What is the Difference?
- You walk. I roll.
- You run. I do the same with my hands using 2 wheels.
- You jump. I pop wheelies to get over bumps and uneven surfaces.
- You can stand up or lay down if you get tired of sitting. I am either sitting down or laying down.
- Anywhere is accessible. If there are no ramps and proper accommodations certain public places are not accessible to persons in wheelchairs. Restrooms being what I notice most.
- You can move through a crowd with ease. I have to say excuse me and hope people are polite enough to move.
While I view myself as no different than the next person; these are a few of the big differences that I've noticed. They are really not a big deal to me, but when you take time to think about them and consider what I've said, you may see where I am coming from.
Walking/Rolling: To me these are one in the same. My wheels are just like the two legs God gave you to walk on.
Running: I do the very same thing when I am 'going fast' in my wheelchair. Let me tell you, its a workout and tiring! :)
Jumping/Wheelies: While you jump for fun or exercise.. I pop those cool wheelies to get over humps and bumps. But ideally in my mind I'm jumping too! :)
Changing of Position: When you get tired of being one way or another you have the freedom to move around and get comfortable. I/we can do this too but it isn't as easily done. As stated it mainly consists of sitting up or laying down which at times can be a bit boring!
All access/Restricted or No Access: Most of the time you can go anywhere without restrictions of any kind. The same can be said for those of us in wheelchairs most of the time as well with the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act. But, there are still some kinks and I have come to find that as I have grown into adulthood. Not all restrooms are accessible to those of us in wheelchairs even though they say they are. If a wheelchair cannot fit in the stall it is NOT accessible! Not all buildings are fully accessible. And furthermore, more places should have automatic entrances so those of us who want to shop there can come and go on our own. (i.e. convenience stores and restaurants).
Crowds: While you can maneuver through a crowd being heard saying 'Excuse me'.. some of us are hoping we are heard saying that just so we can get through. Or we're trampled on because people just don't want to move. I'm not saying this happens all the time. But it does and has happened to me. When ya see a wheelchair coming through; slide over just a bit if your able. We would appreciate it. :)
Often times, people think it is "cool" to use a wheelchair, while it is a neat thing its not always cool to those of us who use them on a daily basis. I am saying that I don't enjoy my life? No. I'm saying like some other things in life; it's not all its cracked up to be. Sitting in a wheelchair for the majority of the day becomes uncomfortable and tiring. And, if there are seat belts and numerous other restraints on the chair one can begin to feel confined. Sure its neat to be able to roll where you want to go, but just as walking is tiring; pushing a wheelchair is just as tiring for us if not more so.
People have asked me numerous times throughout my life if I would like to be able to walk. For a time; I wanted to. Now, I don't. Why? I wouldn't be who I am. It's that simple.
People also assume that when someone is in a wheelchair that they are paralyzed and cannot move or feel their legs. I understand people make assumptions because they don't know or think they do. I'm guilty of us. But the answer is No, not everyone who is in a wheelchair is paralyzed. Many of us were born with a condition such as Cerebral Palsy, Spina Bifida, Muscular Dystrophy, etc. Or something happened later on in life like MS.
I am not sure if this made any sense whatsoever.. and if it didn't oh well. I'm no different than you. Your no different than me. We are all human! :)