Much of the modern way of teaching has done away with rote memorization and placed critical thinking and problem solving in its stead. I see the benefits of both. I particular like the idea of teaching children how to solve problems in all areas of study. They grow to be more independent adults. I’m not sure I ever had lessons, but I know I’ve become a problem solver – especially after MS appeared on the horizon. I’m constantly trying o figure out better ways to accomplish tasks. Yesterday was a good example.
I had a hairdresser’s appointment, and I began my feeling of dread several days prior. I really do enjoy the experience of having my stylist wash, cut, highlight, and fashion my tresses, but the getting there and moving around always exhausted me. I tried to analyze this situation and figure out ways to make it less of an ordeal. Usually, my husband drove me there – it’s only seven minutes away. The salon is on the main street of the business district, and there’s parking on both sides of the street. When I used to drive myself, if I couldn’t find a parking place in front of the store, I’d drive around to the parking lot behind the stores. The problem with that, though, was there were a series of steps to get from the lot down to the back entrances of the shops. While I could still walk without difficulty, the steps never posed too much of a problem. Now, it’s a different story.
So, my husband always got a nearby space on the street. If he parked correctly, the car was flush to the curb, and it was hard to get leverage to pull myself from the car to the pavement right next to me. He began to leave a little space between the car and curb, and I could get out right onto the street. Unfortunately, then I’d struggle to get up on the curb and sidewalk. There are also decorative brick areas before the sidewalk, along with pipe toppings and plants. It was an obstacle course, and I’d be worn out by the time I got into the salon. Then, I’d have to reverse the order when I left. The rest of those days found me sitting in an exhausted heap.
I knew there had to be a solution, and I donned my thinking cap. The street parking just wasn’t working, so what are some other alternatives? I thought about the back lot, but even with my husband’s help, I knew it would be dangerous. There are no handrails, and the steps have some crumbling concrete in some sections. When I used to go that way, I’d use the stairs behind the store next to the salon. The building was longer, and I could lean on the concrete wall of the store. But when I got to the back of the salon, there was a knee-high wall between the buildings. So, I’d sit on the wall and swing my legs over to the pavement. What a fiasco!
It was while I was thinking about my old ways that a thought popped into my head. My husband could park in the lot but closer to the corner. Then, he could wheel me around in the transport wheelchair with my walker hooked on the back. It took two minutes for him to wheel me to the street, go around the corner, past three shops, and have me arrive at the front door. He opened the walker and I got into the shop easily. Since I didn’t have to use up energy, I had plenty to spend in maneuvering between stations inside. I was amazed at the difference. I could carry on some fun conversation, I wasn’t fretting about my next move, and I was relaxed. When I was finished, my husband came back and reversed the process. It was great, and we both laughed when we saw what a difference it made.
I guess I was a knucklehead not to have figured this out earlier, but at least I proved that I can still be a good problem solver!