Sandy Defeats Handicapped
Two weeks ago, I was leaving church on the Upper West Side, when the minister asked me to help a lady in a wheelchair who was wearing dark glasses. She was new and had come in to ask for help getting information since she was in severe pain. She had a doctor but could not reach him at the clinic. Because of the hurricane and the electricity problems, a trip to the eastside downtown was not an easy task, so she wanted to know if someone would be there. It took about twenty minutes, first on the phone then online. I tried calling 311 to find the name of the hospital…no luck, just automatic replies and then busy signals.
Then, she searched her pockets and found an appt. slip for the Manhattan Eye and Ear Infirmary. That number had no reply. Then I tried online, where I found there was an emergency service [but no phone number]. Finally, I noticed a pediatric section of the hospital listed and guessed that that would have the phone open if anything did. We were lucky and got an immediate reply and the nurse there checked and assured us that the emergency service was running.
To me, it was just an intellectual challenge, but to the woman in pain it was crucial. Not as dramatic as losing one’s home, perhaps, but another kind of storm story.