I just finished clearing my driveway of over a foot of snow. Welcome winter! I moved into this house last spring, so this is my first winter here and I do not yet have a snowblower or any other way of cleaning my driveway other than muscle power. I’m very grateful that I’m still able to clear the drive at all! However, I know there are family members and friends who will tell me I have no business shoveling snow…I’m disabled.
Having a disability does not mean I have to give up on the things I can still do and let others do them for me. I know there are some people who will say that I’m taking risks with shoveling since I have severe osteoporosis and my bones are literally like Swiss cheese. The thing is, what keeps my bones strong is exercise, so it’s a double-edged sword; if I shovel, I take the risk of a bone-breaking, but when I shovel, I make my bones stronger. Kind of weird isn’t it: dammed if you do and dammed if you don’t!
The thing is, independence is very important to me, as it is to most adults, including those with disabilities. We want to do what we’re still able to do. I am forced to acknowledge that I can’t do everything anymore, but I can still do what I’m able to do, and I want to do just that!
As I shoveled, I thought about the people with disabilities who aren’t able to shovel their driveway clear. Those who are in wheelchairs and have to fight to get over drifts just to get in or out of their homes. Those who need to get groceries but can’t get out of the house. Those who make it to the store, but find the parking lot is so full of slush or snow that they can’t get inside. What do they do? The best they can, I imagine.
We might all take a moment following this storm to check on our friends and neighbors and make sure they’re okay. If they need help shoveling and you can’t help, call Disability Network/Lakeshore, and we’ll do what we can to connect them with the resources they need. You can reach us at 616-396-5326 or by going online to www.dnlakeshore.org. Oh, and be sure to enjoy this beautiful winter weather!