Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Why being in a wheelchair doesn't suck

Part Two in a weekly series.

Let's face it: there are a lot of times when being in a wheelchair sucks. You can't fully appreciate the magnificence of the Macarena, a pointy object in your wheel could send you home for the day, and you get a sore neck from looking up at people all the time.

But let's take a look at one of the most obvious, and overlooked, reasons why living in a wheelchair doesn't suck: it's much better than the alternative.

There's nothing we can do about our disabilities. Chris has Muscular Dystrophy, Dan has Spina bifida. End of story. Were it not for the incredible technology available to us, we wouldn't be able to enjoy the active life we do now. Were it not for our wheelchair, we quite simply would not be able to go anywhere. Think about it. Our legs don't work. And no amount of rehabilitation will make them work. If we want to participate in time with our families, go eat dinner in another room, or pace the floor without help, we need to use a wheelchair to help us. And there's no shame in that.

Which brings us to the ultimate irony of the entire thing. To many in the general public, a wheelchair is a sign of helplessness. But in reality, a wheelchair is the very tool that gives us the freedom to live life, and to do it the way we want to.

As far as we're concerned we would rather use wheelchairs than stay isolated inside. Everyone should know that we need to be let outside for playtime. Without our wonderful rolling devices, the only way for us to move would involve dragging ourselves down the sidewalk. We prefer to avoid unsightly scrapes, mud covered clothing, and the occasional footprint on our backs.

In all seriousness wheelchairs have allowed us to do many things that are integral to our lives. There would be no way to get to classes, work, doctors appointments, and the necessary trips to the store. We would never have made it to any Chicago, Detroit, or Northwestern sporting events in person. The experiences and views in this blog would never have been formulated so we could share them with our wonderful readers. That would just be sad.

We wonder why the occasional people we encounter decide to stare at us. Is it because we move around differently or that our vehicles are amazing and super cool? Maybe it's a little bit of both. Either way we have conditioned ourselves to save the energy required to worry about that.

Whether you require a light weight manual wheelchair (Dan) or a heavy duty power chair (Chris), it can plainly be said that we would rather use our exotic wheels than face a world without them.

Next week's topic: We get really awesome parking spots!

1 comment:

Quinn said...

Good post, but I have to say that both your wheelchairs are missing one crucial element: TANK TREADS.