The Blessing of a Wheelchair

Wheelchair (n)…a chair mounted on wheels for those who cannot walk; origin late 1600s.

One can go through a whole lifetime without even a thought of its effects, or life can revolve around the existence of a wheelchair.  For some of us, it makes a sudden appearance and alters for a while how we “roll” through life.  Yes, despite its bad reputation, the wheelchair can be a blessing.

Our “blessing” made its appearance in January of 2007.  There was a car accident, an ambulance ride, a surgery lasting well into the early morning hours, a hospital stay, rehabilitation, and ….a wheelchair.  A life altering experience for the whole family, especially for the 75-year-old who had a new four-wheeled form of locomotion.

“Willy” the wheelchair was a part of our lives for nine long months.  “Willy” went to the therapy room for a few months and then graduated to a new apartment.  Willy also went on outings and on these outings, we learned about Willy’s lessons.  Let me explain:

We learned:

that when you cross  the street with a wheelchair and a car wants to make a right turn…you get out of the way…and fast.

that the “Walk” sign is really very short.

that the mall is not really set up for a wheelchair and that elevators are not quite as big when extra people cram in at the last minute.

that our homes cannot easily accommodate wheelchairs and two small steps can keep someone out of your house for a very long time.

that valets help park cars, but not much else.

that there are a lot of parked cars displaying handicapped placards but very few visibly handicapped people.

that there are double doors leading into many establishments and one of the doors can be forced to stay open. 

that when  a wheelchair is in a store,  salespeople who were invisible suddenly materialize and are very helpful…when it is time pay.

that the ATM machine is the perfect height for a person in a wheelchair so s/he can withdraw money which will eventually buy a gift or two.

that wheelchair races can be fun…but not always for the one sitting in the wheelchair.

Finally, we learned one more powerful lesson.  Willy taught us life goes on….sometimes it’s good…sometimes it is not so good, but it is always what you make of it. 

Yes, having a wheelchair in your life can be a blessing.