I think most people with disabilities feel guilty about taking advantage of accommodations at one point or another. I won’t get into what I think plants that seed now; that’s another whole article. But I really don’t think I’m alone in that.
There are days when I’m getting around so well that I feel guilty about using Disabled Parking even with my chair and dog. There are times when I feel a little bad that I don’t have to pay at the parking meter. I wonder sometimes if I stole a stellar service dog from someone who might have needed her more.
Then, other days, I’m reminded of exactly why accommodations are in place, and why I need my Bright. Days like today, when my left hip hurts for no reason that’s been revealed to me, and my right shoulder feels like it’s going to catch on fire every time I make a rotating motion. A rotating shoulder is highly necessary for wheelchair propulsion, you know.
Bright mitigated both of those issues for me in different ways today; the obvious is that I can just grab onto her harness and hitch a ride rather than aggravate my shoulder. But sometimes I can’t anticipate when I’m going to need help.
Today, I had leftovers from lunch in the passenger’s seat of the car. When I got back to work from my lunch date, I pulled into my spot, painfully unloaded my wheelchair, and breathed a sigh of relief when I was safely seated. Unloading my chair is ALWAYS a little risky since I have terrible balance, but with a sore hip, it’s worse.
After I got Bright out and closed the door, I realized I’d left my lunch in the car, and I needed to take it inside and put it in the refrigerator. Unfortunately, I’d parked too close to the curb to get between it and the car, but too far away to reach into the car from the sidewalk. If it hadn’t been so delicious, I’d probably been a wasteful jerk and just left it there, but as it stood, I had to preserve that food for future consumption.
I was feeling irritated because I’d had it on my mind right up until I got out of the car, then forgot. If I had just gotten the bag while I was still sitting in the driver’s seat…now I was going to have to park my chair, stand up on my sore hip, walk to the door and get it open and the food out, turn around and get back to my chair, and get seated without a fall again, all while holding a leash and handling Bright. I know it sounds like I’m dramatizing something very simple, but it really feels that complicated sometimes.
Bright. To. The. Rescue.
Instead of all that, I got up on the sidewalk from which I could just barely reach the car door, opened it, and told Bright, “Up.” She put her front paws on the passenger seat of the car. I said, “Get.” Without missing a beat, she grabbed the bag, and came back to my side, tail wagging, looking very proud.
Suddenly, my dramatic, annoying, frustrating moment turned into something I could write about.