Saturday, October 13, 2018


Something kind of wonderful happened on the flight over from Toronto to Vancouver. I've been a wheelchair user for a little over 12 years. While I didn't lose as much as I feared I'd lose, I did gain more than I expected. They never talk to you about that part. I feared I'd lose my ability to fly and to lecture and to make my away about the world. I haven't. I've learned to adapt, do things differently and deal with worries specific to disabled people.

One of the things in the loss column was sitting by the window. I had always preferred a window seat to an aisle seat but my disability forbade it. I simply didn't have the ability to make my way down between the rows of seats and get into that seat. Couldn't do it. So, I adapted, I sat on the aisle. I was good with it, but even all this time later, it was in the loss column.

Yestereday we ended up in the bulkhead seats. This was an accident, we never buy these seats because they are made narrow by having no arms that lift up. There is plenty of room to walk in front of the seats because there isn't a row right in front. We were about to speak to someone when I said to Joe, I'm going to try it. I sat down in the window seat. It was tight, tighter than what could ever be called comfort. But that's all it was. Tight. I did a few exercises with my feet to see if circulation was cut off, didn't seem to be. Joe took his seat.

I remember a time when I simply could not have fit, where it would not have been tight, it would have been impossible.


I was sitting by the window after all these years.

After a half hour of sitting in the seat my body settled in distributing itself into available space. It got more comfortable.

So, I watched us take off. I took bad pictures out of the window. I watched us land.

For now, sitting in the window is still in the loss column but it's also in the maybe one day column. A small but might shift.


ABEhrhardt said...

Small things matter. At the end of dinners here, most people can get up and walk away. I have to sit and wait until my walker is brought from wherever the staff has parked them.

I notice. The other diners don't often wait. I make it my job to sit and wait if someone else's walker hasn't arrived yet. But it reminds me I can't just walk when I want to.

Husband goes down, checks out a bike, goes for a ride, returns the bike - no big deal. I have to either push the adult trike uphill very shakily to get out of the parking garage, or wrestle it, also unstably, into an elevator barely big enough for it and me, and out through a series of doors which require unlocking with a key card. It discourages me from even trying some days.

I'm thinking I may have to take up the matter of inaccessibility in a facility for older adults to live the rest of their lives. But it takes so much energy!

So glad you got your window seat, but I can't understand why the arms don't raise just because they are bulkhead seats.

clairesmum said...

Good for you! Hope this trip goes well.

Andrea Shettle, MSW said...

If you ever find yourself on a plane small enough to have only three seats per row, then a third of the seats on those planes are simultaneously both a window seat and an aisle seat! So there is that possibility to maybe experience some day also!