Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Adapting to the Times

I find it interesting to consider what life must have been like for my mother’s brother. He was the first known case of Kennedy’s Disease in our family. At that time, he was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy because doctors didn’t know about Spinal Bulbar Muscular Atrophy

His family lived on a farm in South Dakota. I’ve seen pictures of him in a wheelchair next to a two story farmhouse with five steps leading up to the porch. All the bedrooms were on the second floor. Outhouses were often the only facilities available, especially in the winter when pipes froze up. If you were wealthy, you might have a bathroom in the house.

There was no such thing as handicapped accessible around the farm or in town. No ramps, steps everywhere, few sidewalks and plenty of gravel or dirt roads. Wheelchairs did not appear to be very comfortable and many didn’t even fold up. The first commercially offered electric powered chairs didn’t appear until the 1950s. I envision the term ‘caregiver’ taking on an entirely different perspective in those days.

Somehow my uncle managed to maintain a reasonable and meaningful life.

Today, it is easy to complain about a business not handicap accessible, Or, one just modified to the minimum guidelines of the law. And, it is frustrating when no handicap parking is available.

I have written about ‘adapting’ in earlier posts. We adapt as the motor neurons die and the muscles atrophy. We don’t like what is happening. We often complain. Yet, if we are to maintain a meaningful life, we still must adapt.

I am just thankful that I live in a time where being handicapped is far less restrictive.

If interested, below are several posts on Adapting:

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