In The Chair 

Sometimes you will see a movie or a television program where someone in a wheelchair is helped, given courtesy or recognized for the courage it takes to live life needing the aid of a wheelchair. However I can honestly say that, based on my own experiences, this is extremely rare and has never actually happened to me. Ever. 

My personal experience of being in a wheelchair is that, at best I become mostly invisible and at worst, people have been completely rude. 

Unlike mothers with prams, people will not attempt to give way or courtesy as I wheel around in public spaces. I have rarely experienced someone holding a door for us or handing me a hard to reach item. 

Oh, and don’t get me started on car parking for wheelchair users. I have rarely gone anywhere where there is an available parking bay. Rarely. 

I have been bumped, pushed, almost tipped out of the chair, starred at and sworn at by passers by. 

Unlike mothers with prams, people will avoid eye contact with me and won’t hold doors or offer any polite little niceties. 

Whilst shopping with my husband, shop attendants have avoided speaking to me and have even asked my husband questions that are meant for me; as though I was completely invisible or unable to speak. 

People have walked away as I have struggled to reach for a shelf or struggled to use a disabled ramp. I have been close to tears on many occasions; and that is something that is quite hard to share. 

It is not a comfy way to travel or remotely convenient, despite what people may think, in fact, it can be quite painful when dealing with spasms, tremor and terrible pain in my hands and arms joints.  

They are also not terribly convenient to lug around and many cars and public transport still are unable to accommodate them. 

They are impossible to move across grass, carpet and stairs and how do you push a shopping trolley AND a wheelchair? The short answer is you don’t

Being in a wheelchair is not at all convenient or easy. And it takes a long time for you to accept that this is your life now. Well I should say it has taken me a long time to accept. But it is my only means at accessing the outside world and the people out there. 

I would dearly prefer not to be in a wheelchair, but more than this I would appreciate a little understanding and basic courtesy in the meantime. I think most wheelchair users would agree. 

Gentle hugs, 

Trish 

7 thoughts on “In The Chair 

  1. I have not had to accept a new life style dependent on a wheelchair. I have mobility problems so perhaps that has made me aware of difficulties and rudeness handed so blithely to those who do use a wheelchair. I can not fathom the reason behind this. Our shopping centre is small and over the past few years a sort of club has developed. If we see one of our wheelies, mobility scooters, vision impaired etc fellow shoppers we stop for a coffee. It all started must by a hello. There is only one coffee shop, and the staff do all they can for us. I think the size of the centre has made this possible. A young lady who has multiple birth defects ( hate that term)
    has her name painted one her electric chair with lots of beautiful flowers. It started with smiles, a chat as we went to order , asking to share a table. This little coffee shop is the only place I have ever been where such a beautiful thing happens.
    Unfortunately I have only seen rudeness and the stare straight through everywhere else.
    Why, it is not contagious, it is not going to spoil their day, a helping hand only takes less than a couple of minutes. And for heavens sake, why is it connsidered appropriate behaviour to teach young children.
    So much for manners, empathy, compassion and plain just being nice?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have not had to use a wheelchair, but a buddy of mine does. He says people think it would be great to ride around until they are told they have too. His point looks for the line at the doors of the store of people waiting to get in wheelchairs.

    Oh yeah, I have never seen either.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes my friend. It’s not as people think or perceive. However I am hopeful that discussion will bring understanding. Everyone’s experiences are different I guess xx sending much love and respect to you and yours.

      Like

  3. Hi Trish, Over here in Ireland some stores have trolleys that clip onto the front of ones wheelchair ! Not a lot of them, but they are there, so all stores could do it ! Even our garden centre on the way to Cork has one – only one though ! Hugs xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for writing. There is one supermarket that said they have a similar cart but anytime we have been it has never been found.

      I would like to hope that more stores and places will use such things and be a little more wheelchair aware.

      Thank you again 💐💐

      Like

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