This story is about a hospital. Let me say this again, it's about a hospital. When you come in there are usually wheelchairs everywhere. So they are familiar with the rolling classes. We arrived early enough for me to have a fight if I wanted one. I was going for a test that I knew would be uncomfortable so my nerves were already frayed. But when I rolled in and was directed to the desk where I would be screen. There were two windows open. Both of them were set for people who were walking, I could only crane my neck up. As a result, they spoke to Joe who was accompanying me.
Joe knows that I don't like this happening but he was responding to the structure of the place. I couldn't hear their questions and they couldn't hear my answers. The frustrating thing is that right there beside them was a window set at an accessible-height clearly marked with a Blue Disability Sign. When done, I rolled back and told them that I had been to the hospital for tests several times in the last few months and I'd never seen it open. That made no impact so then I asked bluntly. Why is that window not open?
You know the answer they gave me?
I shit you not.
"It's not open because no one is sitting there."
If they thought that an answer or explanation, they were going to be incapable of understanding. If they have it but don't use it, they don't have it. They get to be happy and get to point out on tours by any of their funders that they are accessible. But they don't get the idea of accessibility, the will to be accessible, the desire to serve everyone equally.
Wouldn't you think that a hospital would always have that one open? It's accessible to everyone. But we aren't a part of 'everyone' we are a part of those barely worth notice. As a disabled person, entering a healthcare facility, nervous and maybe a slight bit afraid seeing this kind of structural barrier, right beside something that would be workable but isn't used because the staff prefers not to use it. One wonders if that kind of bigotry will carry through to the doctors and nurses that will serve you.
The great thing is that the doctors and nurses at this hospital are amazing people. Not only are they really smart, not only are they way more than competent, but they are also kind and welcoming, and treat each person as a person.
So once past the barrier of indifference and subtle hostility, it was a fine visit. My test was done and I was told my results ... I'm fine.