no access wheelchairMobility, recovery, liberty …

When the front wheels hit a gutter at the entrance, I nearly catapulted my daughter onto the flagstones in front of the restaurant.

I swore. My girl laughed. A smoker nearby rushed over to help. We made it in.

“Hello, sir. Thirty minutes.” The Duty Manager looked harassed, polite and none too enthusiastic about our arrival – succinct welcome, for sure.

“Okay. Where do we wait?”

“There’s a few small tables down there.” She was gone. We slalomed round some people. I went to the bar and ordered drinks. I found a spare stool to support the injured leg. We waited.

Recovery, liberty and parenting?

as-break
Some shin … ouch

If you break your leg you’ll soon discover … wheelchairs aren’t fun. Yet they are essential tools for mobility and independence. They teach people like me lessons wheelchair users and other people with disability have known forever.

 

My daughter broke her leg, badly, around four weeks ago. I came down just after the injury and later returned home sure she was on the mend.

Three weeks later it was diagnosed she needed the full surgical treatment, you know: pins, plates and such. Now she’s definitely on the mend, victim of a truly painful starting over. But there are benefits.

I drove down from Scotland the other day complete with supplies of Chocolate Brownies and Tuna Mousse – gotta do my bit.

With the programme …

Her old man helped her get on her zimmer/hopper/walker—thingy this morning. How exhausting for a physical action that seems simple to an (almost) able-body like me. My hardest part is standing by while a person you love works hard to strengthen and set herself free.

And so to lunch

We looked up an accessible restaurant. Getting in the car with my daughter is now a piece of work. Maybe fifteen minutes where, normally, it would take a minute. We arrived just like anyone else.

The disabled parking spaces were full. We parked a fair distance away from the entrance. Pushing up a slope added another lesson about access.

The events reported above happened and, with drinks in hand, we sat for our half-hour. They gave us a lovely table, were solicitous and other diners were respectful and moved to make our passage easy. Lunch was excellent (if you like British Roast Beef).

Jigety, jig

We made it home without much fuss. People, mostly, aware and okay. I had to ask one guy to move away. Getting from the car to the house took time. My lassie was tired when we got in – that’s recover for you. She slept for a while.

And the moral?

We both agreed just how lucky she is. You might say a bad break and a major piece of orthopaedic surgery isn’t lucky. However … we’re both agreed that: all things being equal, My daughter will be on her feet, fully fit in six month’s time. Many wheelchair users are users for life.

I’ll always remember this experience. My view of wheelchair users changed today: from slightly patronising sympathy, to the beginnings of awareness and empathy.

© Mac Logan