Okay as some of you know I have become a wheelchair user. I have noticed several things after this change occurred in my life. I was once a very active volunteer. First I was told that a handicapped accessible museum did not want or need wheelchair users as volunteers. So I thought about fighting this but decided to just move on and spend my time where I would be valued. So I moved on to try and volunteer with the FRG (Family Readiness Group).
I kept hearing the same refrain “I didn’t want to bother you with…”
This frustrated me beyond belief. If I’m reaching out offering my time you are not bothering me. I soon decided that “I didn’t want to bother you” actually translates to “I didn’t think you could do be of any use since you are in a wheelchair. That is very offensive. So for a while I just hid and ignored the world. Yes, I admit that was not the best idea, but I needed time to adjust to having wheels.
So after getting a new ultra light chair I found even more freedom and abilities. I decided it was time to get back out there. I moved forward with the knowledge that I would have to work 5 times as hard as my cohorts since they were walking. I had to prove I could make valuable contributions from my chair.
I set out to get any and all certifications I could so that I would be more valuable to the FRG. So far I have 5, a 6th will come soon. I have been welcomed by the new leadership of the FRG and made some wonderful new friends.
In short I’m saying don’t tell someone you didn’t want to bother them, if they are offering you help. It’s no bother they want to be included. Just because someone is a wheelchair user, don’t count them out, they know their own limits. They can probably do more than you think. If you think something is to difficult for them, ask don’t assume.
My husband will be deploying next year my biggest concern is how to get the trash can to the curb and back. Yep thats it, the trashcan. He knows his job I can take care of myself, the rest is just noise.