Thursday, May 24, 2007

Wheelchair Joys

The lift in my van malfunctioned today - the contraption wouldn't work for about 5 minutes when I arrived at work. It wouldn't move up or down, although I heard an audible 'click' inside the control box. Eventually the lift operated normally, and I cycled the lift about five times and it is working okay. I expect the lift to act normally, but I'll have it looked at next week. Being disabled offers no insurance against the malady that affects just about all able bodied persons: Everything mechanical will start acting up just before the start of a long weekend!

This odd looking wheelchair is an aircraft boarding chair, not a torture device...those straps do look lethal. However, you transfer at the Jetway into this, and it is narrow enough to fit in the plane's aisle. The seats in Coach (not First - I'm cheap) have movable aisle armrests, and the seat height of the seat and the chair is the same. Still, I prefer the bulkhead seat and the extra room, and I will let the airline people lift me into these seats where the arms don't move. I like boarding first which always happens, because you get to converse with the cabin crew (read: flight attendants) before everyone else boards!
Once at an oil change/car wash place, I was conversing with a couple about this and that. They were younger than me, I think, because the woman said their car had to be washed because it was so 'Grody' (I can't remember what decade I last heard this word...). When I was opening up my van to leave, and power doors opened and the lift was coming down, and I rolled on the lift, that couple rushed outside on this cold day to say how cool this looked, and I explained how I transferred into the driver's seat to drive the van, their attention was rapt. They had never seen a vehicle like this, and they were really impressed. Perhaps by default, I am destined to be an emissary for wheelchair users... Of course there is a top ten list of Wheelchair Advantages, and number 1 is look at those great parking places you get...

10 comments:

Patti said...

just remember to stay away from those poles stuck in concrete they put the disabled parking signs on.

(wink, wink, nudge, nudge)

Lynn said...

What do you do with your wheelchair when you're on a plane if you are transfering from this aircraft boarding chair...or is that then the chair that you use when you get to your destination?

It's great that you feel comfortable chatting and educating stangers about wheeelchair users.

Michael C said...

I bet you do get good parking spots!

Patti said...

Lynn, the wheelchair gets checked ...right Homer?
(I haven't flown with him since he has used a wheelchair)
It definitely goes with him!
The boarding chair stays with the airline.

Ralph said...

Lynn, the chair gets a special priority tag so the chair is waiting for you at the jetway when you arrive. If you are making a connection, you must make certain that you retrieve your chair at the connecting airport, and recheck your wheelchair. The first time i flew I mistakenly checked my chair to my final destination, New Orleans. What a transfer I had in Cleveland! The wheelchair goes into the cargo hold...the process overall is fairly painless, yo must get to the airport early, and allow lots of connecting time...

the moose buyer said...

Ralph, I too am impressed with your honesty. I have a disabled friend also and us Moose members love to hang out with him. We get onto planes and buses first, get into ballgames first,get into all the rides at Disneyland without waiting in line and get into our local sports/show area first (not to mention get to sit in front).

Bob never has a shortage of volunteers to join him.

Wheel on Ralph!!!!

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

happy memorial day weekend ralph! hope yours is grand my friend! we are home safely in podunk and planning on a wonderful time...

smiles, bee

Joan said...

I'm amazed at the ingenuity of people who develop such useful equipment. Our former neighbor was a WWII disabled vet and his home was filled with all sorts of devices to help him with daily activity. And his specially equipped van was one cool set of wheels!

Ralph said...

Bee, this is a great weekend so far, we grilled some bratwursts yesterday, and some chicken today...I smell like a bag of Kingsford charcoal briquettes about now ;>)

Joan, it is so true, especially in this country, if there is a need, someone will meet it! As much as my van coste yo run, the independence you gain is worth it...

sari said...

Grody = 1981. Maybe 1982. But not in vogue anytime afterwards, ha ha.

:-)