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Wheelchair for an outing

Posted by Rebecca H on 11/26/01 at 18:44 (065337)

Me again. I bet you guys are thinking who is this Rebecca who keeps posting messages. Hope I'm not wearing out my welcome. Anyway, you all have made me feel so welcome I guess I just feel like I have a bunch of new friends who care and understand.

A friend of mine called and invited me to go with a group of friends to hear a comedian in Chicago. I really want to go. My husband is encouraging me to go. I think it would help me focus on something other than my feet. But it would involve a lot of walking. She offered to find a wheelchair. I am feeling really weird and a little scared about that. But it seems like the only thing to do unless I want to pay for it with pain later and I don't want to slow down any healing that is going on. Have any of you had similar feelings? Have you gone anyway and used a wheelchair?

Re: Wheelchair for an outing

Carole C on 11/26/01 at 19:01 (065343)

Sure. But believe me, it's best if you have someone who will push it for you. If it's not motorized it can be VERY tiring, because your arms aren't used to doing all the work. You might regret it for days.

People don't stare, or anything. Sometimes you feel like you're in the way, because a wheelchair is bigger than a person so it's hard not to be in the way or blocking an aisle or whatever.

Carole C.

Re: Wheelchair for an outing

Anthony P on 11/26/01 at 20:57 (065347)

Hi , I Use a wheelchair when I can get someone to go along, I agree
with Carole have someone with you. It can get tight in some stores were
theres not alot of room . It feels strange at first because you feel like your in the way at times .but most people are helpful.
Its gets the christmas shopping done:)

Anthony P

Re: Wheelchair for an outing

wendyn on 11/26/01 at 21:19 (065348)

Rebecca, if you need the wheelchair to do what you want to do, use it.

Please don't let your feet stand in the way of enjoying your life.

I must disagree with Carole on this one thing though, my personal experience is that people WILL stare. Unfortunate, but true.

Either ignore them, or stare back - they will look away.

Use a cane when you're in the washroom or at times where you MUST walk.

It's a temporary measure, but it can make a big difference.

Two years ago I had to do my Christmas shopping in a wheelchair. It is the only thing that got me through. My husband is a maniac wheelchair driver though - but that's another story.

Everyone is right in that if you aren't used to navigating one, slippery sidewalks in Chicago are not a good place to learn - have someone drive for you.

Go for dinner in the Cheescake restaurant at the base of the John Hancock building, have Cheescake for desert. That place is one of my favorite memories from Chicago.

Re: Wheelchair for an outing

Carole C on 11/26/01 at 21:57 (065359)

Wendyn, maybe I just didn't notice the staring. Since I'm 53 perhaps I've developed a thick skin at last! LOL I definitely should mention that I'm nearsighted, so maybe I am just not seeing it.

A bigger problem for me than staring was people not seeing me sitting there in the wheelchair and walking into me, stumbling over me, bumping me, and stuff like that. People in crowded public places in cities sometimes aren't too considerate and they act so childish; they don't even apologize for nearly knocking you over but act like you are in the way. I feel overly invisible in a wheelchair in crowded places. So I guess what I'd suggest is to be careful where your helper parks you! Of course if you are too far out of the way then it feels like you might die and turn to dust and nobody would notice LOL Well, that is what a wheelchair feels like to me, anyhow.

Carole

Re: Wheelchair for an outing

Kathy G on 11/27/01 at 08:29 (065377)

Rebecca,

We went to Florida recently and when we went to Epcot Center, we rented a wheelchair. I had no choice because in addition to the PF I had also sprained my ankle three weeks prior. I was determined not to let my feet get in the way of my enjoyment!!

My husband pushed it and I certainly wouldn't recommend powering it yourself since your arms haven't been conditioned to do so. You'd just trade one pain for another.

For me, it was an extremely humbling experience since I am a 'control freak' and I had to surrender to the fact that I had physcial limitations beyond that control. My husband's great sense of humor helped me a great deal. As to others staring, I didn't notice that they did but maybe I'm a bit oblivious! I DID notice that children (and some adults) would either not see me or walk toward me as though they were going to run right into me and then they'd veer away at the last minute. At first it made me nervous, then I decided to let my navigator worry about it!

I would use a wheelchair again if it meant the difference between staying at home and having a wonderful time with my friends!

Re: Wheelchair for an outing

Beverly on 11/27/01 at 16:14 (065427)

I understand the relunctance to use a wheelchair, but if you are fortunate enough to have a friend offering to find one and if she's willing to push you in it, that's a thoughtful gesture. What I hear her saying is, 'We want you to come and will find a way to make it work.' I agree with the others that it is important to get someone else to push you about.

