Getting the bus is difficult. In fact it’s more than difficult, getting the bus is hard. They don’t always have ramps, don’t always sink low enough to the pavement to lift my walking frame on, and there isn’t always enough room to fit her on safely and out of the way of the other passengers once I’m on it. Right now, I’m sitting here and I feel sick because I know that on Monday I’m going to have to face this on my own. I’m so nervous I don’t quite know how to put it into words.
It’s not the first time I’ve got the bus alone, I did it all the time when I had my last job and that was hard at times, but it did get easier once the drivers and regular customers got to know me. This time it will be different because it’s the first time I will have done it with Martha, who is bigger than my last walking frame Betsy was when I used to do it with her. To make things even more daunting for me I’ll be using a bus route I’ve never used where none of the divers will recognise me and the help I need. I’m also going to have to rely on them to tell me where to get off. This is something else that I don’t like doing.
How difficult taking the bus is for me depends on a few main factors:
- Whether or not the bus has a ramp
- Whether or not there is space for me to sit down with Martha in a place where no one will trip on her
- If there are pram/wheelchair/other walking aid users before me (I just have to wait until a bus comes along with a free disabled space otherwise)
- How low the bus dips to the kerb
- How high said kerb is for getting Martha off the bus safely
A lot of these factors vary from bus company to bus company and area too so it’s not like I can develop a strategy to deal with every journey.
It’s not so bad if there’s someone with me who can fold the frame up and carry it on for me but I can’t do this myself and on Monday I have no other choice but to travel. I know that it is a battle I’m just going to have to keep on having with myself until it doesn’t scare me anymore. The more I use the same routes the less worried I get.