Hello everyone! 🙋
So my last blog had so much love and attention that I was completely blown away. “10 things to not to do a wheelchair user” had in total over 10,000 views! Which completely and absolutely blows my mind. I genuinely can’t believe it so thank you to each and every one of you who have shared, commented, liked, read the blog I really, truly appreciate it.
I decided that I would do a blog from a slightly different angle this time so that I don’t come across as a miserable person who hates the rest of the world (which totally isn’t the case…honest). I thought I would share some of things that I really appreciate when I’m out and about because although the majority of the time I do like to do things by myself and be independent there are obviously times where I am limited in what I can and can’t do.
First of all though, I do just want to clarify something that I feel is important seeing as more people have stumbled across my little blog. Everything that is said in this blog is just my opinion and THE MOST important thing you need to understand is that every single person, disabled or not, is completely different in how they do and don’t like to be treated. These are just my singular opinions on the matter.
Now that we’ve cleared that up… Here are some of the things that I really appreciate when I’m out and about.
Letting me know that you’re in the area if I need any help
This is something that I’ve only really noticed happening recently but when I’m in shops occasionally one of the shop assistants will just let me know that they’re in the area and that if I need anything then I just need to find them. This is really lovely because it makes me feel really uncomfortable if I spot something that I really want that is on a high shelf and I just can’t reach it but I can’t see anyone around to immediately ask for help. This is especially difficult in clothes shops because most of the time they don’t have any identifiable uniform and I end up looking around trying to find someone who might work in the shop. So it really puts me at ease if someone just makes themselves known even if I don’t actually need any help it’s just really nice to know that someone is there and know what they look like.
Offering to help
Now quite often when people ask if I need any help I will say no because I’m genuinely ok and I am managing fine. But again it’s reassuring to know that people are willing to help if I’m in a sticky situation for example when I get stuck trying to get up a dipped curve and someone asks if I need help then my answer will definitely be yes (actually happened, I thought I was going to be stuck forever until a lovely gentleman helped me up the final section, thank you very much!) or like the time where I had a handbag and a rather large bag of shopping balanced on my lap and I would have been fine if it hadn’t been for my wheels getting stuck between two very badly paved stones on the pavement. Hence handbag and bag of shopping, including all the food and toiletries inside it flying across the entirety of Reading town centre. I would have been seriously screwed had it not been for the incredibly lovely strangers who ran and collected all the rolling cans and other bits and put them all back where they needed to be. So while eight or nine times out of ten I will say “no, thank you” when someone asks if I need help, those couple of times when I say yes I appreciate it more than you could imagine.
Holding doors open
Wheelchair + doors = trouble. It’s really difficult to hold open a door and push a self-propelling wheelchair through it at the same time. And I can’t even imagine how difficult it is in a powerchair. So anyone who holds open a door for me is a total babe.
Giving way on the pavement
Aside from the obvious similarity of having four wheels getting around in a wheelchair is actually very much like driving. Especially around the streets of London. Where some of the streets can easily fit 3 or 4 people across it at one time, it wouldn’t be able to fit that many wheelchairs. When I’m on a particularly narrow street, for example, last week at work there were a lot of roadworks happening on the street behind the office which ended up taking up half of the pavement as well. And while everyone was still able walk in opposite directions because it was enough space for two people to walk past each other it was only enough space for one wheelchair. Which can sometimes create an awkward situation if there is a stream of people walking in the opposite direction to me and I have to hold back and wait so when people realise that there isn’t enough space for me and hang back so that I can get through it makes my life a lot easier.