an article written by Dave Breezy (A.K.A. Chairdozer)
Did you ever notice that when you’re in a wheelchair you’re invisible? It’s true! I am a 300+ lb, 6’ tall man, in a large, noisy, clunky rehab power wheelchair. Not an easy combination to miss. Yet whenever I go out in public, people regularly walk into me, trip over me, bump into me, ect. Maybe that’s why wheelchairs are so expensive? I guess those invisibility devices aren’t cheap! I wonder if the military knows about this? Imagine it, an entire army of invisible soldiers in their invisible wheelchairs … In their homes? I better quit, before I get drafted!
Also when you’re in a wheelchair people treat you different! I have been both able bodied, (before the accident) and disabled (since) so I really notice it. Some people try to avoid you at all costs. They act like it was catching. (Even some that used to be your friends!) I’ve had people who were my friends before my accident that will now cross the street when they see me coming, I guess just so they won’t be seen talking to me. Others want to try to help you, whether you need it or not. I have even had total strangers offer to help me go to the bathroom! I ask them “what are you going to do, hold it for me?” The ones I don’t understand are the parents that, when their child asks “why are you in that chair?” will act absolutely mortified and shush the child’s question. I usually look at the parent and say “That’s quite alright.” and then say to the child “I got this way because I didn’t listen to my (mom or dad, whichever is present) when I was little”. You’d be surprised at the smiles and silent thank you’s I get.
The people that really get me are the ones who when you are in a store looking at something, and they want by you, that will, instead of saying something, without a word, try to pick up the back of your chair and move you! What ever happened to the phrase “excuse me” or maybe “could I please ask you to move so I can get by”? I’d be happy to. What ever happened to manners?? Maybe I should run over their feet!