Monday, January 17, 2011

Real Cold!!!

Today I heard on the radio that early this morning a sixty-something-year-old woman with dementia was taken to hospital and died there shortly after, from exposure to the extremely cold weather. She’d been out all night in the cold, and although she’d screamed for help and tried to get into a warm place no one would help her. I think they said she’d been knocking on doors and scratching on screens, but no one would even call 911. I’m not sure whether she was dressed for the weather or not, but even if she had been I’m sure she still couldn’t have lasted all night in that temperature and windchill.

What I really don’t understand is, if people could see her out there and hear her screaming for help, knowing how cold it was out there, why the hell didn’t they at least have the decency to pick up the phone and call 911? I think the only reason the police found her this morning was that someone she knew had gotten them to search for her, no one in that area had called them to report that a mentally-unstable woman was out in the cold screaming for help. Now, I know firsthand how cold, uncaring and lazy people can be, but it would have taken nothing at all for a resident or passer-by to call 911 and make sure someone brought her out of the cold.

Yeah, I’ve heard of the Kitty Genovese case in the 1960s, where a woman was killed and no one called the cops even though they heard her screams, and I think that later on some people reported thinking someone else had called 911. I think others had reported thinking the screaming woman wasn’t really being hurt but was just drunk or causing mischief or something. Maybe I’m totally wrong here, but I think the typee of scream you hear from someone who’s just playing games is far different from the scream of someone who's really being hurt. And even if you’re not 100% sure what’s really happening, you should still call 911 if you think there’s a chance someone is hurt.

Yeah, I know no one wants to call 911 only to find out that nothing bad was really going on, but I think it’s better to have your pride dented and risk a reprimand than to just ignore the fact that someone might need assistance. And please, don't assume that someone else has already called 911, or helped the person in some other way, because lots of times nobody has. As an example, a few years ago I woke up one night and heard what I thought was a series of gunshots. Since I’m blind I can’t look out the window and see what’s happening, and at first I debated with myself whether to call 911 or not. I did, and the next day I found out that there really had been a shooting in my neighborhood.

Anyway, I really hope that if people are reading this it’ll make them think better the next time they see, or think they see, someone who needs help. Even if you can’t do anything for the person yourself, or you just don’t want to get involved, at least call 911 or someone else who can help.

Same Old Me, Brand New Braces

Over the holidays I was given a couple generous financial gifts, and so I was able to get myself some new, wider shoes. While I was on the New Balance website trying to find the shoe style I currently wear, I also found that New Balance had knee supports and ankle supports too. I immediately thought, “Hmm, I wonder if these would help me”, and bought a pair of the cheapest ankle supports to try out. It turned out that they did help a little, so I went back and bought a pair of the heavier ankle supports and a pair of heavier knee supports that have stabilizers in them. These help a lot more, especially using the knee and ankle supports together. I also managed to find myself an upper body support to keep myself from slumping and leaning to the side so much, and this also helps a lot.

So now that I have these braces I don’t get tired as quickly and I don’t hurt as much or as quickly. The braces even help me when I’m just sitting, since they keep my legs in better alignment and keep my upper body from slumping and leaning so much. And they seem to give me better balance too. Whoo-hoo!!! Because of this I’ve been doing more exercises and walking. Yeah, I still get tired easily, but it’s such a big change for me to be tired and still be able to do stuff, rather than being so tired I can’t do anything but go lay down on the couch. And it’s so great to be able to exercise more, without being too tired to do anything else afterward.

One person I told this to said, “It’s like it’s a whole new you”. Well, not actually, it’s the same old me with some new equipment that makes me able to do more. I get the feeling that all my life people (not including the person I just mentioned) have assumed I was just lazy and didn’t want to exercise, even though they should have been able to see that I had trouble sitting up straight and my legs and feet were turned out. Just like people assumed I had a lot more sight than I really had. I’ve really always wanted to be able to exercise and walk, and yes, even run. So I’m the same old Maria I always was, but now I have some equipment that helps me do more. I think these braces are the best things to happen to me since I got my wheelchair in 2005. (Speaking of which, I even got a new wheelchair cushion - a bunch of them were generously donated to BBNC, the community center I use.)

Anyway, I’m hoping that gradually I’ll be able to walk more (without hurting and getting exhausted so quickly), and do other exercise too. So I’m still not making any New Year’s resolution, but I’ll just keep pushing myself like I always have.