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Welcome to my cyber neighborhood coffee shop! Grab a mug of your favorite beverage and a cozy chair to read and comment a bit. Be sure to try a piece of black forest cake or tiramisu. Try both; cyber-cake is calorie free!

Contact Nani at
chroniclesofnani@gmail.com

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Beware of The Chair

It’s been a busy week with doctor appointments and all including my semiannual visit to Cleveland Clinic on Tuesday. When I schedule my May visit David and I always check the area baseball schedules so we can plan our day. For this year’s first trip we’d checked the Indians schedule while we were at the Mellen Center in November and upon realizing the Tigers were in town about 6 months later, we made a point of scheduling my appointment for one of the days in the series.

As it ended up we saw the middle game of the Indians sweeping the Tigers but as I always say “A bad day at the ballpark is better than a good day somewhere else!” It was a fun evening and the seats I picked on the computer were as great as they looked like they should be!

I had no problems at the game or with Indians fans as I proudly sported my Tigers logo on my chest. My problem was getting in the park and security. Progressive Field has metal detectors at the gates. All bags, purses etcetera are checked before entering and fans must walk through the metal detectors. It was the first time I’ve seen that much protection to enter a baseball game since the Olympics in 1996. Of course a wheelchair would set off the metal detector so I didn’t have to go through it. In fact, I didn’t have to go through anything. They opened up the area between the metal detectors and I wheeled through onto the stadium’s concourse. They didn’t search me, they didn’t even look in my tote bag that hung on the back of my chair; nothing. And for all the security, no one even asked me to try to stand up thus proving I actually am a “harmless chick in a wheelchair.”

That’s one problem. As someone who uses a wheelchair I am neither harmless nor helpless. Okay, with the manual chair, which we use for out of town trips I need a little more help because my arms, while stronger than my legs, get tired of wheeling the manual chair. It’s not like they get a break at home when I use the power chair, they’re still important for lifting myself and moving when I’m standing so there is a fatigue limit when I’m using the manual chair, but I’m not the only person who goes to baseball games in a wheelchair. There are plenty of people who have increased upper body strength as a result of using the chair. It’s a little offensive to lump us all into a “harmless cripple” category. A disability doesn’t make someone any less of a human being and as the old adage say: where there’s a will, there's a way. Like anyone else, a disabled person isn’t a security risk because that person chooses not to be.

But the insinuation that I pose no danger because of my disability is not my biggest issue. Check out 1800WHEELCHAIR.com . Go ahead, the link opens in a new window. Look at all the chairs for sale! That’s just the easy one to remember; there are tons of sites that sell chairs, even power chairs and scooters. They all do wonderful things for those of us that need them and they have pockets, baskets and different accessories for carrying things. Manual chairs even have under the seat storage pouches available and I always have a tote bag on the handles behind me. You can find all those things online and you know what? A doctors’ prescription is NOT necessary to purchase them. No one cares if you actually need mobility assistance, if you pay the advertised price, they’ll even deliver it to you for free! If you want to commit an act of terror at a crowded event buy a wheelchair and put your contraband materials in one of those handy pockets. Easy peasy.

So don’t automatically treat a person using a mobility assistive device like they couldn’t possibly be a risk. A person in a wheelchair is just that; a person. They should be trusted no more and no less than someone who walks in to an event on their own legs. I would have felt safer if they’d swiped the front of me with the wand and looked in my bag before they let me roll on in.

2 comments:

seamhead gypsy said...

You make some very valid points Nani. But what would happen if the security at the gate did inspect all wheelchairs that rolled through the gates? Undoubtedly there would be pictures posted all over the internet of the scrutiny being thrust toward people with disabilities. A true PR nightmare and probably a lawsuit or two. Yet, your observations and comments are real. It would not be difficult to commit an act of terror under the shroud of using a wheelchair at a sporting event in this country. I sometimes wonder why it hasn't yet occurred. Those who are conducting the searches face a difficult task of walking the fine line where the issues of privacy and safety constantly square off against each other. And from what I've seen, privacy is coming out on the short end.

Edna B said...

I agree, you have a valid point. On the other hand, I also agree that it would create another problem with privacy. It's sad that we have to be so extra cautious to begin with.

When I went to Florida with a walking cast on my leg, I had to remove the cast and the special shoe before being admitted through the gate. When I travel with my dog, the little dog carrier is taken away to a special xray machine. Although I must admit that Logan Airport in Boston has implemented a new security check that makes it easier for everyone.

Enjoy your day Nani. I hope it's sunny and warm. Hugs, Edna B.