………………It took me nearly a year to use my wheelchair after I first bought it. I like to say the stubbornness and determination kept me from using it. In truth it was being embarrassed that a once fit 6 mile a day runner was at 35 unable to last a day out with out. So I stopped going out.
That was until a good friend pointed out that I was being a prick, and missing out on a load of fun with family and friends just because I didn’t want to use a wheelchair. Now it’s always in the boot of the car and I don’t think twice about using it at shops and pretty much anywhere I go now, after all with some help from people getting it in and out of my car I am now no longer a prisoner in my four walls.
Today though we visited Gran (or Granny with the white hair, which is what our children call her) it is a relatively short trek down to see her but one nonetheless that I have to prepare for and psyche my way up to. Now Gran turned 90 last December but I’m sure she thinks she is still 50 something. She has just recently moved house for the third time in as many years and often bakes cheese scones and delicious cakes for us when we go to see her.
Unfortunately she has been becoming less and less mobile and has recently been donated a wheelchair. I’ve been having conversations with her about it and it has been lie talking to her through a mirror. All the excuses of, I’m a pain being pushed around all day or you don’t want to put that in your car, or it won’t fit, or but people will see me who know I can walk very short distances and what will they think, the list goes on. In truth I told Gran at our last visit all those excuses are just excuses that make you become a prisoner in your own home.
Today we didn’t give Gran a choice we told her we wanted to make the most of the British Summer whilst it lasts for the next week and a half and take her out for the short 10 mile trip to a beach near her no arguments! Our eldest at 18 came along and whilst my wife looked after our LG he helped Gran with her wheelchair and in and out of the car (without being asked, it has after all become second nature for him with me and he really is a polite helpful young man that we are proud of). My motability car was specifically picked so we could fit my mobility scooter and wheelchair in the boot so I knew today that getting two wheelchairs in it folded up would be a piece of cake. I lost count of the number protestations from Gran as we loaded up the car and the number of times Gran apologised for being a nuisance once we got there, but beyond that I saw big smiles on her face whilst we sat and watched boats and kayaks go past overlooking the sea sat eating fish and chips. I offered her a race (wacky races pimp my ride stylee) along the sea front and got a big laugh from her, and some huge smiles whilst she watched her two great grandchildren play on the beach.
Gran even wanted an Ice Cream and a stick of rock before we left, she had a lovely few hours, and it was only a few hours as it is tiring for me and I know it would have been for her (Even sat in her wheelchair) not that the stubborn old girl would admit that, so I said when we needed to leave as my pain was becoming unbearable. On the way back Gran told me how daft she felt being pushed around in a wheelchair at her age, at which I laughed and said you are 90, I’m 37 you’re nearly three times my age how do you think I feel, but it has allowed us to take a few hours of sea air in, have some lunch and more importantly I asked have you enjoyed escaping your flat. The reply of “yes I did dear, thank you very much” said it all and brought a smile to my face.
I guess if you were not born needing a wheelchair but that it becomes a necessity later in life no matter what age you are you are going to have some reservations and those memories of yourself and what life was like before you needed one will always be a voice in your ear giving you excuses. Take it from two of the most stubborn people I know, one a 90 year old mother, grand mother and great grand mother to more people and children than I can count and the other a cantankerous moody 37 year old also know as me, that all those fears, excuses and reasons you have for not wanting to use it will be far out weighed by the memories you capture and days you don’t miss out on by using it. All those people you think who will be staring really wont, well unless you pitch yourself forward and nearly out of your chair as you hit a dropped kerb that really isn’t that low but then who doesn’t laugh at someone when they trip up or stumble and wish they had a camera to ake £250 off of ybf, and after all I want to be treated as normal so that includes laughing at me when I nearly go flying out of my chair.
You will soon learn those dropped kerbs really aren’t as dropped and easy to get up as ou’d first think and we need planners to spend a day in a chair to understand this, but that’s a-whole-nother blog to start on!