Sharon’s Note: The epic continues. Anyone who’s had to go through any sort of disability, temporary or permanent, has gone through a phase where their uncertain how to accept help. To people who are experiencing this- Don’t get angry when people try to help you. If you don’t need help, politely tell them so. If you do need help, tell them calmly what you need, because they don’t know your situation. To the people who want to help- Please, be patient. Feeling helpless is not an easy thing. That being said, ask what specifically you can do to help, because just rushing in can do more harm than good. Warning: Author giving unsolicited life advice.
“Everyone is busy around here. I don’t want to call them away from their work just to open a stupid door.” I grumbled, not looking him in the eye. The door chunked closed behind me, as Frank called for me to hold it.
“Someone could find thirty seconds to come and open the door, Joy.” He crossed his arms. “I got here almost the same time you did and I just noticed you on the cameras.”
“I’m not helpless!” I snapped, immediately regretting it but standing firm.
Seth was not fazed. “I call someone to open the door every morning. Am I helpless?”
“No.” I mumbled. An apology hung at the tip of my tongue and I agonized over whether to give it or not.
I knew why he was doing this. I had over exerted myself last week doing something stupid. I had been carrying a box of observation logs upstairs. The elevator was slow and always smelled moldy, so I had elected not to use it. Stairs were hard for me, sapping my strength quickly, but I had managed to get the box upstairs. I’d even gotten back down, but by then I was so tired my bad foot was dragging. Two steps away from the handrail, I’d caught my toe on the carpet and didn’t have the strength to catch myself.
Face planting on the floor, I’d caused a nose bleed. Every able bodied person in earshot to come running, guns drawn, to see what the strangled noise and thud were. For the next five minutes I had to deal with fumbled attempts to help me get up before I was ready and people helpfully trying to pull my arm out of its socket when I did try to stand.
“Asking for help does not mean you’re helpless.” Seth shook his head. “Call next time.”
“I can do it on my own.” It was a last hurrah of contrariness before I just agreed to do whatever he said. For the next day or two, anyway.
“You do things yourself when you have to, but if there is someone to help, use them. Neither one of us has the energy to burn with this kind of petty little crap if we don’t have to. I trained you to think before you act.” Seth’s eyes drifted behind me a second before I heard the internal buzzer that signaled the door opening.
“Huh, you guys must not have heard me when I asked you to hold the door. Guess that legendary hearing isn’t as good as it used to be, huh, Old Timer?” Frank said jovial, a hint of sourness in his voice.
“Guess not.” Seth said, flatly. He maneuvered his chair so that he was facing the other way and started wheeling down the hallway. “Oh, and your new desk assignment has you next to Brian.”