While I’ve been M.I.A recently, I wasn’t completely fucked – I’ve been working on (well, trying) & off with editing and getting this blog post, I’ve been wanting to do for such a long time now, out!
I approached Kate (& by approached, I mean called out to her while we were at opposite ends of the house, ha!), asked her how she’d feel about featuring on the Blog for one of my February posts!? BUT, there’d be a twist to the whole ordeal, he he! ^,^
It’s an experiment I’ve wanted to do for years. It’s not being done to offend anyone, AT ALL. However, I won’t be the author of this blog post today, so this is all on my “experimentee” (ha ha sorry babe!). I was more like a spectator/conductor (Yessss! I’m still Boss-bitch even when I have to spectate!)
What experiment? OH! Kate spent a day in a wheelchair…nooo biggie, right? HMMM. I guess we’ll find out, huh!
Not only was she spending a day in a wheelchair, she had to TRY her hardest to NOT use her legs. She needed to somehow be paralyzed from her waist down – allowing her to have the use of her upper – body only! AND complete/try-to a list of tasks I gave her!
P.S – just to set the record straight before it gets all fucked up & misconstrued, I realize that this is NOT an exact replication of Paraplegia but Kate performed this experiment of “A day in the life of a paraplegic” as respectfully as she could, without actual paralysis!
P.S.S – AND, by no means at all, does this even come close to what someone with this paralysis deals with. We’ve kept it basic asf.
ANYWAY, my little reading-whores xoxo! Without further babbles from ME! Saaall in Kate’s little mitts now ^,^ #HOWBOWDAT (Jordyn’s fault!)
“Ooooh a wheelchair, lets hop in it, it looks like fun. I don’t feel like walking. Oh you have a wheelchair, you’re lucky you don’t have to walk everywhere.”
– Just some of the things I hear people innocently say to Kylie, sometimes, not actually realizing how stupid they are to say, or perhaps just not thinking about what they’re saying. I bet they wouldn’t be saying that if they were in a wheelchair for a day.
Recently, I spent a day in a push wheelchair, as a paraplegic. Obviously, I wasn’t paralyzed (as stipulated above somewhere) Hmmm, perhaps if I’d had a spinal anesthetic or an epidural, it would’ve made the experience more authentic or… “interesting”? lol. However, I tried my best to simulate being a paraplegic, and that, was one of the hardest ways I have ever spent a day. But it all started with a coffee…
The Caregiver (Kylie’s caregiver was on shift during this experiment), who kindly offered to help out, made me a coffee. Normally I’d have got it myself but well, here I am simulating being paralyzed from the waist down. After my cup of wake me up, I then had to transfer myself on the commode.
Imagine pushing yourself over sideways, when you cannot use your core, your legs wont (in my case not allowed to use them) move. It wasn’t an easy task. Once I had settled myself on the commode I went about doing my business.
Going about my business, on a commode?... weird! I'm use to sitting on an actual toilet... PRIVATELY. But, today - Today I feel exposed and vulnerable.
The caregiver then pushed me… all the way into the bathroom so I could shower myself AND attempt to empty my waste into the toilet. (You’ll find out how that all went, further down, in my after shower video)
After showering myself and wrapping myself in a towel, I was pushed back into my room. Ever tried to dry yourself when you can’t reach certain spots? Imagine not being able to dry your own ass!? It’s not dignified at all. Then transferring back onto the bed without 1) ripping your backside and 2) dragging yourself across without incident: the commode moving, falling between the gap, not falling off. Ever tried to move, push or pull a drunk comatose friend? Where their body just won’t work and they drag their limbs all heavy and dead weight? Well imagine that being your entire bottom half….
Dignity, privacy, pride, humility…. Yeah that all goes out the window. You lose all that and more. Think about how you always shut the door when you go the toilet, or when you get dressed after a shower, you close the door, then get dressed so no one sees you naked, no one sees your genitals, no one sees anything. Well, Think again.
Time to get dressed!
One of the tasks was for me to put my own laundry on. Now there was a problem with that… the house isn’t exactly wheelchair friendly.
Yes, it’s an accessible home, BUT the doorways are normal size, the hallway is too! So, I almost got stuck going down to the washing machine. I did however get there, but I had to launch my laundry into the washing baskets once I got as far as I could go. Lucky I didn’t have to put my own washing on because the washing powder is on a shelf up high – (of course in a “typical” paraplegic situation “things” would be in reach, but this is not a “typical” sitch. It’s an “experiment” & I have to work with and around what I have in the environment I live in.)
NOW, I can finally eat breakfast… but doing that without asking for any assistance is impossible in my house, as it is not 100% accessible in some parts – one of which, is the kitchen area! I can’t even get my chair through the door way.
After that, it was off around the block I went.
You know what? You don’t realize the shitty state of the footpaths until you’re in a wheel chair and hitting the bumps, uneven parts, patched up work where they should’ve done an entire section. In fact, some of these footpaths are on a lean. You wouldn’t notice if you walk it because it’s a subtle lean. The wheelchair sure noticed though and I had to work extra hard pushing on one side!!!
When I had to crossing the road… Well bugger, the curb where you go down onto the road… is STEEP and I honestly thought and felt like, I was going to fall out.
Once I wheeled onto the road I wondered… Those look the same, if I got down that side and almost assed out, am I gonna be able to get up this damn side…. Lucky for me I did, and there were two ladies kind of watching as I went up. I do think they were watching in case I couldn’t make it up. I was feeling it in my shoulders after that… and it was only 2 damn blocks….
BUT! there are always the 1, 2, 3 or fucking more people that do this....
