Saturday, December 04, 2004

Social Cripple/ Enjoy Every Sandwich Saturday December 4 2004

Having broken my heel in a freak accident in Prague on November 12th I`ve had to struggle manfully on crutches since that ill fated(ill-footed) day.
One advantage of being unable to walk and being confined to a wheel chair is the ease with which one can pass through security checks and long lines of fellow passengers at various international airport terminals.Apart from the uncomfortable envious glares and the odd overzealous guard feeling under the seat for the 2 kilos of semtex and 5 kilos of drugs I would recommend this mode of transport.
As for crutches well thats another story.The old wooden pair I was outfitted with at Yogoto Hospital here in Nagoya have little in the way of padding and cut deeply into my tender armpits.It took a week or so before they toughened up to bear the weight of my frail atrophying body.Other joints and muscles also protested at being employed to lug me around.
I received a 30 minute hands-on lesson in crutches use from a rehabilitation nurse Hironori who thankfully possesessed more patience than English vocabulary.I practiced negotiating going up and down a set of stairs and other obstacles which require 2 different techniques and the concentration of a fighter pilot or F1 driver to avoid smacking into a wall or falling flat on ones face.
I didnt realise how valuable this lesson would be until 2 days later when I had to return to work.I have to hobble through 3 subway stations and 1 JR train staion on my way to and from work.Only 2 of these public utilities have lifts so each day Im confronted with a considerable mental and physical hurdle.
I must say the subway and train staff and the general public are very caring and tolerant as I clatter my way through the crowded commuter masses.My one bete noir are the old Japanese ladies who push past me or try to board the carriage as Im getting off or bear down on me in a crouched heads down position refusing to change paths forcing me to take evasive action,curse, stop completely or all three simultaneously.They seem totally indifferent to vacating the priority seating set aside for the less mobile or child-bearing members of society.If Japan is to become completely barrier free it should install more lifts and ramps at public facilities and cull or eradicate all old ladies from society.
These past few weeks have been an eye-opener in the sense that I never realised how much a burden lack of mobility and a physical impairment can be on the quality and enjoyment of your life.Even simple things I took for granted such as posting a letter,shopping or showering become onerous and exhausting.As for the outlook yesterday Friday December 4 I had the old cast removed and replaced by a newer one that is pushing (hopefully) my heel back into place.I`ll know more on December 17.
Enjoy Every Sandwich
To cheer myself up I bought a newly released cd (the title is above ).Its a collection of Warren Zevon songs sang by various artists.Its actually pretty mediocre with only a few reasonable contributions from Bruce Springsteen"My Rides Here" The WallFlowers"Lawyers,Guns and Money" and Adam Sandlers rendition of "Werewolves of London".I wouldnt recommend it, you`d be better spending your money on some of Zevons own earlier cds.Theres a string instrumental bonus track15 which is somewhat sombre to round the cd off but its hardly an essential purchase.

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