Monday, January 9, 2017

The Hate-Love relationship with my wheelchair

Using a wheelchair was for years a very contentious personal love-hate relationship.
But I have finally reached acceptance. I love my chair. It is very comfortable.
And what society's thinks of it... Oh wel... let them judge me... I know who I am!

Pages from Into the Light by Corina Duyn with image of wheelchair user in the snow. and poem
Pages from Into the Light by Corina Duyn

I remember when my first wheelchair was delivered. I could not imagine being the person to sit in it. I used to be a nurse. I pushed wheelchairs. I never meant to be the one being pushed. 
The wheelchair was left in the conservatory of the house I was staying at the time. My favourite room in the house. But yet when the wheelchair was there I avoid the room. I couldn't even look at the chairnot mind using it. A friend came to stay and persuaded me to bring me for a spin. I agreed. At night. In the opposite direction of town. So nobody would see me.

Page from Hatched by Corina Duyn with woman in an egg lying on gravel, and poem
Page from Hatched by Corina Duyn

Of course I quickly realised that the only way I would be able to leave the house was to be seated in a wheelchair and having someone push me. A very hard realisation. I had to learn to except my own thoughts about being in a wheelchair. But also had to learn how society's views about me changed. 


Spring 1999

A 4 year old

in the supermarket 

“Why are you
in a wheelchair?”

While I thought hard 
for an appropriate answer 
he suggested
“are you tired of walking? 

(from Hatched- by Corina Duyn)


Suddenly I'm treated as a child. As if I have no capability of making decisions for myself. As if I don't have views of my own. Knowledge of my own. 
I remember sitting on my mobility scooter at a train station.  I was the one travelling. My sister standing beside me to send me off. A woman walked towards us and asked what time the train was leaving. I told her.  She ignored me and asked again looking at my sister. I told her again. She still ignored me.

I am seated in my wheelchair, being pushed by my friend. We walk into a shopping centre which was celebrating its 1st birthday. A man dressed as a pirate to entertain the children, ran up to me and tried to give me a kiss and some sweets.... 

Adults make assumptions. The children just ask.

"But why did I still think of walking as the ultimate success."  Bonnie Klein - Slow Dance

Over the years so I have come to accept and even love my wheelchair. While writing this I am sitting in my wheelchair at my desk, using voice-recognistion software to write.  It is the most comfortable way to sit and the easiest way to share my thoughts and experiences with you.

I do not require the user to wheelchair on a full-time basis. But I have learned to love my chair, and make it part of me, my life, and my house, to make life as comfortable as possible!

Using mobility aids marked the transition from invisible illness to visible disability
The wheelchair made it possible to be part of life in spite of restricted mobility
Wheels represent movement
Movement is life 

Quote from Into the Light  by Corina Duyn

Movement is life.

Move freely my friends, in whatever way, with whatever aid make that possible for you.

 Notes and links:

  • Into the Light book is available from my Web Shop from €20 and upwards.
  • Hatched is now available as PDF-e-book HATCHED Re-hatched, from Web shop  €3.99
  • If you prefer the printed copy of Hatched, there are just a few left. They are €20 inlcuding postage worldwide, click on the Buy Now Button

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