make room for the annual nativity scene that’s been there as far back as I can remember (We moved to Texas when I was six, I’m 41 now.). There were four or five altar servers this mass, which is about the norm. I thought nothing of it. Yeah, the younger ones are cute in their oversized robes, but I’m not there for some pedophilia jollies. I’m there to be one with God and learn from the priest, who’s interpreting the Word from his perspective. Joey leaned over to me to draw my attention to the altar server closest to us. He was a boy we'd never seen, which is nothing new. A different mass, a different set of altar servers. What caught her eye and then our attention was the boy had double cochlear implants. Cochlear implants are surgically implanted electronic devices that provide a sense of sound to a person, who is profoundly deaf or severely hard of hearing in both ears. I’d heard of one being used, but this kid had two, which meant he had two hearing aids with two antennae attached to either side of his head…of course, with two receivers inside his head.
I know I talk about not staring at crips, but I couldn't help myself...this kid was fascinating.
This got me thinking about adaptive aids. Yeah, everybody sees our wheelchairs. I’ve got a Permobil M300 with tilt, recline seating and a Roho cushion to sit on, and Joey has a Permobil F3 with tilt, reclining seating and a J Active cushion to sit on…and, she HATES it. She was duped into getting the newest chair on the market for the time instead of going with her instincts to get a chair like mine, which is a mid-wheel as opposed to her front-wheel. You can’t miss us.
Behind the scenes, and our friends and family that have been to our house see these things, we each have a reacher to help pick things up from the floor or that are just out of our reach. The ones we have are old school, so they’re made of metal to last. They have a lever attach to a string that opens and closes the pincers the amount of squeezing. You say, why do you each have your own. Easy, Joey doesn’t like mine, because she says it’s too easy to squeeze. Hers was my brother’s, the force it takes to squeeze it is a little more.
I also have a rolling potty/shower chair. Joey doesn’t need it, because she’s able to transfer herself. I have a catheter to pee. Joey doesn’t need one. TMI, maybe, but I don’t shy away from life. I hope my readers don’t either. Anyhoo, since Joey and I have different cripnesses, we have different things we use to get shit done.
We even use our mouths differently. I always use my mouth as a third hand. Joey will sometimes, but not as much. One thing we both have is a hospital bed. We’ve pushed them together to make, essentially, a king-size bed. Even then, I have a special mattress on my side, because I’m prone to get sores. Joey has an eggcrate over her mattress.
And, we don’t necessarily need special silverware to feed our faces; although, rounded handles are easier to maneuver, at least for me, with our overhand hold. Joey also prefers straws to drink out of in case she gets startled.
Wow, who would’ve thought seeing a kid in church could open MY eyes to life.Bravo, Kid, I give you a standing O and bow to you.