Our family is fortunate to live in a large high rise near many amenities and only minutes from downtown Toronto. Our family is not so fortunate to be caught in the middle of an elevator technician strike that is paralysing the entire province. Three children, ages six years, three years, and 18 months and two physical disabilities means we need elevators.
Since May 1, 2013, the official start of the elevator technician strike, we’ve watched the three elevators that service our 17 story building sealed shut with ‘out of service’ signs plastered across them. Property management post notices advising people to leave a few minutes early and take the stairs. If we’re lucky there’s an elevator working, sort of. Once a superintendent physically forced open the elevator door to let me on, body slamming and prying at the door to open it. Fortunately, he was also able to body slam the door shut and take me to my floor.
Any phone calls to the superintendent result in being told to take the stairs. And this is fine, if you are able to. We are not.
In our family two out of three children have what our pediatrician calls a ‘certified physical disability.’ Three year old Little Miss Adorable has Prader-Willi Syndrome. She is little, cute, and has very low muscle tone. She can’t walk or stand independently, never mind do stairs. Little Miss Adorable now motors around in a walker. Nearly six year old Mr. Sensitive has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a condition that means his muscles are weak, his legs cramp painfully with too much exercise, and he will eventually lose his ability to walk. Right now he can do stairs, sort of. He hangs on to the rail and lifts a foot up and hauls his body up to the next step. Imagine going up a flight of stairs this way.
The other day we made it up to the tenth floor, step by painful step. All the elevators were out of service. We tried waiting for a technician to arrive, phone calls to the superintendent resulted in being told ‘the service people are on their way.’ They were ‘on their way’ for 10 hours. We gave up waiting and strategized. I started up the stairs with Baby Dunk and Mr. Sensitive, going at our snail’s pace. Hubby raced up 17 flights of stairs carrying Little Miss Adorable, locking her in our apartment with Barney videos for company. Hubby then raced back downstairs to scoop up the exhausted Mr. Sensitive.
Baby Dunk made it to the tenth floor before he sat down and refused to move. Mr. Sensitive was crying. Neighbours offered to help carry stuff or kids and came back down the stairs offering ice water. By the time we got to our apartment my knees were killing me and I had a new appreciation for Hubby as he carried 50 pound Mr. Sensitive up stairs.
Here’s where I’d normally end a post with a humorous twist or conclusion. And I can’t, because we’re still stuck in our apartment waiting for the elevators to be fixed. All I can talk about is an appreciation for those who suck it up and help others. So this is a thank you to the people who pause while trudging up or down endless flights of stairs and help carry out stuff or our kids. And a big thank you to those that listen and are supportive.