Here's a picture of the toilet at the train station near to my office. Notice how the handrails on the left are so far away from the toilet? Notice how high the handrail is on the right? Well, maybe you don't know this, but I don't think that this toilet is built for someone who is a paraplegic. Getting on the toilet would be easy, but with the handrails so far apart, I don't thing that I'd be able to take off and put my pants back. Even though it's not a pretty site, I bet you've never thought about how someone like me can take my pants off and pull them back up if I can't stand up. Anyway, that talk is a whole separate blog.
Now, before my regular readers wonder why I've moved off cure to talk about toilets, I'll tell you why.
While I was first in hospital, I swore that I would stamp out problems like this. My friends used to joke that I'd be at the local ward office everyday with pictures of busted up road or ramp cuts that were no good for wheelchairs and threatening to withhold my little bit of tax for inaccessible areas.
So do you know what I did about this toilet and it's poor accessibility? Nothing.
So now you think I've become discouraged, right?
Well, no. I just decided to use my fight for something much more important; a cure for spinal cord injury.
See, before I left the hospital I had already started this blog and little by little met other activists and decided that my energy should be spent on cure.
So, are inaccessible toilets and roads unimportant? No, but there are a lot of other organizations and groups fighting for this; my job is to battle for cure.
Why not do both you ask?
Because whenever I see organizations who try to improve the quality of life AND cure, they inadvertently end up on quality of life as the main or only part. Just look at the Rick Hansen Foundation.
It's easy to fall into the 'quality of life trap' as I call it.
Why? Because the results are instantaneous. It looks like you've accomplished something right away. Immediately you receive praise for your hard work and immediately improve the quality of life for many people.
I'm not saying that improving quality of life is unimportant, I'm just saying that when you try to do both, cure falls by the wayside.
Just my opinion, but it's the reason why I left the toilet problem alone. I know that after I get one toilet fixed I'll start carrying around a camera to take pictures of broken concrete and asphalt. And where will that leave my cure work? By the wayside along with every other organization that tries to do both.