I’m just going to put this out there, as insensitive and politically incorrect as it is. It’s gonna shock those of my readers who paint me as a martyr, super-saint or spiritual giant. What can I say, that was a house of cards anyway. Ready?
People in wheelchairs and on scooters used to annoy me. I think I’d actually roll my eyes and audibly sigh at times. I know, I know, it’s a pretty slimy attitude. I just always saw them making crowded places more crowded, aisles impassable and lines longer.
And now I’m using a wheelchair and scooter. My perspective has changed. I want to go ask every wheelchair-bound person to forgive me.
My first wheelchair experience came on the 4th of July. I almost stayed home, embarassed and alone but my overpowering desire to be with my family made me decide to take the wheelchair to be part of the Freeport parade festivities. Some people fed me my own former crappy attitude shooting me “what’s-your-problem” looks. When we found our parade spot, people, adult people, came and stood right in front of me. The same thing happened at the Yarmouth Clam Festival.
Some wheelchair/scooter people are rude and angry. Now I know how they got that way. They have to be pushy with so many people.
Do you know how many stores have aisles too narrow to navigate when you’ve got wheels attached? Do you know how many sidewalks are inaccessible? How difficult it is to get in and out of manual doors? No? I didn’t either. I do now.
Imagine how your life would change if tomorrow you woke up unable to get around by yourself. You can’t even go to Best Buy or Home Depot alone. You need someone to push. Depression sets in when you lose your independence. It set in for me.
I’m not suggesting you let wheelchair/scooter people go first or treat them like they are children. I’m just encouraging you to be aware, offer to open a door and don’t stand right in front of them at a parade, demonstration, ballgame, etc. It’s very easy to see over us.
I never thought I’d be where I am now. I never imagined that I’d be as excited as a kid on Christmas Eve for what is happening tomorrow afternoon. I am getting a motorized scooter! I am getting some of my independence back. Yes, I am totally pumped that the Lord provided a scooter for me. Unbelievable.
It means I can roll beside my wife at the mall, go to the fair with my dad or pick something up at Rite Aid or Shaws. It means I can leave this couch without needing someone to drive me and push me. It means independence. Can you imagine what that even feels like? I couldn’t. Or, maybe, I didn’t even try. That’s actually more accurate.
My new scooter has a little beepy horn on it. I’m just hoping I don’t meet many jerks like me prompting me to use it.
I’m so excited I wish I could dance! I’d definitely dance like this:
I can so relate to so much of your journey. I’ve put posts
on http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/douglag. I need 8L of O2 when
walking, (trying to stay mobile before transplant) and a standard
tank only lasts about 45 min at that rate. So to have two tanks
along, and a place to sit when I’m about to pass out, I hang them
on the handles of an empty wheel chair. Actually, the chair is
usually holding my iPhone with the MapMyTracks app running. Talk
about funny looks! BTW, did you ever see this one?
You might need two horns or beep and then say to the person: I used to be just like you. If I could, I would love to switch places with you. I guess that would not be very nice so I know you probably won’t say that. Congratulations on your Independence Day.
I am so happy for you and yes you have opened my eyes as to what wheel bound people go thu. I also want to say I am sorry also’
I know exactly how you feel. I am not wheelchair bound yet, but I’m on my way. I have to use the scooters when I go to the store and boy is it a different world from “down there”. People look at me like I have a third eyeball on my forehead. I can’t say that I even judged my 4-wheeled friends, but I am definitely much more empathetic now. It’s so frustrating when I have to try to get something off of a top shelf at the store…or even see what is on the top shelf! Then, when I get out of the scooter and take my bags to the car, they look at me like I just abused the scooter, like I had no reason for using it. Keep the faith, my friend.
Praying for you daily, Wendy.
I push kids in wheelchairs around for a living. (Oh yeah, and do a bunch of other stuff with them.) But before I started pushing child-size wheelchairs around, I, too, didn’t see all the narrow aisles, tall people who block your view by just being in front of you, rude rushing people, annoyed and oblivious people. Now I do. And I agree – most of them probably don’t have a clue as to how they’d feel if THEY were in the wheelchair. Keep showing them Jesus, Scott!
You certainly don’t think you’re alone in your attitude, do you? 🙂 Thanks for the wake up, Scott!
And btw, short people have some of the same problems ~ JK!!! BUT I must say, it is easy to see over us instead of standing in front of us:-)
Praising God for your motorized scooter!!!!