Exhilarated from seeing the scenic views of Grand Falls, New Brunswick, we checked into the Quality Inn for a one night stay before continuing on our journey.
As the clerk looked up our prepaid reservation, I glimpsed the lobby behind me which had a flight of carpeted stairs leading to the second floor. I paused. Surely, there must be elevator access. When I was informed the hotel did not have an elevator, I held my breath. Maybe we have been assigned a first floor room. But, no, we were assigned a room on the second floor. Though it was only two stories, the thought of hauling our substantial cargo up the stairs overwhelmed me.
We would have to trudge Samuel’s concentrator, about 50 pounds of dead weight, his pack & play, and the pulse oximeter, along with all our luggage up the stairs and then down again in the morning. The black haired, 5’6 front desk clerk with olive complexion and dark brown eyes, didn’t know what she would be getting into when she offered to help us carry all our luggage to the upper level.
So, I did what I thought best by pulling out the “My son has special needs” card. I went on to further explain we would need to transfer my son’s oxygen equipment and was she sure there wasn’t something that could be done to have a room on the first floor. She hesitated and turned to her computer screen. I used the brief pause to pray while I made a mental note to check future hotel stays for an elevator.
Still looking at her screen, she commented, “I’m not supposed to do this, but I am going to move another guest so I can accommodate you.”
I offered my profuse thanks and accepted the room key. She informed me we could access our room from the parking lot. Even better. I was delighted to have our room so close to the van. Inevitably, I would need something from the van during the night.
Satisfied with the arrangements made, I joined my husband in the hotel dining room. Once seated, I took in my surroundings. Dark wood tables with matching chairs filled the center of the room. A man was eating alone by the window. Another couple was seated a few tables away.
From my back booth, I could see the restaurant clearly. Off to my right, a family had gathered for dinner. I could hear laughter coming from their table as I observed a portly gentleman in his mid to late 50’s with his wife who seemed to be a few years younger. Next to his wife sat a girl with brunette locks and looked to be about 17 years of age. Her body was cradled by a heavy black wheelchair. I assumed the boy to her right was her brother. His short beard gave him the appearance of being older than his sister. Perhaps in his early 20’s. He too sat in an even bulkier behemoth of a wheelchair.
I observed them throughout dinner. I could not help but observe this family enjoying themselves. At one point the young girl sounded as if she was choking on something. I looked at Ralph’s face and could see his whole body tense. If Samuel coughed like that, we’d have pulled out the suction equipment and intervened. But neither the girl or her brother had a trach. I wondered what the parents would do as this horrible hacking sound reverberated through the dining area.
The mom re-positioned the wheelchair but she didn’t seem worried. Perhaps, this is the normal course of things for her daughter. Within minutes, she cleared her throat and resumed her dinner. I breathed a sigh of relief.
At one point, Ralph looked at me whispered how good we have it compared to this family.
My conscience was pricked…not by my husband’s comment but by the thought that I’d pulled out my “special needs card” when I checked in. What if I’d displaced this family? Though, I’m pretty sure they were on the first floor because those wheelchairs couldn’t go up the stairs. And though, it would have been pretty difficult to get our concentrator upstairs; it would have been possible.
I was undone by the scene before me.
Have you heard the saying, “Someone always has it worse than you?” In this case, an example was in clear view. It was a reminder to be humble and realize I am not the only one who is a special needs mom. (Though oftentimes I may feel alone in this journey.)I was undone by the scene before me. Click To Tweet
I will confess we enjoyed our accommodations. (And, yes, I had to go to van to get something I forgot.) But what stays with me is the reminder to be slow to pull out my “woe is me, and I have limitations” card and think instead of how to creatively resolve situations. Or at least call ahead and be sure there are elevators available.
When was the last time you were humbled by your circumstances? Share your experience below. I read each one.
Written By: Evelyn Mann
Author,WIP, A Miracle In My Living Room