Sunday, August 31, 2008

WheelTrans and me

I am officially a cripple.

I have a membership card and everything.

Shortly after moving to the city I contacted WheelTrans, the city's transit for those with disabilities, about using their service. After several failed attempts to get a call back by leaving a message on their answering machinge, I tracked down an email address for customer service. The responses then were quick and efficient. I was informed that I would need to go for an evaluation, I needed only bring myself and be prepared to answer their questions. I was suprised that I didn't need a note from the doctor with the box 'Yep, he's a crip' ticked off.

Joe and I showed up at the evaluation after having a hell of a time negotiating the curb getting to the building and then struggling through a disabled door that didn't work. I mentioned this to them, thinking that it was odd that the building where evaluations were held regarding disability was so difficult to maneuver. I got a bored, 'We only lease this space, you'd need to take any concerns elsewhere' response. OK then.

Joe waited outside whilst I went in to be evaluated. A young pup of a guy had a form and he asked me questions. The first was something like, 'Why do you want to use WheelTrans' my response was something like, 'I can't walk'. Then he asked me various questions about my disability. The questions were vague, at least to me they were, and I gave complex answers. At least to him they were. So he worked at writing down something crafted out of my responses. He kept asking about my balance. I kept answering that I fall over but not because I have no balance but because I have no feeling in my legs or feet.

Afterwards, I said to Joe, I should have just said, 'Yes' to 'Do you have poor balance.' I tried to be straight out honest. I had been told that it would take two weeks for them to decide. The two weeks came and went. I began to think that they were just figuring out to write, 'You should have said YES when we asked if you had poor balance' in a letter.

This morning I was shifting the junk mail from one corner of my desk to another and a letter fell out. It was from WheelTrans. I opened it expecting the worst hoping for the best. There was no letter. There was no summary of my interview. This threw me off balance. What there was, though, was great. I've got a membership card. Something I can show off to others, membership has its privileges.

I'm hoping to book my first trips on Thursday and Friday. I want to take WheelTrans to work. That will save so much of Joe's time and give me the added sense of doing it on my own. Once fiercely independant I've grown too accustomed to dependance. This will be nice. I'm still depending, but on someone else.

So I've got a gawd-awful looking magnet on the fridge with all the numbers, I've got a membership card.

I'm good to go.


lina said...

I know you already know, but this will give you plenty - PLENTY - for upcoming blogs. Independence yes, but in the way it's defined by 'wheeltrans'.
Good luck.

FridaWrites said...

Our transit system works similarly, no doctor's note, get evaluated there. Could be a problem for invisible disability folks, not for me with scooter. Unfortunately, I can't use it since the average 1 way trip is 1 1/2 hours (they pick up other people). Being out about 3-4 hours total is my limit much of the time. But I like that they don't make people defend their disability and use doctors' very valuable time with more paperwork.

rickismom said...

A comment on your "vote". I didn't mark a choice as it REALLY depends on the situation....