A very frankly open and honest narrative about life in a wheelchair.
I’ve been asked this question 10,000 times. I usually answer by saying, “What’s it like wearing
your shoes?” My wheelchair is as much a part of me as your shoes are of you. Don’t get me
wrong. I hate being in a wheelchair. I hate it more being without it.
There is a good side and a bad side to being in a wheelchair. I can do for myself. I can take
myself places. I can go shopping by myself, and even take myself to a movie. Sometimes I take
myself out for lunch. I’m not dependent on people. I’m fully capable of taking care of myself.
With the passing of ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) is much improved accessability for people in wheelchairs. All buses are now accessible. In most public places there are lower counters. In the supermarkets, you can ask for and receive assistance in the form of someone walking around with you pushing your cart and helping you find and reach your merchandise. This person will make viable suggestions (but only if you ask) and put everything at the register for you.
Amusement parks have made great strides in accessibility. Most all their new rides are
accessible and the ride operators are very willing to help. They’ve also altered some of the older
rides to make them accessible.
I remember trying to board the King Arthur’s carousel at Disneyland in Anaheim, California. I
went to the top of the ramp and waited for the ride operator. I believe they’re called ‘cast
members’ in that park. He came to me and said I could not board the ride, because my chair had a motor. I looked at his brown shoes, and then I looked at him.
Our conversation went like this: With as serious a face as I could muster. I said to him; “ I’m
sorry, but you cannot ride this ride today. You are wearing brown shoes.”
“Only people in black shoes get to ride this ride today.”
He looked at his shoes, looked at me quizzically, and suddenly broke into a smile. “Let me call