Today has been a busy day with a weird mixture of highs and lows on the understanding disability/mobility front.
Firstly we set off this morning early as my wife’s car was due it’s MOT and full annual service, always a day of mixed emotion and trepidation. Vera and Jim who we see are lovely, have been doing our car for years and have seen first hand the change of me and my mobility. They are lovely and always ask how I’m doing and encourage me to keep fighting and do all that I can to maintain my independence.
We were due to see my sister in law today but she cancelled so after posting 11 Christmas Cards, if we’ve forgotten you sorry, memory isn’t what it was, we popped to the local library to get some more books for bedtime stories and to iron out a recurring issue with our LG’s card. My wife got my wheelchair out for me as she always does and then started getting our LG out as I was transferring myself from the car to the chair a lady trying to be helpful opened the door wider causing me to slip whilst asking if she could help me. I know she meant well and didn’t see how her small action had impacted on me so I politely thanked her for her help and away she went. Now this is where disability gets confusing for people! Today this lady genuinely cared wanted to help and thought that by opening my door wider she was, and this is where it gets complicated. The one thing I want to maintain more than anything is my independence and I struggle with this at the moment as without my wife or others there I cannot get out on my own. We are like a well oiled machine now and she knows pretty much perfectly where to put my chair so that with the car door and one of my crutches I can get into it easily. Here a stranger was doing a random act of kindness but not helping. Now I wasn’t about to call her out on it as I didn’t want to put her off helping someone else in the future. What I would say though is this, offer to help or ask how you can help, do not assume you know how best to help. I don’t want this to sound ungrateful so I hope it doesn’t but any readers in the future please offer to help, ask how you can help, direct the question at the disabled person and then wait for a response.
My wife then suggested going to a nearby town Dereham for a bit of Christmas food shopping and a coffee as we had the day free so we headed over there. First stop Lidl and frustration at no Blue Badge or Parent and Toddler Bays free. Pleased to report however that blue badges were on display in all cars in disabled bays. Now you know this is a pet peeve of mine and I have blogged about it previously on many occasions. We parked up elsewhere on the edge of a row so I had room to open my door wide and get my wheelchair alongside and my wife pushed me across the car park. What did upset me however was on the way out a blue badge holder parked in a parent bay and neither of the two occupants in the car were children. I find this most upsetting because there are limitations on a blue badge, it doesn’t give you carte blanche to park wherever you want and if as I do, you want people to respect the scheme and the parking bays you as a holder must above all else respect the scheme and abide by the regulations, as frustrating as it can be arriving and having no bays empty. Using the same logic applied by the badge holder today a parent can park in a disabled bay if all their designated bays are full!
Next stop Tesco and the biggest bonus here was bumping into A, one of the best men from our wedding. He has been retraining and working 3 jobs lately so we haven’t seen one another in months. Looking forward to you popping over Friday to make the coffees! I have to say hats off to the Dereham Tesco extra store, not only do you have a coffee shop with a very large lift that services it (I could have turned my mobility scooter in it had I been on that and not my wheelchair), but also once you got in to the Costa the tables were well spaced out allowing for plenty of maneuverability in my chair. The store itself is huge and we only went a short way into it, but every member of staff spoke to both me and my wife, a foreign concept when I am in my chair. They were helpful and polite getting things for us and even asking if they can help me, when they could see there was a t-shirt I couldn’t reach. I left there feeling very tired but happy, certainly an honourable mention is deserved in my Disabled Access Reviews.
We got home and the day had taken its toll on me, I played with my LG for a bit and then fell asleep. I was woken by the garage calling, never good news although despite the extra work the price still came under budget so happy there.
Finally this evening we went to our friends for tea and then we took our LG’s for a stroll around their estate looking at the Christmas light displays. One cul-de-sac always goes all out and raises money for a local charity this year it is Nelson’s Journey (please check out the lights if you are local and if not the web page and see the wonderful work they do with bereaved children and donate if you can) My photo’s really do not do it just justice
There were just two things that caused minor irritation firstly the pavements are designed for people to walk on and for wheelchairs, mobility scooters etc that cannot just hop off huge kerbs because some lazy fu@kwit cannot be bothered to use their designated parking space or walk a little further to their homes. Newsflash your boundary does not include the pavements, when I pimp my scooter Star Wars style I need some lightsaber style cutting, instrument so that they think twice before doing it again there really is no need for blocking off the path. Secondly the so called dropped kerbs clearly are not I’m glad I had my scooter and not the wheelchair!