It’s not all it’s cracked up to be…

When I have to explain to people – especially young kids that being in a wheelchair isn’t as fun as it looks it can be tough, especially if the child is really young. Of course the idea of being able to sit down all day would seem like bliss to some people, but that doesn’t last and before too long most of us find ourselves looking for something to do and an excuse to move around a little. Not all people who use wheelchairs can choose just to get up and wonder around whenever they please, some can’t do that or would find it difficult. The thing that I find hard is how to explain this to children and young adults without sounding like I’m A) telling them off or B) trying to make them feel bad. It’s even harder when they actually use the phrase “I wish I was in a wheelchair”. I know that they can’t help it or don’t understand the true implications of what it means.

Usually I point out that there are ‘good points’ or ‘things that are fun’ about being a wheelchair user like getting to go really fast down hills, being able to help people carry their shopping by putting it on my knee while they push me or not having to worry about finding a seat when I’m getting a bit tired and need a rest.

Then, I have to try and explain the other side of it all like, if they were in a wheelchair they might not be able to do all the things that they like to do. They would be able to watch their friends go ice skating or rollerblading and they could have fun watching and sharing jokes with their mates, but they might go be able to put on a pair of skates and do the skating/rollerblading part.

In my opinion, I’m very fortunate because although I am a wheelchair user I don’t have to use my chair very often and instead use Martha as much as I possibly can. I’m not ashamed of my wheelchair and I’m more than grateful for having it on my bad days and days when I know that I’m going  to be walking around a lot. Sometimes I’ll get out of it and push it along in front of me if I feel like stretching my legs but I find this quite frustrating because I can’t control it very well being in front of it and I can’t get it across a road.

If I know that I need to give Martha or myself a day off then I will take my chair, I have no problem with that, but there are good and bad points to everything.

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3 thoughts on “It’s not all it’s cracked up to be…

  1. I had a friend who was a wheelie. He told me the funniest story – he had to visit the hospital one time for something or other, and when he left, he wheeled out the front door onto the pavement, where there was a steep downward incline towards the road. Well, he lost hold of the wheels and went skittering down the hill rapidly gaining speed. He grabbed for a light post and whizzed round the light post before coming to a stop. Gee I laughed at that story. But that bloke could do ANYTHING. He was a farmer (he is not dead, we just lost contact, btw) and the only thing he could not do was change a lightbulb. I went to visit him at a farm where he lived and he had just moved into a different house there and it had no ramps. He got out of his chair, bumped his bum up the seven or so stairs into the old Queenslander house and leaned down and grabbed the chair and hauled it up the stairs and got back into it. I asked him if that wasn’t annoying for him to have to do that all the time. ‘oh, it only takes a couple of minutes” he drawled. He also drove a MANUAL car and changed the gears by depressing the clutch with a metal post. He was AMAZING and I’ve often tried to get back in touch with him via FB but he doesn’t seem to be connected.

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    1. Wow, he sounds amazing! That lampost story made me laugh! I have so much respect for people who can drag their wheelchairs up and down the stairs, I couldn’t.

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