I have to deviate away from film for just one post as my eyes have been opened to a subject, which has saddened and angered me. I was recently involved in a car crash, which left me with a punctured lung, broken rib and a shattered knee cap leading to surgery to piece my knee back together. As a result of this I have not been able to walk without crutches or a wheelchair. On longer journeys I cannot walk and so I use a wheelchair with someone pushing me. I am lucky that if need I can get out of the chair and walk with my crutches, many do not have this option. Like most people I have a great respect for those who continue their lives despite having permanent injuries or having been born with conditions meaning they cannot walk. Despite this respect I did not appreciate how their lives are affected, how could I?
I am not saying that I now have a full understanding because I have only had a small taste of what it is like and its a bitter taste. I hate every moment that I sit in the chair being pushed around. I wish I could walk although I have the benefit of knowing that I will be able to in a few months, some people don’t. I use the term “people” or “person” lightly as I quite often don’t feel like a person when in the chair. People act as if I am not there, they pity me or they think that just because my body isn’t working to the full then my brain isn’t either. I must state that this is not the majority and there are some very kind people out there. Some will bend over backwards to help you out or offer a hand when they see you struggling. This is just not something that affects me, but this affects the person pushing me too.
This normally being a film blog shows that I love film and love going to the cinema on a regular basis. I have only been once since my accident, this is because I have very few options when trying to find a place to sit. I can stay in the wheelchair and risk damaging my neck looking up at the screen or climb to the top using my crutches so that I can stretch my legs down the aisle. Many do not have this option, so possibly choose not to go. The disabled access door is quite ironically disabled so when pushing the button nothing happens. This means that Amy has to struggle to push a heavy door open with her back. I think the door has been out of order for some time.
I was cut out of the car after the crash as the front end had been completely flattened. My clothes were cut off me so that my injuries could be assessed. It was my 30th birthday recently and I was fortunate enough to be given money as part of my presents. Although plans had to be changed and there were things that I couldn’t do I ended up having an amazing birthday. The money I received was a great help and I chose to use it to replace the clothes that I had lost. This is very difficult because there is limited access to the shops meaning I had to get up every time. There is quite often a metal lip on the entrance which is hard to get over. So many people kept walking passed while we waited to get through the rails of clothes, leaving us to wait for a considerable time. I don’t want preferential treatment, but I know that I would be courteous enough to let someone through if they had been waiting. I have had to wait for so many people because they don’t realise I am there. I went to the disabled toilet, which was amazing inside, but we had to move like a Ferrari to get in because the door was a fast closing door. Who thought of that design?
Amy and I celebrated our second anniversary on the 26th Feb and we both wanted to go out for dinner. Any explained to the restaurant staff that I would be in a wheelchair. It turned out that I used my crutches as I want to do everything I can to get fit and strong again. The staff had said that we could use the wheelchair access at the back, which we were happy with. Had I been in the wheelchair Amy would have pushed me along the slope to find a step at the end of it. How is that wheelchair access? I’m glad that I chose to walk in the end. We went out to enjoy the sun at a pub and Amy had to battle an acute angle to get me round and up the slope to the beer garden, which was the only real option when choosing a place to sit. It amazes me how hard it is to get into places when in a wheel chair. The pavements are the same with very few lowered curbs meaning you always have to go the long way round.
I think a life where you can’t use your legs is hard enough without there being obstacles in the way when it would only take simple changes to improve the lives of those who cannot use their legs. I imagine cost has a lot to do with it and maybe people just don’t think about those in wheelchairs. I know from my Nan’s experiences that even having a walker or a Zimmer can cause major issues. I don’t think that I deserve any better treatment then anyone else, I just want the same, whether I’m in a wheel chair or when I’m back on my feet again. I want to be able to go to the cinema, go to restaurants, go shopping and do things that everyone else can do. I feel lucky that my situation is temporary, but for many it is not. I will make this experience a positive one and my eyes have been opened to a new world even if it has only been a short time.