Eyes and Independence
As I sit here in Room no. 18, eating my poached eggs on vegemite toast, I think back to when ‘room service’ used to be via the ‘hole in the wall’. There used to be an outside cupboard with a latch and you would hear the door open while still attempting to wake up around the time you ticked the box. I always had to make sure that where the delivery was to arrive, the view of me in my slumber wouldn’t be revealed. I’ve stayed in many motels (mostly country) and I certainly haven’t seen one of those cupboards for a long time. Room service is still an option but we do need to be clothed and feeling half decent to open the door to a fresh smiling face, who stands with the tray and hidden food underneath the metal round cover with a hole. I understand the hole is for the finger to remove the cover but I wonder if it didn’t have a hole whether the toast could still possibly be more than warm?
Over the years, hotel rooms have probably not changed that much. If a room has got a modern bathroom basin, it’s more than likely that the electric jug won’t fit very well under the tap faucet! There has to be a transfer of water to the jug to fill it to your preferred level. Lots of bathrooms now have the 3-in-1 soap dispensers on the wall which is clever but I’m not sure how the shampoo, conditioner and body wash differ from one another. I guess landfill would already have a lot of those mini bottles from motels only half used and the content beginning to dry up.
I’ve always travelled in my work and visited schools, homes, child care centres, local parks, shopping centres. It’s very hard to have a large group of people all with vision impairment in the one place! There can be the one child only that is 2 hours away from anyone else but they too are entitled to be supported.
I used to sit in motels till late at night banging away on the typewriter to ensure I was up to date with my notes and ready for the next day. I still do, with the only difference being that I type away on the laptop. Laptop is quieter and of course, if I do make a typo I can delete and also save copies of what I’ve written. Learning typing at school was the best thing I ever learnt. I have used it everywhere and anywhere – thanks to Mrs Fry (my typing teacher).
Staying in a motel is an interesting place to be. Once the door shuts, the air-con goes on, TV plays in the background, who would know what goes on in there? By the evening, there can be so many cars outside the motel rooms, some with their branded businesses wrapped all around the vehicle, others with a small company logo and others without signage, which could be a leisurely traveller. And the people are all inside their motel room doing whatever one does in a motel room? If we were to walk past a motel neighbour when unpacking the car, there might be a polite nod or hello but not often much other conversation. We’ve got to get back into ‘the room’.
If you haven’t travelled in your job, this experience may be quite foreign. It’s all a part of the service I guess. We have to stay somewhere, to support someone, who lives somewhere, further away from the office than a short trip home. Well, now that I have finished my breakfast, re-packed the suitcase, checked the bathroom for a toothbrush left behind, it’s time to head up the road a half hour to support a student transitioning to High School next year - Lots of practice and she may feel more confident about her environment when she starts there officially. The school staff and student welcome the visit and the new instruction and experience of the day. I love to see progress and be part of the process in encouraging the student to achieve success. Tonight I will head home to my house that has a few more rooms in it and definitely a few more doors. Probably in the evening, I will get back on the laptop to record the day’s events and student’s progress once I've spent time with my family and caught up.
Kerri Weaver is a passionate and caring service provider. She loves sharing her knowledge and skills to supporting those with vision impairment and additional disabilities. Kerri has worked in the field of disability for over 30 years. Her experience includes working in Tonga with a specialist team on multiple occasions.
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