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The joys of getting old

As I wrote about just recently, Pop will be turning 71 on the thirteenth of this month. I can't even begin to imagine what 71 feels like. I heard someone once say "There is nothing good about getting old." That's probably true.

Age finally caught up to Pop. Without getting too detailed (because it's gross), his big toe on the left foot decided to stop working and it had to get amputated. The only bright side of this is that it's better to lose the big toe than the pinky toe because oddly enough, the pinky is what gives you balance when you walk - not the big one.

The spot where the toe once was did not heal properly. It started to get infected and so on. Not good. The whole reason the toe was chopped off in the first place was to stop infection and increase blood flow so the left foot could be saved.

Today (actually yesterday) he went into the hospital once again for what we jokingly call the "roto-rooter" job where they open up the blood flow. I think I've said that here before. Anyway, the doc called me two hours after the procedure and said the operation went through without incident but he wants to keep him overnight to make sure the infection stops. Or something like that. He mentioned some doctor-talk I couldn't understand.

The past few weeks have been nothing short of extremely difficult for Pop. He can drive, but he can't walk more than twenty feet at a time without having to stop. At stores and shopping places, if there isn't a powered cart, he can't go in because his damaged foot won't allow it.

I've come to a few realizations since this whole foot fracas.

It is very difficult to cope in this world without the ability to walk. Most shopping places do not have any means to provide anyone with disabilities means of mobility, such as a powered cart. Most of them only offer wheelchairs - but this is completely useless because the person in the chair doesn't have anywhere to put items, nor can they reach anything on shelves at standing level or higher.

Wal-Mart in particular falls short in many respects concerning the disabled. While they claim to put the customer first, they don't seem to give a crap about anyone with disabilities. They do have powered carts, but only two or three (remember, their "Super Centers" are big stores.. with only three carts?) When you get there, they're all taken. Sometimes they will conveniently forget to charge the batteries in the powered carts. In one instance, a Wal-Mart employee literally said "Sorry, there's nothing we can do." Yeah, thanks. Why don't you try making your powered carts available next time. Take your teenage employees, infuse a sense of responsibility to the customer and MAKE THINGS WORK next time.

People are idiots when it comes to handicapped parking spaces. These spaces are reserved for those who have limited mobility and idiot-teenager will think nothing of parking there just so they don't have to walk across a parking lot.

Society sees disabled people as a burden and couldn't be bothered with them. They see them as useless humps of flesh that would be better off not being around. I've even seen some instances where I'm following Pop around in his powered cart (to get the items he can't reach) and some younger kids that pass by sometimes crack a smile or even giggle at someone who's riding in the cart. Wow. We're teaching our kids great values these days, aren't we?

I can only hope the doctors work their magic so Pop can get back all (or at least some) of his walking ability. Crossing fingers. Otherwise, life will be nothing short of difficult for the remainder of Pop's days.

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