Shopping for birthday gifts with an amputee

My mother hates shopping! She’s an amputee and dislikes (intensely) having to use a wheelchair to traverse the cavernous hall of one of our major shopping malls. It’s just too much to traverse with her crutches. Of course, she even hated shopping when she had two legs. When she was a business executive, she used to go shopping once (maybe twice) a year to buy suits, accessories and whatever else she needed. That was it.

However, being the loving daughter that I am, I coerced her into a day of shopping & lunch. I was determined to get her new clothes for her birthday. She grudgingly consented because, as she said, “Well, it’s one way to spend time with you!” Talk about a guilt trip!

We arrived at the mall - just as the heavens opened and down came the rain. There was NO COVERING so we both got drenched as I dropped her and her wheelchair off at the curb, then I parked the car.

As we wandered through the myriad of stores, we searched for blazers, slacks, shoes and belts. Only SOME of the stores had spacious handicapped accessible dressing rooms so she could wheel in and easily change clothes. They had grab bars and bench seating. While at other stores, they had no special dressing rooms but we attempted to squeeze the wheelchair into the fitting room, anyway. What a nightmare. My Mom got so fed-up, she threw the clothes on the floor and said, “Let’s just get the ____ out of here.”

When we finally found 2 items (only) to buy, we approached the cashier to find about 15 people waiting in line to pay. The whole time my Mom was grumbling about waiting in line and how she hated shopping.

One good deed came from the day. When we stopped for lunch we met a gentleman, also in a wheelchair and also an amputee. He approached Mom and asked her about how she managed in a wheelchair and crutches. He was so unhappy, didn’t want to go on and just generally seemed to be really at a low point. He didn’t know any other amputees. How was he going to live, etc. My mother, very gently explained to him that he had to get all the information he could and should definitely join a support group for amputees. She strongly urged him to contact the Amputee Coalition of America , which is a fabulous national organization supporting amputees, offering advice, peer counseling, and loads of information . Mom has been a member for over thirteen years and has attended several of their national conventions. She was also on their board. I do think she helped this man to become pro active about his situation and to realize that his life need not be so bleak. My mother is a great example of that—she’s active, does her own gardening and home repair projects. As she says, for an old one legged broad (she’s 75) that’s not all bad!

P.S. We did have a great time together after all.  |  digg it!  |  reddit reddit!  |  Google!

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