Mobility aids, everybody uses them
I will be the first to admit that I used to be embarrassed for needing to utilize mobility aids. I felt that I was too young to need a walker and wheelchair. My embarrassment however went beyond age and the preconceived notion of what a person who uses a mobility aid looks like. Accepting that I needed to use them meant acknowledging and accepting my conditions. Even after I came to accept that my chronic illnesses were here to stay and that mobility aids had to be a part of my life if I wanted to enjoy life outside of my home, I still found myself feeling less than when out in public.
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Then one day it hit me. Everybody uses mobility aids. That’s right, even healthy people need them and not just when they are recuperating from an injury or illness. Before you assume that I have lost my mind, hear me out. I am not saying that every human uses a walker or wheelchair, but everyone uses some type of mobility device every day. Unless someone lives within walking distance of their workplace, grocery store, etc.… they use a bus, car, or train to commute. Air planes are another, do you know anyone who could walk from Los Angeles to New York City? Cars, trains, buses, and planes are all forms of mobility aids that help people do more in less time without physically exhausting themselves. Aren’t those the same things that my walker and wheelchair do for me? The answer is yes!!
I have never embarrassed to use my car to go grocery shopping. Flying from one state to another never inflicted an ounce of shame of not being able to walk hundreds or thousands of miles. Yet, humiliation filled my heart every time I ventured out with my wheelchair or walker. I believe this was because my wheelchair and walker made my invisible illness visible to the world. Coming out of the chronic illness closet and embracing a life that is filled with physical limitations and pain has been liberating. I have come to think of my wheelchair and walker as extensions of my vehicle. My car takes me to Disneyland and my wheelchair gets me around the park. Without my car I would have to walk 45 miles just to get there. That wouldn’t have ever happened even when I was at my best physical level.
I now view my mobility aids as what everyone else refers to cars, trains, buses, and planes as: transportation vehicles. My walker and wheelchair are no different; they transport me and make it possible for me to do more than I could without using anything at all. How do you view your mobility aids? Do you go out more or less because of your need for them? Don’t allow needing to use them to keep you from living the life you deserve! My wheels were made for rolling and there’s a whole world for me to explore! Where will your wheels take you?
Tagged: attitude, chronic blogger, chronic illness, device, fibromyalgia, handicapped accessible, invisible disabilities, mental-health, mobility aid, no shame, perception, psoriatic arthritis, self care, transportation, wheelchair