Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Wheelchair Day

Up until today, one day on crutches and three months in a leg immobilizer was all I had ever experienced as far as limited mobility goes, thank goodness. Today I had another opportunity to see what it was like to try and function without full ambulatory capability. Part of in-flight training is to spend a day in a wheelchair so that we can learn to empathize with people with disabilities and to try to begin to think ahead about what those people might require and how we can best accommodate them. Today was my day.

I came to find that when I wanted to get people's attention so they would move out of my way I couldn't, and when I didn't want to attract their attention, that was all I could seem to do. My classmates were very good about checking in on me and seeing if I wanted a push anywhere while we were on breaks. And I even had a nice guy from the accounting department offer me a push out of the blue.

The whole exercise was very eye opening to say the least -- and I didn't even have to hassle with boarding an airplane, saying good bye to my wheelchair and worrying about someone taking me off the plane and reuniting me with my "legs" on the other end of the trip. While it's a relief that my "wheelchair day" is over, I also have more respect and awareness for people who live with disabilities and other challenges everyday of their lives.

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