I use the motorized scooter at the grocery store and Walmart, Target, ect.
I wish more places had the motorized scooters. They give a feeling of independence rather than the dependence that one feels in a wheelchair.

I've been thinking about all the places I don't get to go, and I have a new strategy although I don't reccomend it during the Christmas shopping season.
Next time I want to go to a department store or museum, ect that doesn't have the scooters, I'm going to ask the manager if one of the sales clerks would like to make $20.00 pushing me about for an hour or two. I'd be their captive audience.

And the next time friends invite me to a totally nonfootfriendly activity like the State Fair, I'm going to say, 'I'd love to go, but I can't walk that far, but if one of you will push the wheelchair I'll treat you to the
admission fee and all the junkfood you can eat.'

I have not yet gotten comfy enough will this to ask for someone to push me about for nothing. (no spouse to get free service from)

Best wishes,
Beverly

Re: Wheelchair for an outing

Janet C on 11/27/01 at 17:40 (065442)

I've been using a wheelchair, or an electric scooter in the stores, for... (I've lost track) ...years now! So, I've gotten fairly adept at managing the bulky contraptions by myself.

I've noticed every type of reaction, from those who I believe don't want to look at you because they've been taught 'not to stare', to those who look straight at you and smile and ask, 'How are you?' - I'm never quite sure how to answer that, but I usually just say, 'Fine, thank you.'

Many people offer to open doors for me, which I appreciate. Some are concerned that I may WANT to be independent! But I've found it's much easier to push a door open, and pull myself through the doorframe in my wheelchair; than it is to pull a door open, hold it there, and try to get the wheelchair through the open door before it slams shut on me! I've seen some people do it though, I'm sure it just takes experience.

And honestly, my arms didn't ache for very long as I was getting used to the wheelchair. I was actually glad that I was FINALLY able to get SOME sort of exercise! And it has definitely given me a lot more freedom. Of course, I CAN walk a little, but the amount of pain I suffer as a result is just not worth it. So I don't worry about what other people think.

Wishing you all the best ~ Janet

Re: Re don't be afraid of people who stair --

linda A on 11/27/01 at 21:36 (065459)

when i was young my mother had to use a wheelchair , because she broke both of her legs . so whenever i am in the store and i see people in the wheelchair ,i just want to make sure they can reach things or be able to move around items in tight spots . it may look like i am staring , but i am just concern about them . just the other day at kroger i notice a lady who could not get a item down from the shelf , so i helped her . by all means go out and have a good time . i remember taking our mom to the state fair in louisville , ky w/ push the wheelchair around the whole fair in the 70's . us kids took turns pushing mom around . last year we went to disney world and mom rented a electric wheelchair . it gave out in the middle of W.D. , but the nice folks there radio to the front desk to bring us a new one . we had a great time . so , don't be a shame of the wheelchair---rebecca linda

Re: Wheelchair for an outing

Carole C on 11/26/01 at 19:01 (065343)

Sure. But believe me, it's best if you have someone who will push it for you. If it's not motorized it can be VERY tiring, because your arms aren't used to doing all the work. You might regret it for days.

People don't stare, or anything. Sometimes you feel like you're in the way, because a wheelchair is bigger than a person so it's hard not to be in the way or blocking an aisle or whatever.

Carole C.

Re: Wheelchair for an outing

Anthony P on 11/26/01 at 20:57 (065347)

Hi , I Use a wheelchair when I can get someone to go along, I agree
with Carole have someone with you. It can get tight in some stores were
theres not alot of room . It feels strange at first because you feel like your in the way at times .but most people are helpful.
Its gets the christmas shopping done:)

Anthony P

Re: Wheelchair for an outing

wendyn on 11/26/01 at 21:19 (065348)

Rebecca, if you need the wheelchair to do what you want to do, use it.

Please don't let your feet stand in the way of enjoying your life.

I must disagree with Carole on this one thing though, my personal experience is that people WILL stare. Unfortunate, but true.

Either ignore them, or stare back - they will look away.

Use a cane when you're in the washroom or at times where you MUST walk.

It's a temporary measure, but it can make a big difference.

Two years ago I had to do my Christmas shopping in a wheelchair. It is the only thing that got me through. My husband is a maniac wheelchair driver though - but that's another story.

Everyone is right in that if you aren't used to navigating one, slippery sidewalks in Chicago are not a good place to learn - have someone drive for you.

Go for dinner in the Cheescake restaurant at the base of the John Hancock building, have Cheescake for desert. That place is one of my favorite memories from Chicago.

Re: Wheelchair for an outing

Carole C on 11/26/01 at 21:57 (065359)

Wendyn, maybe I just didn't notice the staring. Since I'm 53 perhaps I've developed a thick skin at last! LOL I definitely should mention that I'm nearsighted, so maybe I am just not seeing it.

