On Tuesday I helped my Mama run errands. At our last stop I told her I would go in the store and get what was needed because I knew she was exhausted. The van is modified so that I can ride in my power chair. It has two automatic sliding doors on either side. Behind the right-side sliding door is a ramp that comes down so I can get myself out of the van without assistance. Pushing the button for the right-side sliding door only resulted in the door going back about 6 inches. After trying again and getting the same result, panic began to creep in. My thoughts ran rapidly. How am I going to get out? I am going to have to go to the restroom eventually, but how if I cannot get out? (I transfer from my chair to the toilet and then back into my chair a lot of the time when I use the restroom for those curious) Do I have to sleep in here instead of my bed in my apartment? The reason I panicked is because it was 7:15 PM. After time for a repair person to come help us I thought. What now?
Taking my cell phone out of my pocket, I called the company that modified the van. I left a message with the service department. A few minutes went by without a callback. I took a deep breath and I talked with dad who told me the company has somebody on 24-hour call for emergencies like this one. I call again and push the button for the operator instead. She tells me they do have someone on call, but his cell phone is currently out of range. She assured me she would tell him it was an emergency when he called her back and that he would call me as soon as he knew we needed help. Thanking her I hung up. 20 minutes went by with no call. Remembering that there was a dealership for the make of the van close by I looked up their number.
When someone picked up, I explained the severity of the situation. He said see me as soon as you can. Mom and I drove to the dealership praying they could help us. After several minutes of trying, they told us we would have to go to the company that modified the van to get them to fix the problem. Taking my cell phone back out of my pocket I called the company back. I explained to the same operator who I was again. She tells me I talked to another person not her the last time I called, and she would relay the message along with the urgency to the person on call. At this point, extremely panicked is what I am. I explain the as soon as possible is preferable because I need to go to the restroom at some point. That explanation bothers her because it is a private issue. Totally confused, I tell her it is not a private issue, I am simply just trying to convey the urgency of our situation. She tells me she will let the person on call know. Hanging up after thanking her: I am completely frustrated. Tears start to sting my eyes. At this point, I had spent almost an hour and a half on my phone trying to get someone to help us.
10 minutes later my phone rang. Help at last it is the guy on call. He asked me where we were. When I tell him he says I will be there in 15 minutes and get you all fixed for now. Breathing a huge sigh of relief, I thanked him. 15 minutes later he does show up. He figures out it is the cord to the sliding door that is broken. Cutting it he tells us to bring it to the shop but to call him the next day and make sure he has the parts to fix it. We promised to do so and thank him profusely. Most of Wednesday is spent trying to get an appointment to have the van fixed. We finally do. At the end of Monday, the van will be in working order again. I shared this experience to explain what it is like when equipment that I need to thrive does not work properly. I used to get much more flipped out when this happened, but with maturity I manage it very well now with very few tears. Thriving is a choice I make every day. I must make that choice multiple times a day and it requires a bunch of bravery and perseverance on my part. I am told quite a bit I make thriving look easy the reality is thriving is anything but easy.