Cottage is not a handicap-friendly place

    Throughout my life, I have understood the need for handicap-accessible buildings, stores, sidewalks, etc. I just never appreciated how important they were to people who had issues with walking or movement.
    To me, it was just a nice courtesy for those less fortunate than myself.
    I now have a greater appreciation for the efforts that people who have handicaps must go through in their everyday lives. Just getting around your home can be difficult.
    My understanding all began with the “tear down” at the bass tournament site back on July 29, where I was working with a group of gentlemen starting to take down the stage and surrounding stands.
    I was in the process of removing screws from a section of speaker towers that were attached to the main stage when the platform I was working on collapsed under me.
    A little shaken, and with a slightly sore ankle, I thought I’d successfully walked the sprain off. Through the afternoon, however, I began favouring that ankle more and more.
    By early evening, when I finally knocked off for the day, I had a noticeable limp.
    It was upon awakening the following morning at the cottage that I discovered my ankle and foot looked more like a large curved bologna than a foot. I began to think that maybe I had hurt myself more than I first thought.
    Even the sheets hurt as I went to roll out of bed and stand up. The searing pain shot me back down. I began wondering how I would walk out of the bedroom.
    I hobbled and held on to walls, chairs, railings, and whatever else I could find to ease the pain of getting about. It was excruciating leaving the cabin and venturing to the outhouse.
    I spent that hot Monday with my leg propped up and my wife answering my every beckon and call.
    By Tuesday morning (July 31), with no reduction in swelling and the foot and ankle being just as tender to any pressure, I agreed to check out emergency services at La Verendrye hospital. I only had to hobble down to the boat, climb in, and then get back out again at the landing.
    At La Verendrye, I was quickly met by a nurse, put into a wheelchair, and wheeled into a waiting room to see a doctor. A few minutes later after checking out the ankle, I was taken into X-ray.
    The end result was that the ankle was not fractured, but severely sprained. The remedies were crutches and rest.
    If I could get to town without any help, having crutches to navigate and get back up to the cottage would be no problem—or so I thought.  The first hurdle was getting back into the boat and then out again.
    The docks proved equally fun. Where do you put the crutch? Definitely not on a crack!
    I had never looked at the ground so carefully before. Going uphill, on a path criss-crossed by tree roots, jutting stones proved to be a real obstacle course. I kept losing my balance.
    I would place the crutches down, only to discover that one side ended up lower than the other on the narrow path that would cause me to swing the wrong way and end up off the path.
    Just moving around rocks was a chore. On Tuesday, I was soaked from sweat just getting back up to the cabin from the dock. Crutches take work.  They require energy.
    Flat surfaces and stairs are easy; cabin paths are a nightmare. Rocks, stumps, and narrow paths are real obstacle courses.
    Late in the afternoon, I made my way back down to the dock for a swim. It was tortuous, but the water was wonderful and I cooled off. I then faced the climb back to the cabin—and I was hotter than before the swim.
    I am not sure if it is easier to go uphill than down.
    Wooden walkways have never looked so good as they do now in my mind’s eye.

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