Posts Tagged handicapped accesiblity
Today was a pretty good day, I think. I enrolled Chris in a transportation program here in Norman. He was approved and for very little expense they will come to the house and pick us up in the bus and take us anywhere in Norman that we want to go. They have a very nice lift and ways to secure his chair in the van for transport. We used it last week once just to get a feel for how it worked and then today we went out again. I plan on taking it about once a week for awhile since I take him in the car about once a week. As with all new experiences there are some good things and some “not-so-good” things.
The Good Points
It is really good to have a tiny piece of independence back. All I do is call the day before and tell them where I want to go, what time I want to leave and how long I want to stay. They call me back with the schedule they were able to work out. It costs a dollar for Chris each way and nothing for me – since he requires an “attendant.” I figure even though we have to wait on the curb for awhile before they get here and we have to ride around while they let other people off sometimes it’s still worth the $2 to not have to try and get Chris in and out of the car by myself! Last week we went to Wal-Mart and were able to grab a few items, this week we went to Hastings. The bus drivers have been really nice and helpful! They don’t act like it is even one bit of an inconvenience to get him in the bus and out again… I really appreciate that.
Side Note: I think I have started gaining a better hold emotionally as I literally bought nothing today! I saw a couple of books that interested me and all sorts of cool gadgets I would love to have – but didn’t purchase a thing. I had gone through a time where I sort of “bought to have.” I feel like it was because of the great loss (of my son) I had experienced and I could at least have something. Anyway I didn’t even buy a cup of coffee in the coffee shop! Hey -progress is progress – don’t knock it! lol
The Things We Don’t Think Of
The trip wears Chris out! He was not having a good day but I was not sure I could cancel the ride and the weather was great so we went anyway. He is still somewhat uneasy in the bus – but it’s a pretty bumpy ride. He is also still pretty jumpy at all the clanking that is involved in getting his chair secured. But I do think even though he was having a rough day today he did somewhat better. I had to constantly readjust him in the chair too and he kept holding his head to one side – he hasn’t done that in a long time! But he did stay awake and look around the store with me. I like that he was somewhat engaged .. so that makes it worth it to me.
I am not really used to pushing his chair around stores. It felt like we were in everybody’s way! We probably weren’t bothering most of them at all.. but I really want to stick my tongue out at people who stare. I think I will create me a “Dear Adult” T-shirt for when I take Chris out.. maybe it is partly my own inhibitions and strange feelings but it seems like they are looking at me with this “why are you bringing him here?” look. Gripes me that’s all. It’s not easy to just maneuver around the store either – it can be stressful and all I can do is hope I get used to it…
Here’s the funny part. It didn’t happen yet – but I have this fear of needing to go to the bathroom while we are out. Think about it… I can’t take Chris in with me…I can’t leave him in the hallway unattended. And I certainly cannot leave him with a total stranger while I take care of this personal business! lol! For now our trips will time-limited to ensure that I can wait until we get home! lol — the things we don’t always think about!
Yesterday I commented on how difficult it was to get Chris out and to the fair. Although he is handling the increased activity pretty good, it sure wears me out. This is partly due to the bum knee – that’s getting better. I plan on starting to go for walks in the next couple of days to get it back into the routine. Then maybe running in another couple of weeks. Anyway, whatever the case – it exhausts me to get him out even with help! lol! But it’s good for him and I am sure getting out is good for me too.
We really had a great time at the fair and Chris got to experience lots of different stimuli: smells, music, people, exhibits etc. When we got there we had to find parking and were under the assumption that handicapped parking was free. I had seen it two or three different places and so it was not unfounded! Anyway, I stopped to ask the lady and she told me it was 5 dollars to park no matter what and ushered me on around. So the next guy I stopped to see if I could ask about the parking and he simply pointed to the field and said, “parkin’s out there…” I said I have my son and a wheelchair. Then he shrugged it off and told me “good like finding a handicap spot.” Both of them were very impatient and acted like they just wanted us out of their hair.
We decided to park by the gate and unload the chair and then Chris. Then Pamm would stay there with him while I (the one with the busted knee cap) went to find a parking spot God knows where! So we just stopped right there and unloaded it all! Then there was a very nice man who was leaving and was parked real close to there – he offered us his spot and said he would wait until we got unloaded until he pulled out so we could have it!!! (Can you say “angel”?!)
The ladies at the gate were very friendly and understanding. They also gave us a paper with information about the fair activities and a map. On the map is said beside all the parking areas “free handicap parking.” So we worked our way through a couple of buildings to go over to the admin and see if we could get the 5 dollars back. First of all, I could not get Chris’ chair to the building as the ramp at the end of the sidewalk was blocked by their four-wheelers! I was pretty hot then!!
The buildings were all pretty easy to access as there are ramps, and buttons on some of the doors that hold them open so you can get the chair in. My friend was with me but if she hadn’t been it would have been very difficult because as a general rule, people just ignore you if you’re not like them. I caught a few looks that I interpreted to mean “why would you even come here like that?” But at the same time there were some very helpful people too.
I worried about Chris getting dehydrated and so I gave him some of my coke. He drank it right up too! lol! That was really cool. We were pretty tired after only a couple of hours so headed back to the car. Then we had to figure out where to re-load Chris and the chair as there are no specified loading zones!
Overall it was a pleasant experience – just a very busy one. We were all so tired when we got back home. I was pretty worthless for the night. I cannot expect anyone to care about all that goes into what seems like a simple field trip like that. Most really do not understand and I suppose that’s okay. But when people are staring down their nose at my son and looking at me with disgust like he bothers their “fun time” with a reality I must live with every single day…it just makes the pain go deeper. And it makes me want to stay in the cave where it’s safe.
Maybe next year I will be more prepared for the fight… right now there’s so much going on with home health and just living from one day to the next it gets so tiresome to fight. And it seems sad to me at least that I have to fight for a sense of normalcy that most can just accept as part of their day….trust me – the pain is deep and I do not need strangers’ blank stares and curled up noses to know how not-normal our lives are…The last thing I want to do is have to fight to enjoy a day out! I really do not want to get hard, or bitter or pushy…but I refuse to take this laying down! So move over world – you might as well get used to us messing up your perfect day!