Last November, after my horrible fall and subsequent surgery, I spent 9 ½ weeks in a wheelchair, visiting a place that no one ever wants to go to: the land of disability.
While I am not completely healed, I am back amoungst the able-bodied and I want to tell you a little bit about navigating in that other land.
Years ago, after my first (of three) ankle surgeries I spent six weeks on crutches, non-weight bearing on my injured ankle. It was tough on me and my family. I remember one awful day eating my lunch on the floor when I was alone as I could not get it from the kitchen to the table. After subsequent surgeries, I got a wheelchair and that made a huge different. But even in a wheelchair, life is very hard.
First of all, even places that say they are handicapped accessible often are not. I will never forget getting stuck in a restaurant bathroom that had a wheelchair accessible stall, but no automatic door opener. I couldn’t get out of the bathroom on my own, thank goodness my friend figured out something was wrong and rescued me from the ladies room.
Without an automatic door opener, most in wheelchairs are stuck getting in or out of the bathroom. Can you imagine having to ask for help every time you need to go to the bathroom? Well that is what it is like for anyone in a wheelchair trying to access a bathroom that does not have an automatic door opener. How we define accessible matters.
Second of all, there are all sorts of great tools these days that can help those in wheelchairs, whether for a short time or for life. But knowing what they are and where to find them can be tricky.
Think about carrying things from one room to another, while in a wheelchair; it is not easy—you need your hands to move the wheels. Having a cup holder on the chair makes a big difference. And so does a Non-Slip Board & Drink Holder—the best tool I used!
This amazing tool fit on my lap and allowed me to carry drinks, food, even my laptop around my house without spilling or dropping! AI no longer had to wait for someone else to help me to get something to eat or just take a cup of coffee from kitchen to family room. The handy dandy Grip Drink Holder (pictured above on the yellow Non-Slip Board) also helped.
Grip Gloves also helped as I wheeled myself around. As did a Safety Vest—which is great for anyone who spends time walking or biking along roads without sidewalks or adequate street lighting. I gave one to my husband who bikes to and from work.
Fact is it is not easy to live in the land of disability. But with some helpful tools, it can be a little easier to maneuver around.
All of these handy items (pictured and described above) were provided to me by See and Be Safe, a wonderful online resource of products that assists the disabled as well as the able bodied. They design and manufacture high visibility accessories used by anyone in a wheelchair or who just wants to be seen on dark roadways. I think their visibility accessories make great gifts for the bikers in your family. Additionally, they sell grip products that help balance electronics and food on a non slip surface, making it so easy to move things around. If I sound like an infomercial, it is because I think this company provides a real service for everyone with their important products.
Bottom line is that I hope you never have to visit the land of disability, even temporarily, but the truth is that many of us might have to go there at some point, even if just for a short while. And if you do, knowing what helpful items exist will make a difference.
Full disclosure: I was not paid for writing this piece, but I was given these items to use when I was in my wheelchair. My husband and I are still using the Non-Slip Board and the Safety Vest. All opinions on the products are mine and mine alone.
As a blogger, I enjoy sharing my ideas and thoughts with people, and I get a special thrill when someone leaves a comment. When you share my posts on social media sites, I jump up and down doing a happy dance. So thank you!