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23 Things That People In Wheelchairs Have To Cope With

Other people make it so difficult, don't they?

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1. Having filthy hands all the time.

Wheelin' day in, day out means we pick up a lot of dirt on our hands and under our nails. And disinfectant is useless because we have to wait until it dries before we can move again.

2. Getting our clothes caught in everything.

Long skirts get caught in the wheels, long coats get covered in mud, and if we don't close the velcro straps on our backrest properly, our t-shirts get ripped to shreds.

3. Sustaining mysterious injuries on a daily basis.

We hit our elbows on every kitchen counter, we break our nails all the time, we get welts and blisters on our fingers from ballin' too hard, and lifting anything hot is always bad news for our knees.

4. Having to do a 10-point turn to get out of any public bathroom.

Even when public bathrooms are wheelchair accessible, they don't always provide enough room to get in and out easily.

5. And never being able to see ourselves in the mirror.

Mirrors are almost always hung up too high, even in wheelchair accessible bathrooms. And while we're on the topic, so are sinks.

6. Having to tweeze hairs out of our caster wheels.

The small wheels at the front of our chairs catch hair, fluff, and thread. And the only way to clean them is with a tweezers. Yup, it's gross but it can't be helped.

But just FYI, hubless caster wheels claim to prevent this.

7. Realising that public transport doesn't cater to us at all.

In most big cities, the main form of transport isn't totally available to wheelchair users. London's underground, Paris' metro, and New York's subway all lack lifts in a huge number of stations, which makes commuting really difficult for anyone with limited mobility.

8. And buses aren't any easier. We're constantly waiting to find out whether the wheelchair ramp actually works.

When it works, the 30 seconds it takes to open feel like the longest 30 seconds in the world, and it always seems to be broken on the days we're running late.

9. And we're always faced with the decision of whether we should give up the space on the bus for a pram.

20th Century Fox Television

The wheelchair space on a bus often doubles up as a spot for prams, so if we're waiting at a bus stop and a baby comes along, things can get pretty ugly. Jk; Most parents fold up the pram and give us the space. But there are some who get on the bus anyway and make us wait.

10. Trying to fit a wheelchair into a car.

Having a wheelchair means you literally have extra junk in your trunk so if you're roadtripping, it's gonna be a tight squeeze.

11. Not to mention the fact that our cars are always filthy.

The backseat and roofs of our cars are constantly covered in tyre tracks because we throw our wheels into the backseat without looking.

12. And they're covered in scratches too.

The driver's sides of our cars are scratched to oblivion, even though we've had years to learn and perfect the art of lifting our chairs. It doesn't make sense to us either.

13. Having to confront people who wrongly park in disabled parking spaces.

It is only OK to park in a disabled space if you have a disabled passenger or driver. Saying, "I was only here for a minute" or "I was just picking someone up" is not acceptable. There are limited disabled parking spots and we don't have enough room to unload a wheelchair without them.

14. And getting dirty looks whenever we pull into wheelchair parking spaces.

People are always surprised to see a young person in a wheelchair, so when we pull into a wheelchair parking spot, some busybody will assume that we're taking the piss.

15. People staring at us when we're doing really boring things, like getting petrol.

Or doing our weekly food shop. It's pretty hard not to stare right back, but sometimes that's what we gotta do.

16. Being patient when the people you love mess up.


Even the ones you love can get it wrong sometimes, but disability can be a big learning curve for people. What's obvious to you might not be obvious to everyone else, so patience really is the key.

17. Having to reassure people that we are OK all the damn time.

If we're doing our thing, it's safe to assume that we're OK. And if you really think we need a hand, ask us first instead of jumping right in. And believe us: If we say we're OK, then we're OK.

18. Dealing silly questions like "Do you have a job?"

"Can you drive?" "Can you swim?" "Can you drink?" "Is your partner disabled?" "What do you do in your spare time?"


19. Especially the ones about sex.

Who and how you hook up is nobody's business but your own. Everyone is curious about how others get down 'n' dirty and people always use our disability as an excuse to ask exceptionally personal questions.

20. Having to shout for attention so we are heard at bars.

We've perfected roaring "HEY, CAN I HAVE A FROZEN MARG?" at a bar that grazes our forehead, but life would be easier if counters and tills were lowered so the the bar staff would see us before they hear us.

21. Being massively screwed every time the lift in our building breaks.

Young Money / Via

This one is a real pain in the ass and can really mess up your day unless you find someone to help you up a few flights of stairs, either by piggy back or Cleopatra style.

22. Being constantly nervous that our wheelchair is going to tip over. / Via Facebook: KulawaWarszawa

If we hang a heavy bag on the back of our chair, or someone pushing us doesn't see a loose stone, we'll be flat out on the floor.

23. Trying to let people know that we are more than just spokes 'n' wheels.

Sometimes, that's all people see. They forget that we have personalities, brains, a wicked sense of humour, a social life, and hobbies. People often forget to think about us and that's what makes things difficult. A building without a lift exists because someone forgot about us. And that's a horrible thing to have to think about.

It's up to us to speak up, so people's preconceptions get crushed.