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Wheelchair Etiquette

How to act when you're around someone in wheelchair.

Have you ever been in a wheelchair? Maybe you just tried one out for fun or maybe you had a broken leg one time. There are a lot of different reasons people use wheelchairs. Some are temporary, but some are permanent. All-in-all, I think wheelchairs are such a great thing! They allow mobility to people who may not have the ability to get around otherwise. There are a lot of different types of wheelchairs too, from the old fashioned, more primitive wheelchairs, to the newfangled electric wheelchairs & everything in between. Some wheelchairs are just "Transport Wheelchairs", which are designed specifically to push someone else around in. Like this one.

Then there are the wheelchairs that you sit in &

can be pushed around, OR you can wheel

yourself around, which is like my hubby has...

If you've ever had to be stuck in a wheelchair, you will probably identify with my hubby... The first problem is the handicapped parking. There is truly never enough of it & it does seem like there are oodles of able-bodied folks who park there.

I do realize there are a lot of people with ailments we may not see, so I try not to pay too much attention to who is parked there. I too have been given the evil eye on many occasions, when I park in a handicapped space, until they see me get the wheelchair out of the back of our truck... & If we can't find a disabled parking spot, it just makes me all the more thankful that we do have a wheelchair... AND if you're ever riding with me, please do not ask me to park in the handicapped spaces if my hubby isn't with me. I refuse to do it, since I know how hard it is when you truly "NEED" to park there & can't. Plus, there is a huge fine, which I cannot afford to pay.

If you are out & about & come in contact with someone in a wheelchair, here's how you might be able to make their life a bit easier... First of all, never & I mean NEVER stop or pull out in front of a rolling wheelchair. It's dangerous for you, but it's more harmful to the person wheeling themselves around. In our case, there are no brakes on the wheelchair, so stopping quickly means using your hands to press against spinning wheels, just to slow down, to keep from rolling into you.

This is a VERY painful, burning experience to the wheelchair person... & As my sweet hubby describes it,

"I feel degraded & like people are thoughtless & have no respect for me as a person

& it burns the $#!t out of my hands!"

Folks, when we do go out with the wheelchair, to a busy store, my hubby encounters more rude & uncaring people than he likes to admit. He feels abnormal enough just being in the wheelchair, but with the way "some" people treat him, it makes him feel even worse. The best thing you can do is to be kind & just visualize them as any other person. They are human, just like you, but have ailments that make wheels required to get around... & Yes, PLEASE open the door & hold it open, until the chair is all the way in, safely.

I can't begin to say how it makes us feel when I'm pushing the wheelchair up to a busy door, with people on the other side of it, who look right at you, but just stand there talking. The struggle is real!... It is impossible for one person to open the door & wheel their chair into it. Most of the time, even if I am pushing the wheelchair, I have to turn it around backwards to maneuver over the threshold, to get him inside the building. I am not an octopus, so holding the door open & finagling the chair around & through it, are impossible on my own... THANK-YOU for getting the door!

Please also remember while you are talking

on your cell phone & slowly meandering along,

that you are not alone in the store.

If there is someone in a wheelchair behind you & you stop because you are absentmindedly trying to shop & talk on the phone at the same time (Yes, this happens all too often), they may bump into you unexpectedly. Sorry!

The last thing a guy in a wheelchair wants is to be in your way. He feels bulky & awkward & he cannot anticipate your every move. Even if he scrunches himself up as far as he can to the shelves in the aisle, his chair is still there, sitting in front of you & the only way to reduce awkward congestion is to grab what you are there for & take your cart on down the isle, so a guy in his wheelchair can attempt to find what he is searching for, from his seat.

Stores are sometimes like obstacle courses for someone

in a wheelchair. It's not always easy to maneuver

around the displays & other shoppers.

Please do your best to be thoughtful

& give them some room.

When we go shopping, my hubby usually has me nearby to help him in the store. Sometimes he does venture off on his own though & I have stumbled onto him right when he accidentally dropped something, which rolled under his wheelchair. This makes him feel very embarrassed & humiliated, sadly. If I'm there, I always help him by guiding the chair away from the item & picking it up for him. If you see someone in a wheelchair drop something, please help them by picking it up for them. It's not easy to navigate around, trying to figure out where the item went & super hard to reach it under there. THANK-YOU!

We've been met with all kinds of people when we're out & about with the wheelchair. Everything from the people who didn't think I should park in the handicapped space, to the people who stare at you. There was even one young fellow who ran over & apologized for "pre-judging" me for parking in the handicapped space at the dollar store, because he felt so bad for what he had been thinking, until he saw me get the wheelchair out, because we didn't have the hanging doohickey on our mirror. I pointed out that we, in fact, have the tiny wheelchair emblem on our license plate... & One time we had a lady who helped my hubby bag all of our groceries at WinCo, even after she found out I was with him. When I thanked her, I told her that "usually" the majority of people are rude to people in wheelchairs. She was shocked, but said she works with the handicapped, so she understood the struggles.

Most recently we encountered a cashier who actually asked me if my hubby could put the bags of groceries off the turntable into our cart. I was livid! That was "No bueno!" You can't roll your wheelchair around while carrying bags of groceries!

The bottom line is, people in wheelchairs

ARE people too, so please be thoughtful. They have enough life struggles as it is & all they really want is to feel normal & be able to function again.

Getting out & about with a wheelchair is better

than never getting out at all, so open the doors,

move aside, stay out of the way & just smile.

Kindness goes a LONG way in the world & God knows we need a lot more

kindness in the world today!

I decided to look back in time at some vintage

wheelchairs & I found some super cool different types.I put them here for you to check em out too. Enjoy!

It's amazing how many different models there are!

A HUGE THANK-YOU to photographer Kaye Menner for giving me permission to use her awesome photo of these ^ vintage wheelchairs! She has some REALLY cool pics!

Some of them recline.

This one looks like a chair from the kitchen table,

with wagon wheels attached to it...

Not sure how this one works...

A three wheeler.

Happy New Year!

I made these ads through Amazon, in order to advertise here on my blog, in an effort to help support my sweet hubby, in the manner to which he has become accustomed.

I may or may not receive a tiny percentage from some sales. Please click here

& make your purchases at Amazon.


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