But, then again, we all know that we should have special respect for those who have any disabilities. What I have noticed more than once lately is that most adults have been good learners. Remember when your mother told you it was impolite to stare at folks with disabilities? Well, I have noticed that we wheelchair users are pretty much "invisible" to the average adult.
Not even a kind "excuse me" when a huge broom hits my broken foot ( resting on the footrest of my wheelchair!) at the local beauty shop. Or a sharp bump on my wheelchair when it is rear-ended by a shopping cart at Lidl grocery store. And even hurtled over by a 6 foot tall airplane passenger who thought he could use my bulkhead leg room to advance his exit of the United flight.
So living the mobile life hasn't been easy out in public, but what about here at home at the Beltway Apartment?
Let's begin at the entrance to the building. Actually, let's begin at the back entrance. Even when I could walk without help, I needed help getting into the front door. The front entrance is several tall steps up with a hand rail that is several more steps next to the front door, so as a wheelchair user I have been delegated to go around back.
As all entrances are kept locked, a key is always necessary. And even standing to get to the lock may be necessary at the back gate that opens for automobiles. Or I would have to carry around the remote opener ( which I would definitely do!). The other back access next to the sport school is even more difficult. Two heavy gates must be opened with a key and maneuvered open while I roll through. Thus, difficult. But, at least the two rear access points are on ground level.
Then after a steep roll up to the building door, there is the threshold. It is virtually impossible to cross alone without stepping out of the chair, stepping across, and then lifting the wheelchair over the metal bump. Then there is the rubber mat on the inside of the door (which I am still trying to figure out how to keep it from smashing my foot or wheelchair). On the way to the lift (elevator in Am. English), the brick walk makes for a amusement park ride. No giggles here, I am afraid. Then there is the ride up two flights after the lift door smacks against the handles of my wheeled carriage.
Home free, you think. Nay! But the ride from the elevator to the first breezeway door is a piece of cake, since that pathway is made of low carpet tiles. If our neighbor lady has left the breezeway door open ( against the fire marshall's rules!), then I just have to step out of the chair, step over the metal threshold, and lift my wheelchair over. Next, the breezeway with rubber beehive mats leads to the next breezeway door threshold. Step out, step over, lift wheelchair over. Sweat!!!
Almost there! Carpet tiles around the corner and then unlock the door to the Beltway Apartment. One more time, step out, step over the threshold to the apartment, and lift the wheelchair into the foyer.
In the six weeks we have been here, I never left this apartment on my own! I never stepped in and out and over by myself.
Things were easier inside the spacious apartment, as long as I didn't have to go to use the bathroom or to the pantry/laundry room.
Each of those WC's (water closets) had thresholds, but fortunately I learned how to manage.