Handicapped Accessible???

Sep 15

My accident on Feb 9, 2012 put me into a situation where I wasn’t totally prepared to be… Being handicapped in the eyes of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. During this time I’ve grown a new appreciation for anyone who is handicapped and has to go through this world of people who frankly just don’t understand.

While my handicap is only temporary and hopefully I’ll recover completely, in the eyes of the State I am a handicapped individual and I do have a TEMPORARY handicapped placard which does allow me to park in handicapped spaces. This has opened my eyes to the world we live in and just how handicapped inaccessible it really is or how moronic people are.

There have been plenty of times where I’ve pulled into a parking lot and find non-handicapped people parked in reserved spaces and while this bothered me in the past, it totally pisses me off now a days. I’ve kept my cool when seeing these people abuse these spaces and even held my tongue when I see someone in there. I like to think that they’re parking there because they’re mentally handicapped, but the fact is they just don’t give a damn. Just one of these times, catch me alone and in a bad mood and I’ll let them have it (verbally that is). I’ve even gone as far as not allowing Jennifer use these spots when I’m in the vehicle, but not getting out of it and she’s not allowed to my placard when I’m not with her. I’ll even go as far as not using one myself if I can get a spot within 2 parking spaces of a reserved place. I know I’m entitled and should be using it, but in my mind there is someone out there who needs it more then I do.

I’ve also found that “Handicapped Accessible” doesn’t alway mean “Handicapped Accessible”. Case in point, On my own wedding night I almost wasn’t able to get into the room we reserved, even after I made sure their facility was handicap accessible. At that time I was primarily in a wheelchair and used a walker for short distances. When we got to the hotel there was a few inch lip at the door which I couldn’t get up in my wheelchair. I had to go to the end of the walkway (nowhere near the reserved parking spots) and find an area which the curb was broken to get up to the sidewalk. Upon entering, they didn’t have an area at the desk where I could see over it so the person checking me in had to look down on me the whole time. Their “elevator” was a rickety lift which had a 3-4 inch height difference between the top of it and the bottom of the lift which I couldn’t get up with my wheelchair. To get up to the second floor I had to abandon my chair and use my walker. God forbid if I couldn’t stand up, our room would have been impossible to get to. The room itself had no accessible restrooms and I couldn’t move around it with the wheelchair. I did let them know of my displeasure upon checkin and checkout along with the follow up survey. I’m debating if I want to go back to see if any changes have been made, but I really doubt it and it would just piss me off.

Now onto people… They seem to have a different mentality around handicapped people. People saw me when I was in my chair and I can only imagine what they thought. I’ve gotten looks and people have gone out of their way to avoid me. I’ve even had people (including employees of stores and restaurants) treat me differently when I’ve been in the chair and when I’ve been up and moving around. I have a disability, not a disease. I guess they don’t understand the difference or they just don’t care.

It boils down to this simple fact… A person is a person, no matter if they are perfectly fine, are in a wheelchair, use a walker, or a cane. We’re still flesh and blood and have feelings. Please try and remember that the next time you see someone at a disadvantage It’s not their fault they’re in that position (well, most of the time that’s true) and try to help them as necessary. You know I will be.

Until later…


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