I hate airports. I always have. Mainly because pain and airports don’t mix. A wheelchair has made that space much safer on so many levels:
- I no longer have to carry my own bags and risk dislocation,
- I no longer trip trying to keep up with my husband,
- my hip doesn’t kill me from standing in queues.
But now there are new decisions to make because wheelchairs and the public are still not great things to mix. People stare, and they judge. But there are also legal issues. For example, if we use airport help then I’m not allowed out my chair (in case I hurt myself and sue them).
We also have to decide when it comes to security, whether to stand up and go through the screen or stay in my chair and have a physical body search. My husband is sure that the former is easier on everyone, but it’s not that simple.
- If I stand up the judging multiplies exponentially and the sniggers about me using a wheelchair to cheat and jump queues start!
- Someone still needs to take the chair through and check it for explosives so it often takes just as long.
- Because of no.2 I can come out the other end with nowhere to sit and said hips starts complaining.
- Worst of all, people jump to conclusions and assume that because I can stand I can pick up my own bags, and lift my arms, and they are not gentle with me.
- Often people are body searched anyway, and they aren’t as gentle on the general public as they are on the disabled.
- Sitting in my chair and zooming around over bumps, my joints settle and then getting up again is really sore and really hard. So hopping in & out of it is actually not that easy.
- I have been hurt a few times by getting up for people. Believe it or not, “helping” me by pulling on my arm does more harm than good, also pulling my chair away when I am not completely out is a disaster!
- And so the list goes on!
If you have the option, do you (or would you) pick the Miracle Walk or the Free Massage? (Those body checks can be pretty invasive).