Saturday, August 12, 2006

Pearl St at Decatur

This was the condition of the sidewalk on Pearl St at Decatur when I fell on it and was unable to get up. Neighbours rushed to assist me, but still I was unable to get up. Someone called an ambulence. Folks told me that another person had fallen in this same spot and was also taken to the Hospital in an ambulence, and told me I should sue the City. The ambulance came and refused to allow my service dog to accompany me. I was placed on a streacher, and it was lifted into the ambulence. The expression on my dog's face was so painful to see, she was literally beside herself, and trying to stay with me. One of my neighbours took my service dog back to my home, and tied her in the yard. The ambulence took me to the hostipal.

In the emergency room I was wheeled to a nice spacious space, and the Dr came and ordered exrays of my ankle. While I was waiting fior the results another woman was brought in, who had also fallen on the sidewalk. She told me she didn't see the hole she stepped in because it was covered with leaves. I was fitted with a small leg brace and crutches, and sent home in a taxi. However, I was in severe pain, which was unrelenting, and I called the Cambridge Commission for persons Wioth disabilities, to get a temp HP permit. The process was explained to me, and one aspect was the City's program required a 2 week wait. So, I want to the Registry of Motor Vehicles and got a temp HP permit in one hour.

I did not recover as hoped, for a long time, and the result of Physical Therapy was to make it worse not better. When they applied ice, tears flowed profusely down my face. I was unable to perform many of the exercizes without experiencing severe pain, and they scolded me for being lazy, and not following the routine. As I write this now, I remember how cruel they were, and never showed any understanding that perhaps, indeed, I was unable to do certain exercizes. Finally, an MRI of my neck was ordered, and the result was a one and a half page document filled with "remarkable" "events." I had a number of pre-existing conditions, including osteo-arthritis, spondelosis, bulging disks, etc. I also had three new fractures in my cervical vertebra. My physical therapy was terminated, and i was subsequantly dxed with cervical radiculitis. Inflamation of the nerve roots in the bones of the neck.

Gee, doctoor, I said, all this time I have been telling you my pain was rediculous, and I was just mispronouncing it! LOL You just gotta laugh at this! I want to emphasize, I was already disabled, and the fall did not cause my multiple disabilities, but it sure complicated it. In order to treat the inflamation of the nerve roots, an antiflamitory was needed, a medication I am not allowewd to take. I applied for, and was granted both a "permanent" HP plackard, and a HP space in front of my house. I continue to use a service dog, which is great for me, as I cannot hold onto canes and things, as the pain is not fwelt in the neck, but in the arms and legs. for example, one day I might have a "broken arm," of course, the arm is not broken, but the inflamed nerves in the neck send the signal to the nerve endings, and it can be different nerve roots at different times. This is also why I can't stand any josteling, or vibrations of any kind, so I don't use a "scooter."

I write this not to elicit sympathy, but to explain how serious injuries can be for people with disabilities. I was unable to 'catch myself" when I "lost my balance" on this section of the sidewalk, and the already terrible condition sustained severe injury unlike a "kid" might sustain. That is why, In Massachussetts, there is a section of the Building Code, 780 CMP Chapter 11, which "provides that all public buildings shall be designed to be accessible to, functional for and safe for the use by physically handicapped persons, in conformance with the Massachusettes Architectural Access Board's rules and Regulations (521 CMR) listed in Appendix A and promulgated by the Architectural Access Board, Executive Office of Public Safety." This quote is ferom the "code" shown to me yesterday in the City's inspectional services/building office. I had a copy made, for my scrap book!!

Although I fell in late 2002, and recieved my temp HP permit with an expiration date of 04/03/03, the sidewalk wher I fell was still not fixed when i took the photo above, on August 17, 2004!!

I took the photo, after I called DPW and Mayor sullivan's office to complain that the City's sidewalk repair program had skipped this known danger, and I wanted it fixed. The Mayor's aid did add this to the "list" and the City did come back an repaire it. But they "fixed it wrong." Although they fixed the crack, and straightened out the curb stones, they failed to correct the verticle displacement and the cross slope. Also, they ignored the fact that there was no level landing at the top of the curb ramp. This meant one would have multiple "challenges" in the built up environment to hurdle to avoid injury, and which presents an especial danger to one who already has physical disability.

I am very tired now, and must post this and soak in the hot water. Please leave any comments, and if you see some mistale I have made, please bring it to my attention right away.


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