What About My Wheelchair Is So Threatening?

No, really? What is it that frightens so many of you? I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, it’s a chair with wheels. A much loved chair with wheels. It’s not a symbol of doom and gloom. But here’s what I want to know.

I want to know why I had to fight so hard to get it.

I want to know why people assume the chair is the problem rather than the cure.

I want to know why doctors would rather me never leave the house and be miserable and in pain, rather than out of the house, having fun or working?

I want to know why people scream at me to USE IT OR LOSE IT!!!!! when I’ve already long since lost the normal function.

I want to know why people wax lyrical about miracle cures instead of trying to fix society to be a bit more accessible. Here’s a hint, a ramp is far easier to create than a cure for a neurological disorder that people aren’t even really certain what causes it apart from minor trauma. Also, a ramp helps more people!

I want to know why you’re so thrilled to see me walking with crutches when it’s all I can do not to throw them across the room because I’d prefer to use my chair.

I want to know why a doctor denied my need for hand controls for my car even though I could no longer drive my car with my feet.

I want to know why a significant majority of accessible apartment complexes are for seniors only. And yes, I’ve been asking if they make acceptances for disabled people.

I want to know why the only way to report job discrimination is to hire yourself a lawyer, one that you ironically can only get if you have money, most likely from a job, to actually sue.

I want to know why everyone tries to deny me things that would make life more accessible to me.

No, really. I want an answer. Anyone got one?

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7 Responses to What About My Wheelchair Is So Threatening?

  1. Zeegeek says:

    2 reasons. People just don’t know/pay attention/care about making stuff accessible or what makes stuff accessible. Secondly, people are scared. They view a wheelchair as like the ultimate symbol of disability and they are afraid of anything that goes along with it because it reminds them of how close they could be to something they fear. They assume that everyone else is similarly afraid and that everyone else also would much rather stick their head in the sand about it rather than directly addressing it and having what is actually a better life.

    That’s my thoughts on those people anyway. I clearly am not one of those people.

  2. It’s sad to think that there’s been relatively little progress made in the area of accessibility/disability rights, and our peers have been fighting the good fight for at least as long as I’ve been alive, so that’s what, 40 years? And we *still* have to worry that we won’t get hired/might get fired/can’t live or visit where we’d like, just because we’re *gasp* disabled?!

  3. Oh, and if you haven’t done so already, I’d love to see you put this on sammason’s friendly_crips LJ blog. I’m sure she’d love it.


    • Gheteya says:

      I’m always getnitg asked Are you ok (when I’m trying to put my right foot back on the footsie) or is there anything I can help you with? I say, get me a pair of legs that work and I’ll be just fine.Or people stop me to ask about my chair or how cool my van is with the ramp and then I have to be polite and sit there listening about their health issues or how a friend or family member could have used a chair or van like mine while they were still alive.Really puts me in a good mood

  4. I think the situation will get better only if we take our wheelchairs and go out, do things. The more people see wheelchairs, the less of an oddity it becomes. I try to smile as much as I can, I try to be as polite as I can, I always thank when people help me. There is nothing to be ashamed of and the more mainstream we become, the more the society will adapt to us. I have once sent feedback to a restaurant I always wanted to visit, “Hey I would really like to visit your restaurant but I see you have no ramp outside. Get one, and I will come with my buddies and spread the word. ;)”

    I understand that in your case people are worried that you will be losing so much, independence among other things, by switching from cruches to a wheelchair because they don’t see it as we do. I had crutches for years when I was a kid but I stopped walking because I was too short, I couldn’t use my hands to carry things and it was just too much effort and slow to use crutches. I also have a disability where my bones break easily (OI), so it was safer for me as well…

  5. I’m still learning from you, as I’m improving myself. I definitely love reading everything that is written on your blog.Keep the aarticles coming. I enjoyed it!

  6. Tino says:

    try this one out this lady said to me yesterday.excuse me what do you like to be claeld handicapped disabled or physically challenged.i politely said Joe will be fine thanks.go figure lol

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