When I got back, I grabbed to recycle bin from the front. Oh that’s right, I cant actually walk this around the back… I couldn’t even open the gate with ease and breeze on in. I had to throw the bin into the front yard and get myself through the gate, without letting the dog out, and quickly close it again. I had to take the recycle bin out the back… and oh whoops I couldn’t fit between the garage and house, so I threw the recycle bin as far as I could towards the back. That was the best I could do.
I had to make the bed…. As it stands (no pun intended) I hate making beds… there was a sheet there for me to get started. Now as I mentioned the house is not entirely wheelchair accessible so I had to move the bed from side to side. You know… like those hospital beds… HEAVY like an elephant. Well I managed only just to get the sheet on the bed without having a meltdown. Nothing is the same when your legs can’t do what you want them to do when you need them to.
Now, just because of a disability like this doesn't mean you won't ever be able to drive again! Because you can! But, for this experiment I just used Kylie’s rental van.
So, the lovely caregiver opened the van and lowered the ramp lift. Ever been in a lift? Well, this is almost like that.. except you damn well roll on it unsecured and the only thing stopping you from rolling off the front or back is a 10cm high flip up piece of guard rail.
Well I got in the van and thinking to myself, oh yes, I have the brakes on the chair, on, I’ll be fine. Well on take of I tilted backward and it gave me such a fright I held on for dear life, for the rest of the trip to the mall (even with being strapped down).
SOOO - Parking. PARKING is always a nightmare when we’re trying to find an empty disability space for Kylie. The fact that there is a lack of them is just ONE problem and my other peeve is (as rude & offensive as it’s gona come across) is; senior folk parking in them when they too, have their own parks too (I know they have disability cards so yaknow, they’re allowed, but it is just SO annoying! Especially, when appearing capable ENOUGH to walk from the senior parking spot beside the disability ones!). BUT. My worst peeve is, cunts that are NOT in any way, shape or form disabled but still occupy the parks.
I found it funny when in the Chartwell mall, how most people in public will ignore you, look over your head or just pretend they’ve not seen you. Some people were really nice and smiled and said hello. And the other wheelies…. They were incredibly nice. Some of them I’ve seen before and they wouldn’t look at me twice, but being in a chair, yeah I was one of the gang I guess. Weird. Humans are weird in social situations like that.
I did go to the supermarket (won’t name which one), and I was disappointed actually in the staff. I got more attention from the other shoppers who made sure they moved for me and smiled. I was trying to reach up to the meat shelf and the employee at the supermarket looked at me, quickly looked away, and then actually walked away. I was like…. Great you fuck face, you know it’s your job to help people right…
Well It happened more than once (same supermarket). The self-serve supervisor and I guess watch dog of the supermarket. She stood there blocking the exit, glared at Kylie and I and then just as I was about to exit, the rude old cunt yelled and leaned OVER TOP OF ME to call to one of the other workers there to fetch cigarettes for a customer.
I was disgusted by this, and I vocalized it too. I failed this challenge of getting something off a high shelf at the supermarket. Because – 1) Staff sucked & 2) I felt totally uncomfortable to approach and ask staff for help after the appalling shit I had just witnessed. It was humiliating and horrible. Humans are awful, ignorant and arrogant.
We went for lunch and the staff are always lovely where we eat so no issues there except finding a table and having to move a chair out of the way as people just watched ha ha ha. But hey we got to eat and I didn’t realize how hungry I was, until the food was in front of me and I ate every last crumb and morsel of that lunch. Must’ve been all the physical exertion.
Well after we got home, I was absolutely exhausted and sore. I was sore in the back, and I had to keep pushing myself up and down in the chair to adjust my hips and spine (pressure relief). What a bastard of an idea (Kylie’s fault ha ha). Well, I made it to 4 o clock. And this is what I have to say….
Just because someone is in a wheelchair doesn’t mean they can’t do what you can do. I struggled with quite a bit of it, because of many reasons such as accessibility, people, and just because I’m so used to just walking 2 minutes somewhere to do tasks. It makes things about 100 times more difficult to do. Doesn’t mean they can’t do it, it just means, it’s going to take time so people need to learn to be patient. Everything I did took longer, was harder and I think if I was in chair myself I wouldn’t cope. So many things I’d have ordinarily done, in a certain time frame, I just couldn’t do. Not everything is designed with wheelchairs in mind. Although in saying that, malls, shops and places as such are getting better with lifts, many, many parking spaces for disable parking card holders and they stock the shops and set up their shelves so people can easily get around the shop. It does make a difference. Trust me I know, because I crashed into shelves many times and got stuck and felt pressured if someone was waiting to get past.
I guess I want to share with the general public, just so you can all get an idea of just how hard it can be. The struggle is fucken real. So just THINK about shit before - “Ooooh a wheelchair, lets hop in it, it looks like fun. I don’t feel like walking. Oh you have a wheelchair, you’re lucky you don’t have to walk everywhere”, comes out of your mouth!
ACTUALLY! I recommend that people give it a go, experience a day in a wheelchair! I definitely will NOT be fucken doing that again, that’s for sure. But I can guarantee that you’ll not look at things the same again AND you will appreciate every bodily function you have – because I do!
& results for my task sheet - Toilet records - FAILED. I tried in a public disabled toilet. At home. Overall - FAIL. (I didn't have a catheter, so commode was next best thing.)
And that my loves, is the experiment with Kate, spending the day in the life of a "paraplegic". As stated in the beginning - NO OFFENSE WAS INTENDED IN ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM!!!
Stay happy, Keep smiling! XX