lock out

I recently posted about the accessible door to my building being locked for an event.  I have since found that the security guards in my building had started locking the door routinely in the evening.  That is, the building is still open, services in the building are still accessible for anyone who doesn’t need that door, they are just not accessible for anyone else because the guards locked them out.

Why?  I asked.  Of course I did.  The guard told me “They told us to start locking it to save energy, but now that I know you need it I won’t lock it until I see you leave.”

Um…..no.  So I wrote to the building manager, who initially thought I was saying the accessible door was locked when the building was locked (?!) but said he would look into it once I explained that I meant only the accessible door was locked during operation hours.  A few days later, I checked back in. I was told that the building had no such policy but that one of the guards had proposed that they start doing locking the only accessible entrance to the building after the guards noticed that “too many non-disabled people were using that door….” and they wanted to save energy.

Savor that for a moment.  Let it sink in.

This isn’t the first time I’ve seen accessible come up against “environmental”.  In the summer, the powers that be at this same building decided they would set the air conditioning system to less cool “to save energy” and would shut it off at 5:00 because “no one is in the building then in the summer”.  This was sent out just after an email about employee summer hours, where you can opt to work late 4 days a week then have the 5th day off.  So much for no one in the building after 5:00.  The air conditioning email was peppered with environmental rhetoric, but it was clear that this was about money.

I’ve encountered it more casually too, a fellow grad student once chastised me for taking “the lazy box” (elevator) instead of the stairs on a day when I was in so much pain and so dizzy that I had barely made it in to school.  I guess that one wasn’t so much about environmentalism, but about fitness. Both appeals (to environment, to fitness) involve people assuming some higher ground to justify the ignorant and marginalizing behavior.  Both involve people making groundless and hurtful assumptions about other people’s abilities and motivations.  They are similar in that they are both justifications for discriminating against people with mobility impairments.  And while people have the right to hold their ignorant views, they don’t have the right to impose them on everyone.  They don’t have the right to lock the fucking door.

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15 Comments

  1. Oh, I was savoring that! It reminds me of seeing people who walk on 2 legs use the handicap stall in the bathroom when 10 others are available. Do they really need the same amount of space that someone in a wheelchair does? Ugh.

    I so give up on the normies out there, but good for you for speaking up about the damn door. If it happens to be a problem again, contact the city’s building code dept. because it’s actually against the law to lock it in the event of a fire. Effers!

    I got a former rental back home condemned as I was moving out based on HUGE code violations, so this is just my thing. I think I mentioned I had to take a codes class, but that was years later. I was savoring that too. Lol! I seriously wanted to become a building inspector after that and write everyone up for their violations.

    Reply
    • Ah! I knew there was some city department I could get involved if I had to, I just couldn’t think of which one. Thank you! it totally is. Fire, or honestly, we work in a school setting. We have “shooter drills”. It’s a reality.

      I’ve used the handicapped stall when I’m dizzy so I can hold the railings, when my hips are unstable and I need something to hold onto so I don’t sublux while sitting (some days are that bad), and when I find that the other stalls are so small, I’m going to pull something out of place contorting around the closing door without smacking into an oversized toilet paper dispenser. I blame that in part on the design of some stalls and in part on my horrible proprioception (just walking into my bedroom doorway yesterday in fact, big bruises). There was a rest room I considered to be the “death trap” at my grad school university, in the student services building. A brand new building and these ridiculously tiny damned stalls. I’m not a big girl, and I really could NOT use them without getting hurt. After the second time I nailed myself off a corner getting in and out, I said “fuck this” and use the handicapped stall routinely. One of my least favorite things in life is being rescued after passing out in a public restroom (been there, done that). Pulling things and smacking limbs for me often means enough pain that I do pass out.

      Reply
      • Oh, you have a valid reason to use those stalls! It’s like the elderly who need the hand rails there. That wouldn’t bother me one bit. What I see at Wally World (nasty bathrooms), etc. are people who just don’t want to wait (often employees), moms who take their 6 kids in there, or able-bodied people who like big spaces because they fly around the store, hence they can maneuver just fine. Yeah, I guess if I had kids I wouldn’t want them to be alone if I went into the stall, but having kids is a choice. There used to be a parking stall (sign) at my CVS for pregnant women that they took down. Yes! If I can walk across the parking lot in this freaky neighborhood, then so can they. Since when did pregnancy become a disability? Get some damn birth control lady! Everyone in this city is pregnant with a line of kids in tow, so rather sick of it. And their EBT cards and WIC and yada, yada!!!

        Really on a roll tonight. :/

      • LOL, I have a picture of me standing in front of the “parking for pregnant” sign at my local CVS in Ye Olde New England Outback. I don’t think you can see the PICC line in my arm, but it was taken during the IV antibiotic treatment for Lyme. I was so annoyed by it. In my picture, I’m being a total dick…standing with my hands in my shirt, pushing it out like I’m preggers and giving the camera a stupid look. Not a glamour shot, but makes me laugh every time I see it.

      • LOL! Figured that would bug the hell out of you. They should just swap it out for sick people (no need to explain the lack of wheelchair). Ugh, bet you were having a really crappy time during the Lyme treatment.

      • I was. Needles in my veins is not something I love, IVs that stay in = extra not love. So a month of a line that went all the way up my arm and into my chest = so creepy. If I thought too much about it, it kinda freaked me out. And if I put it too much out of my head, I forgot to take my line maintenance stuff with me if I was going to be out.

