The real world

Yesterday was a bit of a busy day, down to Biggleswade for a 10:00 Dentist appointment. Yes I know I live in Cambridgeshire and Biggleswade is in Bedfordshire but I used to live there and kept some of my services going. As regular readers will know I have been banned from using crutches which is OK in theory but you just can’t get away with it in the real world. I know that they don’t want me to compromise my other knee but sometime there is no way round it. We managed to get a disabled parking bay which was a little way to walk to the Dentist but not right across town. I didn’t think we would get the wheelchair through the door, you might if you took the wheels off, so I had to go on crutches. The first thing you encounter at the door is a steep step, then I had to get up and over the threshold which was quite steep too. I am not really sure whether you would get the wheelchair through the door but you certainly couldn’t do it on your own. Next was the stairs, I have not done stairs before on crutches with no leg but the other option was the stair lift. I really didn’t want to use the stair lift as it goes up one flight then you have to get off and on another one for the second flight. Stair lifts are renowned for being painfully slow so I opted to tackle the stairs myself. They are particularly steep and I have to say the experience was not one I would want to repeat on a regular basis. Going downstairs was slightly easier but I felt that the possibility of falling forward was always staring me in the face.

Next I went to have my hair cut and again this is another establishment I would have difficulty with on my own. I wheeled myself to the Hairdressers while dad carried my crutches. There is a porch with a step up and again a threshold to get over which I used my crutches for while Dad dragged the chair into the shop. I suppose if I was on my own I could have left the wheelchair outside but not without a wheel clamp fitted! I had asked about a ramp, they said they had wanted to half brick up half the full length shop window (and I suppose change the step to a ramp) but Biggleswade Town Council wouldn’t allow them because it was not in keeping with the high street. So a shop may be willing to comply with the DDA (Disability Discrimination Act) which is a law and makes disabled people’s life better and more independent, a Town Council can block it because of the aesthetics of the shop or town. I am sure there can be some sort of compromise somewhere but until then many shops and facilities will remain difficult or impossible for wheelchair users, or other disabled people with mobility issues to use. Being banned from using crutches inside my house may be OK but outside in the real world it is impractical without a prosthesis.

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