It’s not all doom and gloom though. So I thought this week I would share with you some of the upsides to having wheels. The bonuses it can bring.
Having to rely on other people to assist you with almost everything often means working at their pace. It also means learning to explain yourself very well. My vision of how a task is done isn’t always the same as that of the doers. It may always feel like I’m the one with the common sense, but there must be a reason to their ways?! You learn to accept that we all think differently.
I can’t just fetch a book, grab a drink, take a photo, put my leg in the exact position of comfort. When you can’t do the small things you learn to wait, direct, explain and often explain again.
Special Counters In Shops
I didn’t realise this until quite recently but if you shop in Primark (who doesn’t?) and you’re a wheelchair user you don’t have to wait in that mile long zig-zag queue and try to steer your way around without knocking down displays. You can go straight up to the end till where the next free staff member will serve you straight away. You’ll get some evil teen girl stares, but probably no more than normal, plus that’s more time for coffee after!
This brings me on to
Having wheels often means you don’t have to wait. Don’t ask me the reasoning behind this.
Isn’t it frustrating when the ride you want to go on at the theme park has over an hour wait? I wouldn’t know! Usually theses rides have a separate accessible queue and entrance point, which means I get to board the ride swiftly.
Always Having A Companion
I have some of the best friends, and we have some fab times. But you can’t always do everything together.
Ever really wanted to see a film that your friends don’t, and you’re not sure about going alone? Want to attend a gig but your best pal is working? Well having PA’s means that I’m not often alone and can drag them along to almost anything. OK so sometimes they are paid to be with me!
Having a PA also means having a chauffeur. No need to stress about public transport or delegate a driver. I’ve got mine on standby. Never getting lost alone is also a bonus!
We can all get a little carried away when on a shopping trip. Buy more than we planned, see too many thing we ‘just need’. This can be bad on the wallet (virtual or physical) and the shoulders. Not if you have your own sit in buggy to hang bags on the back of. And unlike toddlers there’s not much chance I’ll stand up and the thing will topple over, bags crashing to the ground!
It’s not just shopping trips I get loaded up on though. Going out for the day with a giant picnic, at a festival with bottles of water, a jumper, a coat, a waterproof, food, toilet roll, wipes, suncream (I like to be prepared!). Just shove it on the chair.
Don’t use me though!
Not being able to walk means that my shoes never have to touch the floor. No walking through muddy puddles for me! Even after a festival I can come home with my Converse gleaming. This also means no wear and tear, no soles coming apart, holes forming. My shoes can look the same at 5 years old as they do the day I get them. That doesn’t mean I don’t like shoe shopping though, I still buy plenty! It just means I can pass them on or sell them to a new owner, only to wreak them within weeks. Poor shoes.
Always Got A Seat
Sore feet? Not me. Achy legs? Nope. Tired of standing? Ha!
Not only does sitting down on the move mean that I suffer none of the above, it also means that I never have to find a seat or hear the words ‘pull up a chair’. I’ve got my own thanks!
Get to a pub or bar and there’s nowhere to sit? I’m over here, pretty comfy. Standing on the spot in queues can be tiring… So they tell me. At the park or a festival and the grass is wet or muddy, need a plastic bag to sit on? Whatever. It’s dry and warm up here!
Standing on the bus must be a pain!
This no standing lark can also mean less opportunities to make a fool of yourself (only slightly in my case). Although I may get stuck in snow and skid around on the ice, you won’t see me tripping over to plant my face in the ground.
And stubbing your toe… how does that feel?
Although having a Blue Badge doesn’t entitle me to park where I want whenever I want, as some assume. There are many carparks that offer a reduced price or a buy-an-hour-get-an-hour-free service. Having wheels can often make you a little slower at getting to places or running errands. So that’s pretty handy.
If you’re just nipping somewhere you can also park on double yellow lines for up to three hours without getting charged or clamped! But watch out for those pesky yellow marks on the pavement! You can’t park there.
It’s not only parking where I can save a few pennies. Having wheels entitles me to a free bus pass, although access isn’t always brilliant this can come in handy.
As I need assistance with everything I do, I always need to take my PA, friend or family member with me when going out. Always needing that extra person, means buying an extra ticket to concerts, theatre shows and the cinema. Thankfully most venues offer a complimentary (free) ticket for wheelchair users. Extra bonus if you’re just going with a friend or family member that wants to split the cost of a ticket. Winners all round!
Best Seats In The House
Although you’ll know this is definitely not the case at the cinema. Often being in a wheelchair means you get good seats at the theatre and gigs. Yes these seats are extremely limited, so you have to book quick! But they are usually reasonably close with a great view. Easy to access, plenty of space and leg room. You know that really annoying person that makes everyone in the row stand up because they need to get out for a wee? Well I don’t.
It’s always good to look on the bright side, every cloud as they say!
So what are your perks in life?
Update – you can also now check out my flip side post 12 Frustrations Of Being A Wheelchair User. My little list of frustrations and misconceptions.