So I had my first “awkward wheelchair encounter” the other day…
Me and my parents had decided to go to local picture framers to get a frame for an art print I got for my birthday (in June…we’re only just getting around to it, bad I know).
This was going to be my first experience of “indoor wheelchair use”, (so far I’ve just been wheeled around outside). I was a bit anxious about everything being accessible, but I needn’t have worried, the women who served us was so helpful and understanding. She lay everything down on the floor so I could see it because the counter was too high, and she even opened the door for me on the way out.
What I didn’t count on though was seeing someone I knew. I say that in the loosest sense of the word. It was a women whose child went to the same school as me, and my mum knew her a bit. I don’t think I’ve ever spoken two words to her. She recognised my mum, and of course started asking her about me and my sister, what we were doing, whether we still lived at home etc. My mum obviously explained that I was still living at home because I wasn’t well, and it was at this point that she recognised me.
I was hoping for a quick acknowledgment and then escape, and I think my mum was too, but oh no…the women then preceded to exclaim “oh I didn’t recognise you! how come you’re in a chair then?”
When I uncomfortable mumbled that I had M.E. she then said “oh no…how long have you had that for?”….when I said 4 years she then carried on with “oh dear…such a shame”…
I felt so awkward and embarrassed at this point, all I wanted was the ground to swallow me up. Luckily at this point I had to go and pay for my frame so we could escape. The journey home was a bit quiet. I think my mum found it almost as difficult as me, she’s always struggled with the idea of a wheelchair.
I knew that I’d have those awkward experiences when I first started to see people when I’m in a wheelchair, and I know that each time it happens it’ll get easier, so I’m glad I’ve got the first one out the way.
On another note I wanted to say thank you so much for all the responses I got to my last post. I got some great tips on how to alleviate my pain, I shall be trying them out in the coming weeks. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Until next time, Rhosyn.