Friday, September 24, 2010

A Chill A Phone Call

I caught a chill yesterday. I was lecturing in a room and didn't realize that I was strategically placed under four exhaust fans blowing cold air. The building resisted the idea of warming up, as if it didn't want to turn on the heat, didn't want to make a concession to fall and winter. For the first time ever, I presented with a blanket over my shoulders. I must have looked a bit like 'granny' sitting in my wheelchair with a blanket over my shoulders! But, the most important thing was that the audience was warm and questions flowed out of genuine interest of the subject and concern for those they support.

I got in the car and we turned up the heat. Joe was sweating in minutes and I was firmly resolute that I would warm up. As we got to the hotel, it had just started raining in the car. I got in praying there weren't too many emails from work to be done, well, there were more than I felt like doing but I did them all anyways and then took to bed to watch television. I woke for food. I woke to shift from across the bed to in the bed. I slept until the time that normal people sleep.

The only thing that happened of any substance for this blog was that the Metro guy called. Much to my surprise. I admit that I didn't feel up to talking to him but I took the call anyways. He explained that the part of the store where the wheelchair access was has been blocked off because it was under repair and was felt to be dangerous. In a couple of weeks the wheelchair access point will be moved and re-opened. He apologized for my experience, was embarrassed that I'd been asked to limbo under the cart return bar, and promised to post a sign explaining the new access and instructing wheelchair users which aisle will be made available for entry until the changes are made.

Ummm Hmmmm, well this morning I received an email that I have not yet responded to. It's from someone here where I'm presenting who knows that store. I think I might just have a spy that can check on changes. I'll write her back, maybe tomorrow, I'm still a little tired and weak, to see if we can check out the word of a guy who sounded sincere - any bets on changes?

Well, I start a little later today, I think I might get in another little nap. This chill might have been the best thing that's happened to me. I've both got permission and the ability to sleep.


coffeetalk said...

I'm glad you got a call from Metro and the gentleman clarified for you about the renos. Wouldn't it have been nice if they could have clarified that at the store, though? You could have come away with a much different experience. You could have come away knowing that you were inconvenienced, but in a reno situation, almost everyone is inconvenienced. You could have just simply been part of the greater community being temporarily inconvenienced instead of a "special situation". I was reminded the other day of a brutally brilliant video that was shown as part of an Autism Intervenor course that I took a few years ago. The video was created by a woman affected by Autism and it's called "Being an unperson". I watch it frequently as it reminds me that everything I do and say MUST consider the person on the receiving end. I fear that at the Metro store your wheelchair was being spoken to more than you and you may have come away feeling like an unperson. I'm sorry that ANYONE has to ever feel like they don't even matter enough to be considered. We all must do better.

p.s. Here's the link to the video. It's one that should become part of every new staff orientation requirements and any "human services" curriculum be it DSW, PSW, nursing, etc. No one should feel like an unperson. (my rant for the day)

Andrea S. said...


I agree, that video made by Amanda Baggs is an excellent video and (unfortunately) describes very well what many non-disabled people do to disabled people all the time. Do you keep up with her blog? She doesn't post as often now as she used to, but her blog is still going at ... I discovered it a few years ago and have read it backwards and forward. I think her whole blog should be required for many people working with people with disabilities!

I continue to be overwhelmed by Metro's response. Seems to me that if they were really giving consideration to the needs of customers with disabilities they would have planned ahead better to ensure that renovations didn't cause any more inconvenience to them than to anyone else, rather than creating near impossible barriers for them. And, yes, any remaining inconveniences (there shouldn't have been so many) should have been explained in a more respectful manner.

theknapper said...

Take care Dave.....more naps til you're feeling better.

Kristin said...

I hope the Metro guy follows through on the promised changes.

Get well soon but enjoy the sleep until you're 100%.

Lene Andersen said...

well. Wow. That's impressive (the Metro call, that is). Hope the follow-up is equally impressive.