A bump may as well be a mountain to a wheelchair-user

January 18, 2011 at 8:32 am Leave a comment

It never ceases to amaze me how a “bump” can change your immediate plans.  This scenario happened on one “Sunday fun-day”, during the Summer 2010, but is just as relevant to our lives today.  It started with Bill and I wanting to use a sale coupon at the mall and then go out to dinner.  We hopped into his wheelchair accessible truck and off to the mall we went.

We parked in the van accessible designated space and started to deploy the lift.  It met Bill at the floor of the truck and he rolled onto the lift, no different from any other day.  As the lift gently places Bill onto the ground surface, it stops, leaving the “front gate” in the up position.  Bill is unable to roll off the lift.  We spend the next 30 minutes going through the motions to try to figure out why the “front gate” will not go down to let Bill roll out and off of the lift.  All of the features of the lift appear to be functioning except this last step in the process, and all of our efforts to remedy the situation prove to be unsuccessful.  The only thing left to do is to go back home.

In order to get Bill out of the truck, we have to bring his power wheelchair next to the lift, as it is deployed in the driveway.  He then transfers from the manual wheelchair to the power wheelchair to his freedom, while I lift his manual wheelchair over the “front gate” bump and back to accessible grounds.

Of course, it is a Sunday, and none of the adapted vehicle centers are open.  Bill waits until Monday to call and go over to the closest center (40 minutes from our house) to resolve the issue.  In order to get Bill back into the truck, we have to repeat the above process, with both his manual and power wheelchairs, to get him safely into the vehicle.  Luckily, Monday is Bill’s day off.  Unluckily, they are not able to see Bill and he has to go to the second service center which is another hour away, with no traffic.

Although this shop was busy, they were willing to accommodate Bill and service the lift.  They were able to help Bill get out of the truck, and put his service ticket in with the rest of the work they had to do for the day.  Three and a half hours later, the lift was fixed and Bill could drive the hour plus it takes to get back home.  Not the first choice of how to spend one’s day off, but a necessity to regain independence.

One small step for man, a giant leap for a wheelchair-user.

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Entry filed under: Accessibility. Tags: , , , , .

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