Shutins aren’t like you and I

Shutins aren’t like you and I

In my career, I have “visited” people who find it really hard or impossible to get out of their residence. It could be a physical or monetary/transportation limitation, or psychological one like agoraphobia. But whichever it is, they find their front door is locked on the outside. And they can’t get out. Not on their own, anyways.

The world used to have a different response to these shutins. The neighbours’d pick up groceries or take them a plate over from their table. The pastor of their church’d call by and see if there was anything they needed. Someone checked up on them. And in a disaster, you often hear on the media a call to check on the people around them who might not be ok on their own. The elderly, the disabled, the young parents who don’t have a car. And might need a way to evacuate that they just cannot do on their own. This message also comes out when there is a blizzard or heat wave. To check on people who are known to have respiratory or cardiac issues. But then we forget about them again.

And the shut-in goes back to coping as well as they can. They find their fixes or do without. They find their self-soothing rituals, and grow really dependent on them. They watch TV, listen to the radio, now they use the internet. They read, books or a magazine or paper. They play cards. Whatever it is and they get into pretty close to ritualistic patterns. Their day is mapped out.

And along comes you, knocking on the door. Unexpected. Or their ISP or TV has a glitch and their usual routine is now off kilter. And what seems like nothing to you, but a mere nuisance, is to them a catastrophy. And rightly so! They’re dependent on it. Remember, it soothes them.

They’re not at the bar having a drink, they’re not med-reliant. Or drug or attention seeking. They just want their programs on when they’re supposed to be. Uninterrupted.

Is that too much to ask?

Well yes it is, apparently. Nobody thinks about these people when they set crazy prices. Or have sloths doing the repairs no sooner than a week down the road. Which might take several days. But on their fixed income, they must pay full price for a service they need and isn’t working right. Does that seem fair?

Most companies don’t grasp how reliant a shutin is on them. They cannot wrap their heads around it.

Same as solicitors (sales, charities) never grasp that yes, they can reach you at supper, but who the EFF wants them to intrude on your meal??

Same as repair guys give you a window of half a day when they might show up and might get things done right in one go. And damn you for thinking of things like school, work, sleep (if you’re on shifts). Shutins have their day planned and it soothes them better than meds do. Single parents might have been up all night and finally gotten baby and them to sleep, and here you are… Demanding their attention, at more squally levels than their newborn if you try to say no.

Shouldn’t they get a say in when you drop by? Or they get to turn their phone off? Yes they need support, but why is it always on your terms?

What they need in a day is just as important as those meds doctors keep trying to shove down their throats. Just as important as nutritional food and socialization.

A way to self soothe that they can rely on. Why is that too much to ask? And all it takes is a little thought and empathy. Because they’re still a person with thoughts, needs and feelings who is just wanting a heads up when you’re on the way, and things to go right with their time usages.

It’s not depression or paranoia. They just have a different need than you do. So show a little grace and be reliable. And let them make their own time decisions. It’s all they have to control after all. Isn’t it?

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