As you may or may not know, I’m a paraplegic which means I’m wheelchair bound; Recently I’ve been making a mental note of all the things that are either a struggle or a major annoyance to me and to many other wheelchair users out there!
1. The wheelchair ‘accessible’ ramp isn’t accessible because its too steep. This doesn’t happen as much anymore but with some (mainly older buildings or places in a really built up crowded area) places the ramps are just WAY to steep for me to push myself up and if I tried, I’d just fall backwards out my wheelchair!
2. If I could stand up, I’d be at 1/2 sizes smaller. Clothes designers don’t take into account that if I could stand up there wouldn’t be rolls on my stomach and my butt wouldn’t spread out as much as it does meaning that there clothes would fit be perfectly well, however I can’t stand up and as I’m sat down all the time I do have rolls, and my butt is huge; this means that stood up I’m a 14 on the top and a 14/16 on the bottom, but as i’m sat all the time I’m a 14/16 on the top (depends where I shop), and an 18 (if not bigger) on the bottom because everything spreads out when i’m sat down!
3. Trousers (specifically jeans) aren’t big enough in the back. All I have to say on this one is, its a good job the back of my wheelchair comes to mid back height other wise you’d all my seeing my butt multiple times a day.
4. Spontaneous trips that involve modes of transport other than a car/bus don’t even happen. I decide the night before I want to go to the beach for the day or to another city to go shopping, Its not going to happen for at least another week. I’m not saying that trains, coaches, and planes aren’t wheelchair friendly because A LOT of them are but I can’t just turn up the following day having not booked any assistance as thats just going to send the staff into a full blown panic and basically I’m not getting on and if I manage to get on theres no guarantee i’m getting off the other end.
5. When somewhere its advertised as being fully wheelchair friendly but having to use the ‘Staff Only’ lift. Yes, if you’ve got a lift to all floors you’re classed as being wheelchair friendly however using the ‘Staff Only’ lifts have to be the most awkward part of any outing! 1, All the other visitors look at you in horror like ‘why are they getting to use the lift and we don’t?!’ and 2, Having to wait around for a member of staff to actually operate the lift for you because it needs a key or card to work…
6. People assuming that because I’m in a wheelchair it means that I’m also mentally handicapped and feel a need to talk to be like I’m an 5 year old. In February of this year me and Stuart went to the M&M store in Leicester Square, went down to the bottom floor using the lift and one of the members of staff knelt down in front of me and proceeded to say ‘Did you know that we have a lift? It’ll make it a lot easier for you get up and down the floors.’. No pal I didn’t, I got down to this bottom floor by throwing myself down the stairs…
7. People with prams/pushchairs thinking they don’t have to move out of the wheelchair space on buses even though it says that they have to move in the event a wheelchair gets on the bus. I’m not labelling all people with pushchairs/prams because a lot of the them are lovely and will happily move out of the way, but some of them…. well some of them are just plain rude and clearly need to learn how to read because wheelchairs take priority over pushchairs and prams.
I understand that this is a random post, but I’ve been thinking about this for quite a while so thought I’d share with you the struggles I and many others in wheelchairs face.
Speak to you soon,