It's the day we go home. We'd planned to drive only part way today but the problems with the ramp continue. The fix didn't fix. It's simply not usable. The last few days with the vehicle have been very, very difficult. We've decided to do an inhuman drive just to get home. Travelling is always difficult but when something like this goes wrong, it's brutal. Just brutal. I've been worried all night, for example, about how I'm going to get into the vehicle. I don't do steps and, without the ramp, this is a huge step in. I'm thankful now that I've been lifting weights because I've got pretty good upper body strength and that should help me lift myself in.
Disability is an interesting experience. Primarily because for long stretches disability doesn't play into life experiences very much. I can go hours, even days, where my being disabled and living disabled doesn't much enter my mind. But, then, there are times when my life is completely wrapped up in my disability and living with a disability becomes quite difficult. As my disability doesn't change, it's clear that it's circumstance that determines the role that disability plays in my daily living.
Disability is huge.
Simply because a ramp isn't working properly.
On this trip I've stayed in 5 hotels, given 4 lectures, shopped in 3 huge malls, went grocery shopping twice, scooted around downtown Halifax, watched the ships go by and read by the water. All of this is, of course, not remarkable, these are things I do, these are things I have done. Before disability, after disability, with disability, without disability, this is how I travel and what I do when I'm on the road. Even though I did all this from a wheelchair, I didn't once feel particularly disabled by being a wheelchair user. I don't lose my disability identity, of course, that's always there. It's just that disability isn't high on my personal radar. Like, I'm gay all the time,but I notice being gay at some times more than others.
But the moment that an adaptive piece of equipment stops working.
Suddenly I feel disabled by that happenstance.
Suddenly I have to slip into a 'how am I going to manage this?' mode.
Oh, well, wish me luck. Joe's back. The vehicle is loaded, now we've got to see how I'm going to get in. I hate to admit this but the next few minutes frightens me.