Hardly anyone has seen inside his own eye, but with the right equipment someone can. An eye examination led me this week to Dr. Rosa Tang, neuropthamologist at the University of Houston multiple sclerosis eye facility. It may be the only such facility of its kind in the United States. The latest equipment and specialists in using each one plus a staff of thorough doctors and technicians makes the examination amazing. In addition, everyone there was friendly, and wonders of wonder, there were legitimate van parking places close to the ramp. On a bitterly cold day, this was important.
According to Lighthouse for the Blind one in every 20 persons has low vision, an amazing statistic if you don’t know you have low vision. Maybe you think everyone sees those letters as blurred or fragmented, or squiggly (my non-medical term). Also amazing on the internet and elsewhere are the number of assistive aids available, everything from timepieces, telephones, talking books, reading machines to GPS programmed for persons with low vision. Never have the fixes for low vision been more abundant.
Yesterday I went to – make that tried to – see a new doctor. Trouble was that when I arrived, there was no visible handicap parking. Turned out there were two pavement-painted signs with cars parked on them and not a single slash line to accommodate walkers, caners or wheelchairs. When I called the doctors office reporting my plight, they suggested I park on the little, narrow street behind the parking garage. Two big ditches on each side of the street and lots of traffic. Sorry, folks, I’d be dead by now. When I got home, a message on my answering machine told me to please reschedule, and they would send someone down to park my van. Where? And do you think I’m going?
The sign handicap parking is right much of the time. Parking my van is when I feel VERY handicapped. (Yes, I hate the word, too, but it’s the government’s term.) It’s time for the committee serving persons with disabilities for the city of Houston to get on board, understand the parking needs, and translate that into information for builders who hire contractors to stripe parking lots and parking buildings. They need to know that wheelchair vans unload on the right side (a few from the back) and require eight feet for de-vanning. They need to know that if the slash lines are on the wrong side, you have to back into the parking slot, and this is very hard in traffic. I know because I do this, and you can still hear the honking from inpatient drivers waiting for me to squirm my van into that straight-on space.
I’m a writer and go to the post office a lot. The US post office in Town and Country does not now and never has had a van parking place despite my complaining to the management every time I go there. After ten years, I actually quit complaining and just try to diagonal park using two spaces. This is a dangerous practice because to get to the ramp I have to wheel behind parked cars, some trying to back out. I do this at the dentist’s office and many other places. Oh, well. I always like to live dangerously. Best places to park are Office Depot, Randalls, Rice Food and my church. Thank you.
The city either turns a blind eye to this issue or just doesn’t understand the problem.
Anyone else have this problem? What are you doing about it?