Amusingly, today I, the shortest person in class, worked with The Guy From The Bronx, arguably the tallest guy in class. We were in the Intro to Rehab lab, and we were supposed to do such things as practice educating people on the proper way to lift things by themselves, lift things with another person, do laundry with a bad back, and reach for things that are high up.
If you will realize that, when we are both standing on the ground speaking to one another, I will get a crik in my neck, you will have a better visual of how absurd it would be to pair us up carrying an object. I believe the teacher was pleased to see that we correctly addressed the situation on our own. How could we not? I’ve been the short one almost every single time I’ve helped carry something.
Then we get to the laundry, where we presume I have a bad back. He correctly shows me how to load the washer, and how to move laundry from the washer to the dryer. Then we get to getting the clothes out of the dryer, and shows me how to squat down and keep my back straight.
“But,” I say, “How about reaching the clothes in the very back of the dryer? How do I do that without bending my back?”
He got a rather confused look on his face. He squatted down and tried for himself. It was easy for him, naturally; he probably could have reached the back of the dryer from several feet back. Finally, flummoxed, he asked, “How can you not reach the back of the dryer?” (I would have to kneel on the floor, as opposed to squatting, in order to reach the back.)
When it came to the item on the high shelf, we were supposed to talk about using a step-stool. “Not,” the teacher cautioned, “climbing on the counter.”
“But,” I said, “My brother always says it didn’t hurt him the last time!!”
I addressed my deficiency in height by requesting he get the item down for me. The lab Assistant agreed that was a perfectly viable solution. Next I was supposed to teach him. If I had him climb on the stool, his head would have gone through the ceiling. I recommended he didn’t. The lab Assistant agreed that was good advice. Next, we examined what would happen if I did use the step-stool. If I went on tip-toes and my fingertips could only just reach the counter, I could reach the object. Otherwise, not. He recommended I not store things on the top shelf. The lab Assistant concurred.
When it came to turning patients during bed mobility practice, I was referred to by the teacher as tiny and petite. Petite I can swallow. Tiny made me laugh. Nonetheless, my handicapped length proved to be a hurdle there, as well, because although strength is generally not an issue for me, there were some actions that simply required more length. Helping someone sit up, for example. One arm is supposed to scoop the patient’s leg of the bed while the other arm goes underneath the patients armpit to lift them up. I can’t have an arm here and an arm there at the same time; it required helping someone sit up to be a two-person job.