Thursday, April 2, 2015

View From Down Low

My wheelchair just back from a trip. Unfolded and folded.

If you’ve never ridden in a wheelchair try it sometime.  It can be a great experience as kind strangers open doors for you or let you go first into an elevator.  But sometimes it can be a discouraging occurrence. Callous people ignore you, don’t notice you, let doors slam in your face, and avoid eye contact with you.  I’ve experienced both as I’ve ridden in wheelchairs because of chronic pain. 

Pain is a pain.  Most people would do anything they can do to avoid hurting.  I’m one of them. My muscles retain lactic acid if I walk, stand, or move a muscle in any way.  So when Chris wanted me to travel with him by plane for various meetings and outings I declined.  Airports, malls, or any large area that involve much walking causes me so much discomfort I would end up in tears, and be unable to sleep, which made the pain worse.  Chris decided to buy a wheelchair for me and talked me into going with him as I could save my muscles by riding in the wheelchair.  Here are some things to consider if you ride in a wheelchair:

·      You must have strong core muscles, as these muscles will help you to hold yourself steady as you wheel around corners, turns, and down hills.

·      Choose a chair pusher who is patient and willing to go slowly.

·      Never ride over cobblestones or bricks or any pavement that is not smooth, as the bumps will cause you to experience compression in your spine and thus more pain.

There are some disadvantages to riding in a wheelchair.

·      You may have an inexperienced wheelchair pusher pushing you. (One time my cousin took his mom, my aunt, to the San Diego Zoo, in a wheel chair.  Unfortunately he went a little too fast down a hill and she was thrown out of the wheelchair and injured.  I heard that someone who wasn’t experienced in pushing a wheelchair also threw Joni Erickson Tada out of a wheelchair and broke her nose.) So if you are a careful wheelchair pusher you will be in demand.

·      It may be that your wheelchair will be too high or too low for a table at which you might want to sit.  You will have to move to a chair that is the right elevation.

There are some advantages of riding in a wheelchair. 

·      The view from down low is interesting.  When riding in a wheelchair you can identify with people less than 3’ tall.

·      You will always be able to spot the handicap door opener, as it is eye level for you.

·      Your wheelchair may be the right height for a table so you will leave a chair vacant for someone else.

That’s all I can think of right now.  Do you have anything to add?

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