Wheelchair = freedom

My husband is officially handicapped. I can say this because we have handicap plates on our car. He can walk, but age combined with disability makes walking painful and difficult. Recently he bought a wheelchair and is using it to take “walks.”

The last three Sundays we’ve gone to parks with good blacktop paths and taken walks. Because he wanted to know how far he had travelled, I Googled “wheelchair odometer” and found that bicycle odometers can be adapted to wheelchairs. He bought an odometer for his chair and yesterday travelled 2.9 miles around our neighborhood while I was at work. Now he can do what most of us have taken for granted, take a stroll. Perhaps “stroll” is the wrong word. Over flat ground, I have trouble keeping up with him, unless he takes it easy. Uphill can be a problem, but he insists that no one push him. Strangers often offer to help, but he wants to do it himself.

I knew someone once who opposed the laws forcing ramps built. He felt there were too few people in wheelchairs to justify it. He had the grace to say he had been wrong, once he saw how many people finally were able to leave their homes.

We tend to look on people in wheelchairs as people who are limited, which of course they are. However the wheelchair is not what limits them. It gives them freedom.

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