|01-27-2009, 02:50 PM||#1|
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Pacific Northwest
Blog Entries: 1
Life as a disabled dad: wheelchair fascination
Children are often told not to stare, despite the fascinating nature of the subject's appearance or behaviour, for fear of causing offence.
But as a receiver of such stares, I am rarely offended. In fact, I find a child's curiosity to be a great way of breaking down misconceptions.
When I was undergoing rehabilitation in the National Spinal Injuries Centre in Stoke Mandeville, Buckinghamshire, it was often children who helped to broach taboo subjects or break the ice in discussions through their direct questions. Once, during an outing to the supermarket, I overheard a toddler behind me ask, “Mummy, why is that man in a buggy?”
While my wheelchair is a normal part of Rosalie's everyday life, other children get very interested. My niece Jessica even used me as a toddle truck when she first started walking. Many kids see it as a toy, and take every opportunity to get in to my chair when I am not using it. On these occasions, the wheelchair is commandeered and used to batter the paintwork or run over people's feet, siblings or pets wherever possible.
Rosalie and me: two in a wheelchair
Coping as a dad in a wheelchair
But strangely, while Rosalie will often sit in my wheelchair at home, she has only recently started cautiously wheeling herself around, and even then only after parental encouragement.
Unfortunately, she has also started doing something else that I am less keen on. She occasionally pushes me. Being pushed when you're not expecting it can be a very unsettling experience. It's as if you're suddenly standing on a conveyor belt heading straight towards the nearest sharp piece of furniture.
There are more positive aspects to children's interest in my wheelchair, though. It keeps me “in the game” rather than being a spectator. As Rosalie has got bigger (and heavier), she has found a couple of new footholds so that she can climb on to my lap without my having to lift her. I'm sure it won't be long before she is jumping in the chair as soon as I am out of it, and zooming around the flat. Before getting bored and leaving the wheelchair in another room and leaving me stranded on the sofa.
You can rent a wheelchair van in most major cities in the US. Check it out at http://www.wheelchairgetaways.com
|dad, disabled, fascination, life, wheelchair|