Monday, November 27
One of the things I have to do from time to time in the course of my job is go out somewhere with other disabled people en masse. I don't mind this at all, it doesn't bother me and I don't even notice who is and isn't disabled any more. What I do hate is having to use the wheelchair accessible minibus. God I hate it so much Id rather drag myself 20 miles than sit in it. Unfortunately I haven't been given the chance to try the dragging thing, so Ive had to use the minibus. If there is one way to feel helpless, institutionalised and different it is this. I cant describe how it makes me feel to use it, like a pile of **** I suppose. Its obviously me, I have a problem with coming to terms perhaps? No I don't think so, what I don't like is being singled out as 'different' and also the fact that I have no control whatsoever. The process is long winded and embarrassing.
You first have to queue up at the back of the bus while the driver gets you on the tail lift. Whoa!! Scary, believe me. Then you get in the bus and all being well you get tied and ratcheted down. This is the bit I don't like. No say, no control, you just have to sit there and be helpless while they do it to you, making polite small talk as if you lost your marbles years ago. There's no seat belt system either, so I always feel perilously unstable. The driver heads off, you are all facing the front like sheep and as he takes a corner, you end up swinging sharply to one side. For me anyway I find this gives me a lot of back trouble. Its not until you are trying to keep yourself steady at times like this you realise that muscles in your lower back aren't what they were.
I feel as if I might as well have a flashing light on my head and someone walking ahead with a red flag, and while we are at it we could have CRIPPLES on the side of the bus, such is my embarrassment and discomfort at having to use this type of transport even occasionally. I know they do a good job for loads of people across the country and while we continue to have inaccessible buses it's needed even more than funding allows. But please, please not for me.