Thursday, September 1, 2016

Travelogues from a Wheelchair

So, I am wheelchair bound -inside and outside the house, for at least 3 weeks, owing to a very severe ligament tear.

I could have sat at home and moped about it. (But as you already know, I'm not v good at that). OR, I cld just be my father's daughter. So I decided to do the latter, and explore the world, on a wheelchair.

I m going to chronicle my adventures here, as I move into totally unknown territory. Why? Because I hope, somewhere, that it leads to a more inclusive world. For all of us.

Day 1: I decided to take my son to both his classes. Got the wheelchair out of the house, and into the elevator.
Challenge - elevator door autocloses before the wheelchair can be wheeled in. Solution: My son holds the elevator switch to prevent the wheelchair getting squished.
Problem: The elevator is too small to turn the wheelchair around. Solution: Either I reverse the wheelchair straight out of a narrow lift, or I take help. Fortunately, family and the driver refuse to leave me alone.
Problem: How does the wheelchair go from the porch to the road (a height of about 4 inches) and back?
Solution: The guard helps carry the front wheels both times. Out of kindness. He is not obliged to do this.

I get into the car with relative ease, hopping on one leg and getting in. Once there, I put the injured leg horizontal, as decreed by the doctor.

At the training institute,  I stay inside the car. For an hour.

At the other class, I request them to open the door that has a cemented floor leading to the waiting area, and hop the entire distance on one leg.

Day 2: I decide to go shopping. This time, the wheelchair is added to the car. At the supermarket, I get off and someone has to help me with the wheelchair going up the ramp - its a 30 degree incline and I am too heavy to pull the chair myself.

At the entrance, they have to open the other door to let the  wheelchair through. This is done with no fuss at all. Inside, they assign a shopping assistant , since I can neither use a basket nor a trolley (I might be able to figure this out in a while). We are done with the shopping list in about 5 minutes. People look at me strangely. The shopping assisstant is efficient and quick. The billing counter queue is short and we are out of there in 7 to 8 minutes flat. I try to bring the chair down from the ramp on my own, and drop the purse and phone in the process. The driver refuses to let me try anything more adventurous on a downhill slope, and quietly steers the chair down that ramp. We reach home with no new lessons to learn.

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