A bigger problem for me than staring was people not seeing me sitting there in the wheelchair and walking into me, stumbling over me, bumping me, and stuff like that. People in crowded public places in cities sometimes aren't too considerate and they act so childish; they don't even apologize for nearly knocking you over but act like you are in the way. I feel overly invisible in a wheelchair in crowded places. So I guess what I'd suggest is to be careful where your helper parks you! Of course if you are too far out of the way then it feels like you might die and turn to dust and nobody would notice LOL Well, that is what a wheelchair feels like to me, anyhow.

Carole

Re: Wheelchair for an outing

Kathy G on 11/27/01 at 08:29 (065377)

Rebecca,

We went to Florida recently and when we went to Epcot Center, we rented a wheelchair. I had no choice because in addition to the PF I had also sprained my ankle three weeks prior. I was determined not to let my feet get in the way of my enjoyment!!

My husband pushed it and I certainly wouldn't recommend powering it yourself since your arms haven't been conditioned to do so. You'd just trade one pain for another.

For me, it was an extremely humbling experience since I am a 'control freak' and I had to surrender to the fact that I had physcial limitations beyond that control. My husband's great sense of humor helped me a great deal. As to others staring, I didn't notice that they did but maybe I'm a bit oblivious! I DID notice that children (and some adults) would either not see me or walk toward me as though they were going to run right into me and then they'd veer away at the last minute. At first it made me nervous, then I decided to let my navigator worry about it!

I would use a wheelchair again if it meant the difference between staying at home and having a wonderful time with my friends!

Re: Wheelchair for an outing

Beverly on 11/27/01 at 16:14 (065427)

I understand the relunctance to use a wheelchair, but if you are fortunate enough to have a friend offering to find one and if she's willing to push you in it, that's a thoughtful gesture. What I hear her saying is, 'We want you to come and will find a way to make it work.' I agree with the others that it is important to get someone else to push you about.

I use the motorized scooter at the grocery store and Walmart, Target, ect.
I wish more places had the motorized scooters. They give a feeling of independence rather than the dependence that one feels in a wheelchair.

I've been thinking about all the places I don't get to go, and I have a new strategy although I don't reccomend it during the Christmas shopping season.
Next time I want to go to a department store or museum, ect that doesn't have the scooters, I'm going to ask the manager if one of the sales clerks would like to make $20.00 pushing me about for an hour or two. I'd be their captive audience.

And the next time friends invite me to a totally nonfootfriendly activity like the State Fair, I'm going to say, 'I'd love to go, but I can't walk that far, but if one of you will push the wheelchair I'll treat you to the
admission fee and all the junkfood you can eat.'

I have not yet gotten comfy enough will this to ask for someone to push me about for nothing. (no spouse to get free service from)

Best wishes,
Beverly

Re: Wheelchair for an outing

Janet C on 11/27/01 at 17:40 (065442)

I've been using a wheelchair, or an electric scooter in the stores, for... (I've lost track) ...years now! So, I've gotten fairly adept at managing the bulky contraptions by myself.

I've noticed every type of reaction, from those who I believe don't want to look at you because they've been taught 'not to stare', to those who look straight at you and smile and ask, 'How are you?' - I'm never quite sure how to answer that, but I usually just say, 'Fine, thank you.'

Many people offer to open doors for me, which I appreciate. Some are concerned that I may WANT to be independent! But I've found it's much easier to push a door open, and pull myself through the doorframe in my wheelchair; than it is to pull a door open, hold it there, and try to get the wheelchair through the open door before it slams shut on me! I've seen some people do it though, I'm sure it just takes experience.

And honestly, my arms didn't ache for very long as I was getting used to the wheelchair. I was actually glad that I was FINALLY able to get SOME sort of exercise! And it has definitely given me a lot more freedom. Of course, I CAN walk a little, but the amount of pain I suffer as a result is just not worth it. So I don't worry about what other people think.

Wishing you all the best ~ Janet

Re: Re don't be afraid of people who stair --

linda A on 11/27/01 at 21:36 (065459)

when i was young my mother had to use a wheelchair , because she broke both of her legs . so whenever i am in the store and i see people in the wheelchair ,i just want to make sure they can reach things or be able to move around items in tight spots . it may look like i am staring , but i am just concern about them . just the other day at kroger i notice a lady who could not get a item down from the shelf , so i helped her . by all means go out and have a good time . i remember taking our mom to the state fair in louisville , ky w/ push the wheelchair around the whole fair in the 70's . us kids took turns pushing mom around . last year we went to disney world and mom rented a electric wheelchair . it gave out in the middle of W.D. , but the nice folks there radio to the front desk to bring us a new one . we had a great time . so , don't be a shame of the wheelchair---rebecca linda