Hmmmm…

Things that make me, a paraplegic, go hmmmm…

Handicapped Placards – Who decides who qualifies for a placard? I have sent in FIVE applications over the past two years and still have NOT gotten a renewed placard. Mine literally expired in March, 2017 and I cannot seem to get one. Yet I constantly see people who hop out of their cars from a handicapped space and stride into stores. I saw a woman come out of Target in 5 inch heels and get into her sports car parked in a handicapped space while I am driving around in my 12 year old, $63,000 Dodge Caravan retrofitted with a ramp, power seats and hand controls trying to find a space that will work for me to get out in my power wheelchair. Hmmmm…

Handicapped Dressing Rooms – Yes, I understand these larger rooms are spacious and prime real estate amidst the smaller rooms. But if you can stand, walk and don’t have children in a stroller, take your possible purchases into one of the many smaller rooms and leave the one large one for someone who actually needs it. This also applies to bathrooms. Because speaking for many people who have paralysis, if you feel you have to pee, you need to pee almost immediately or you will wet your pants. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve almost peed my pants while waiting for someone who just likes a taller toilet and more space to pull up their pants. Hmmmm…

Handicapped Hotel Rooms – Honestly this is one of the most frustrating issues I’ve dealt with over the past 27 years. If I am going away, I immediately begin the search for a “wheelchair accessible” room that includes either a roll in shower or a bath tub with a tub bench. Yet often I arrive to my destination, only to find out there is not an accessible room available any longer. Recently I was told my reservation was simply a request and did not guarantee me a room. I replied that I called the reservation department and not the request department. This hotel then agreed to place me in a room designed for a deaf person but not for a wheelchair. It had flashing lights on the telephone and doorbell but not an accessible bathroom. They also told me that they only had one wheelchair accessible room left but they didn’t know if someone checking in later might need the wheelchair room. Now remember… I am sitting in a wheelchair in front of them at the moment but someone who wasn’t there could possibly need it. But hey… while I couldn’t take a shower, I could do my disco moves to the doorbell. Hmmmm…

Wheelchair Friendly – This is a phrase often used in small print when traveling. It means… if you are in a wheelchair occasionally but can walk, this building might possibly work for you. It’s kinda accessible but not fully. And if you are unable to walk and use a wheelchair 24/7, you’re screwed. Hmmmm…

In Case of Fire – Every time I ride an elevator and see the sign, “In case of fire, don’t use elevator,” I have to shake my head. While I get the theory behind the sign, I have to ask… am I just supposed to stop my chair at the top of the stairs, drop to the ground, and roll down the staircase if a fire ensues above the first floor? Hmmmm…

The Companion Seat – Every theater, show, movie theater or concert seems to have a handicapped seating section nowadays. People in wheelchairs are resigned to sitting in that one small section. But there is often a companion seat next to it. While I am sure it is meant to be thoughtful, it also means that I can never sit with a group of friends or family members whenever I go anywhere special. Apparently the disabled are only allowed one friend! Hmmmm…

Curb Cuts – I am quite certain that it is a job requirement for non wheelchair users to design curb cuts. In busy cities, they are often steep, bumpy, and slightly dangerous but add to it a 20 second count down clock to get up/down and across the street with a throng of hurrying people to make your heart pump a little faster. In NYC and DC, it is quite exciting when you are still crossing when the “walking” time runs out. Driver’s will not wait for your chair to make it across the street before horns start beeping and the “international sign of displeasure” is given. Hmmmm…

These are just a few things that make me shake my head as I venture into the world in a sitting position. I didn’t even mention the things that make me say “hmmmm” that have nothing to do with my life as a paraplegic. Maybe the next blog…

What makes you shake your head?

One thought on “Hmmmm…

  1. Loved all of these but my favorite was the In case of fire. You created quite the visual and new definition of the Stop, Drop, and Roll down 10 flights of stairs. LOL I’ve heard our evacuation protocol and for people in wheelchairs, they are supposed to wait for someone to come get them. And then what? Carry them? Fireman style? Sounds nice in theory but…..hmmm BTW we got a placard, easy peasy recently for Anna that never expires. DR just filled out a form and off it went. Not sure why you have one that expires and can’t seem to renew. Weird and frustrating, I’m sure. Love you!

    On Fri, Sep 20, 2019 at 12:13 AM Just Differently Abled wrote:

    > dogwoodmom posted: “Things that make me, a paraplegic, go hmmmm… > Handicapped Placards – Who decides who qualifies for a placard? I have sent > in FIVE applications over the past two years and still have NOT gotten a > renewed placard. Mine literally expired in March, 2017 and” >

    Like

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