I now have Flo, (yes, I named her. It makes it way more fun!). The picture above is not exactly what I have, but its very similar. I went out for the first time at the weekend with Matt to see if I could get my head around using it and to my surprise I managed it pretty well. However, there were a few issues. The issues were nothing to do with me using it as that went very well. The issues were to do with the pathways, door entrances, basic accessibility. There were places that I was unable to get into, or pavements that were so uneven that I had to be careful maneuvering, and if Matt wasn’t with me I could easily have lost my nerve. Its so strange for me to feel this vulnerable. Now when I come up against challenges, instead of just shaking it off I find I have no emotional resilience at all. I get flustered and suddenly I’m talking to myself (inside head voice, which is totally appropriate for this sort of thing) my usual rhetoric, you can do this, its fine, don’t worry. I try not to focus on the lie – that everyone is looking at me.
I want to be able to feel confident about going out on my own, which I know will come with time. But we do have another small issue to contend with and one we did not think about. Flo is heavy, too heavy for me to get her out of the front door. We have a threshold and a step problem and even though we have looked up the best way of solving this, its a bit more complicated than we thought and may take a bit of figuring out. It is definitely fixable though.
On our outing I found that my brain was taking a mental note of somewhere I could go for a coffee should I want to, or pick up a few bits for dinner, or get into the chemist. It was surprising to find that many of the places we passed posed a problem for me, and I know that I wouldn’t even want to attempt it just in case I got stuck. I said to Matt, “it really isn’t okay that people in wheelchairs cannot access places that they would love to go because there is no way in” not being one to make a fuss I know I will just pass by the window and wait for a day when someone is with me. The one place that disappointed me the most was my favourite bakery, two steps to get in. (I have mentioned Grain and Hearth in a previous post, I love their bread, coffee and cakes). My plan is to get a folding walking stick to take with me, so that if I am on my own I can go in and get myself something, so its not completely out of the question. However, I find myself thinking of others who would not have that option and I think I may contact them to ask if they have a ramp, because they may, I didn’t ask, but I will.
It was a successful first time with Flo and although it is painful to sit for a longer period of time, it definitely helped that the seat was padded and it is much more comfortable than the wheelchair. I would say thats a WIN! I’ll take it!
I hope everyone is having a good day and if anyone has any suggestions with regards to ramps, I would appreciate it. Matt did try and make one… It didn’t go too well! He really did try, though bless him. Also, have you ever approached a shop about accessibility? I would be interested to know how it went.
Sending lots of love