Thoughts on being in/on a wheelchair

There’s good in the bad and bad in the good. 

Although there are some benefits to being in a wheelchair, not everyone can take advantage of them because it requires more than JUST being in a wheelchair. 

Here are some benefits I’ve experienced:

  • Getting onto airplanes first
  • People respect me for how I live and think while being in a wheelchair
  • Getting access to job opportunities 
  • Getting better parking spots 

These are all nice, but I argue that everything is harder for wheelchair users, or at least more time-consuming. This isn’t complaining, but to me, facts. Sure I get better parking, but I’m also limited to specific parking spots, and any other spot won’t do. I once tried to park in a normal spot and then someone parked close next to me. I could hardly get into my car. At a grocery store, I was in a handicapped parking spot and someone parked illegally right next to me on the stripes, so close that someone else had to drive my car out for me. 

Getting into the car, putting on pants, and going to the gym. All of it, although not hard for me, takes a lot longer than someone not injured and can be very difficult at times. 

The point of this all is first to recognize that there is good in the bad – being injured, but getting a good parking spot.

Although everything is harder, if it can be stoically endured, then the benefits arise and multiply – once I go to the gym, I make friends and feel a lot better about myself. 

The bad in the good, then, is that although there’s a good parking spot, it is also a limited selection of parking spots and others won’t do. Something worth recognizing.

My takeaway is that it’s all possible, though challenging. When I was doing dips at the gym, I was talking with some people nearby and they said the classic “if there’s a will, there’s a way.” This is true and the inspiration for this short piece. I enjoy working out enough to make it work, even if parking is hard and I don’t necessarily enjoy changing into sweat pants – everything is more difficult, but also a test of determination, which others will see and respect. 

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