      • Oh, that sounds so freakin awful. So sorry!!! I would be totally freaked out too and when I’ve had IVs, they make my arm hurt really badly–like a heavy, throbbing feeling. I had one in my hand when I popped a cauterized suture 2 wks after my tonsillectomy and had blood spurting out of my mouth (rather EDS-y) and had a huge hematoma from it (also rather EDS-y). I was 21 and if only I had known that was not normal.

      • The insertion was deeply traumatic. I told the interventional radiology team that I don’t react well to venipuncture, I explained that I’d passed out from IVs frequently, and told them what happened when I passed out, and asked for a sedative. “That’s not part of the protocol” the radiologist told me, repeatedly. So the day came, they took me in and told my boyfriend I’d be out in 10 to 15 minutes. More than 2 horrible hours later, they wheeled me out drugged and drained, plastered in sweat, semi-conscious, and on a monitor…it turns out that the old vasovagal reaction got triggered while they were about halfway up my left arm with the line. Because I can “vagal” for a long time – going in and out of something that isn’t really full consciousness, and because I convulse when I lose consciousness, the first insertion was a bust and they had to remove the catheter with nurses laying across me to hold me down, then start an IV with my now totally collapsed veins so that they could drug me the rest of the way out, put me on a monitor for my vitals (which were shitty, as happens when I vagal) just to try the other arm. I ended up with the PICC line in my dominant arm, which is much harder not to use in all the ways you can’t use an arm with a PICC line in. I now have two scarred biceps, I refer to them as my crucifixion stigmata. I recall saying in recovery to some medical provider “I’ll bet the next time someone says ‘I need premedication’ you guys listen…” It was really terrible – I considered suing them over it but was so worn out from the neurolyme that I decided I didn’t have the stamina for a legal battle. I’m sure they bank on shit like that. It’s experiences like this that now make me unhesitatingly call the patient advocate any time I feel like medical staff are acting with the same level of careless regard that this radiology team had.

      • Holy Christ. I hope you NEVER have to go through that again!!! I get the vasovagal crap from my father (the crappy ANS genes) and while it’s not as bad as what you went through (and seems to have gotten better with time), I was passed out in a room I got thrown in for a couple hrs after getting the Mirena 11 years ago for who knows what reason and instantly started to give birth to it (and then the vasovagal response). That doc was such a bitch when I somehow got home and had to get a ride back by 5 pm to get it removed. She insisted IUDs were not contraindicated in women who haven’t given birth. Lie!!! So, I hear ya…

      • If ever there is a procedure like that indicated, I will not do it without medication. Actually, the thyroid biopsy was a good example….they took me a lot more seriously. Possibly because I referenced this awful PICC placement, and put my history of passing out in writing. I convinced them to start an IV line before they got going (not usual but the doc was like “oh, yeah, let’s just go ahead and do it”) and I got breaks for more valium and cold cloths.

        Oh, the mirena insertion sounded awful. I had mine done during surgery, but I gotta say, my post-op pain on that one was through the roof. Vico-profen didn’t touch it. I figured it was from all the endo implants they removed but now that you mention how bad your body reacted to the mirena, I wonder…

      • I need to read your post but had to go to bed early last night (and didn’t sleep) and had PT today and can’t see for crap as I had my sclerals in (and feel like crap). Argh.

        So, really quickly–if you were able to keep the Mirena in, it was just the post-op pain. This was done w/o a local or anything and is a no biggie in women who’ve given birth (per step-father), but was a freaking mess. My body was literally have uterine contractions to try and expel it (imagine cramps x 1,000), so I actually know what labor is like! Fun! So, if it felt like that and you therefore needed it removed ASAP (I waited 8 hrs like an idiot), then that’s what it was. On the other hand, some childless women can get IUDs, but they’re also contraindicated in EDSers due to tissue fragility. I still don’t know how I let that doc talk me into it. I guess because it was new and I had great insurance from the city of something. It was when the EDS was coming on so probably accelerated it all! Ugh. :/

    • Woo, I just found the department I need to complain to, and the complaint form as well. Saving that shit! Thanks for the tips for search terms. Navigating state websites can be daunting without a bit of guidance. 🙂

      Reply
      • Yippee and no prob! It’s usually the city, however, and they employ the building inspectors and have the building code department. I just called when I had the issue with that apt (where I found MM) and the guy drove over that day, but small burb near Seattle. He had a really good time with that old Craftsman and slumlord. Hahaha. I actually learned about this at a very young age because my dad was a contractor and had to deal with the bldg inspectors at each stage of construction.

        In case you need the city site, they may have separate departments for residential, commercial, etc. where you are. You’d want the IBC vs. IRC, latter is residential. Omg, you should learn about how a high-rise hotel has to be built (back to means of egress) due to people not knowing where they are in the event of a fire. Holy codes! Even the textiles have to meet a fire rating in terms of the interior design. Anyway, I would totally contact them if needed because it’s really not an ADA issue with them, it’s a way of getting ALL people out of a burning building and they have a huge book of codes that no one gets past. Actually, the best would be to tell your local fire station about that door. Oh, they’d get really pissed! 🙂

      • Up here in Big Northeaster City, we are THE reason for those codes about locking doors. Ever heard of the Coconut Grove fire?

      • No, I haven’t but will Google. Having an oddly better eye day. The code is actually international, so modern countries who follow it use the same book–or all parts of the US, for example. Then we have the issue of older bldgs being grandfathered in, though. Of course, some of it is just odd (how far apart electrical outlets need to be), and some deals with keeping bldgs up in earthquakes, etc. (think Japan), but the means of egress was the HUGE reason for the Int’l Building Code per my teacher, who slept with that book under his pillow. I think I mentioned him–a real stickler there. I have it in my storage pod, although I can’t read print now and new editions come out. I just had to keep it!!!

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