I have a story to share with you this week.

There once was a girl named Nancy who was blessed with a very healthy body. She had never been seriously ill, nor suffered any broken bones or even spend one night in a hospital.

She always knew her body would do exactly what it needed to do when it needed to do it. She expected nothing less. Indeed, she demanded it to perform at will and at peak performance.

It wasn’t arrogance. She knew she was blessed and was grateful each and everyday.

Then some years ago, her right foot started hurting. She lived with it for a long time because that’s what strong people do. Right?

Finally, Nancy decided it might be in her best interest to have her foot checked out. Enough of being strong. The first doctor said it would require surgery. What? Surgery? Impossible!

More time passed and the foot wasn’t getting better on its own. A second opinion was needed. This time she saw an orthopedic surgeon who said, guess what, “This requires surgery.” He proceeded to explain all of the gory details of what the surgery would consist of.  Nancy replied ” You might see again when I’m crawling. Maybe.”

The years continued to pass, her heel heights getting shorter and shorter. This for a girl who had always worn four inch heels like they were athletic shoes. Is there any wonder why she was having problems with her foot?

The day arrived when after a toe infection on her “sick” foot occurred, she realized the inevitable had to be faced.

I’m sure you realize that Nancy is me.

So two weeks ago, I was wheeled into surgery under general anesthesia.  My poor foot who had performed so well, under duress and for so long, was finally going to be fixed.

What you ask, does my story have to do with interior design? A lot actually.

As a designer, I’ve often had to solve design problems for clients or a member of their family who had a physical disability. The challenge being, creating a space that respected the disability while still being beautiful and functional for all.

I think about this while my right leg from the knee down has been trussed up like a turkey ready for the oven.

I think why haven’t I worn a blind fold to see what my home would be like if I couldn’t see. Or tried getting around on crutches, or maneuvered a wheelchair or walker? Only then can anyone truly appreciate the design challenges that can hinder or help someone with a physical disability.

I’ve been using a knee scooter, decorated with a very cool pinwheel on the handle bars, I might add! However, I didn’t realize how thick the carpet was, how electrical cords could get in my way, how easy it is to stumble on an area rug, or high a door threshold can be when I don’t have use of both legs and feet. Showering has been a struggle and don’t even mention stairs.

At some point in our lives, we or a loved one can have a physical disability that is hopefully short term or, God forbid, permanent. In either case, our homes have to be prepared to make this an easier transition and still have our homes support us in a beautiful,  functional, safe way.

For myself, I’m grateful my infirmity is only for a couple of months.  It has been a gift, however, to discover first hand what it’s like to not be in full control of my body. It will make me a better designer.

Even though there are no Manolo or Jimmy Choo shoes in my future, how blessed I am to have two feet to put into shoes at all.

It has given new meaning to what it’s truly like to walk in another’s shoes, if only for a short while.

As always, I’d love for you to share your own story on this subject on my Facebook page.

Until next time…

Blessings,
Nancy

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