Monday, December 22, 2014

A 100% Non-Patronising Exploration Of My Very Mild Mobility Problems

Now, I'll be the first to admit that my six-week stint in wheelchair and on crutches makes me little more than a Wheelchair Tourist, but it's opened my eyes as to how damn inconvenient the world can be for anybody with mobility difficulties.

With a following wind, I should be back to what passes for normal by the end of January, but there's one or two things that have opened my eyes to the world of (very mild) disability that I hope won't sound too patronising for readers who have suffered a lifetime of this sort of thing.

1. Mobility is difficult. I'm dreadfully unfit, and crutches have be gasping for breath within 50 yards. My chair is from the Red Cross, and made of the same stuff that the British Army uses in tanks and weighs a ton. The slightest upward incline is Hell.

2. Yes, people DO patronise you in a wheelchair, but not has much as you think. I've only had one person talking over my head (The "Does he take sugar?" syndrome, I believe it's called). Could do better, Tesco.

3. Accessibility Part One. Shop doors that aren't wide enough. Yes, you, Holland and Barrett.

4. Accessibility Part Two. So, we booked a table to eat out the other night. "I'll be on crutches, so can we have an accessible table, please?" Accessible was up two flights of stairs at the back of the restaurant. But within five paces of the accessible toilet, which was up two flights of stairs at the back of the restaurant.

5. Mobility Part Two. Wow, motivation is difficult. Out of two weeks so far, about 11 days have been spent on the sofa, and I'm developing a severe case of arse-ache and a mild trouser rash. So easy to be housebound.

6. Nice people. Jane has been awesome. She admits that she didn't realise how much like hard work looking after somebody with mobility problems would be, and I've only got a slightly broken foot. Many people don't have this help, so I'm extremely lucky. Also, pizza delivery is excellent in these parts, but could prove fatal.

I'm going to be better soon, but many people aren't so lucky. A few years ago, there was a nasty atmosphere to public discourse when the disabled were being portrayed as spongers in the press and by certain political parties. I'm glad that seems to be passing (at least among the general public), and nobody's tried to kick my stick away. But - here comes the patronising bit - my eyes are well and truly open to the struggles of millions. The mobility-impaired have to work twice as hard just to keep up, and I have the added benefit of having a decent job without any sort of financial struggle.

The British Red Cross have been kind to me without asking anything in return, so send them money. You can do this buy buying a special version of The Farm's Altogether Now, which I rank as the second-best version of the song.

Here's the definitive version:

And the one by Atomic Kitten that will have you poking knitting needles down your ears:

Despite the original's anti-war message, I would gladly call down air-strikes on the Atomic Kitten version.

That is all.


Alicia Foodycat said...

I'm not sure about the attitude to disabled people passing - I hear a lot of stories. Maybe it is because you are a man? Most of the hassle I hear about is directed at women with disabilities.

James said...

The abuse and denigration of the disabled by the current government continues. Whether the general population accepts that disabled people are not scroungers is ope to question.