You may have realised by now that I am an independent person who is dependent on others, I love my life even with a wheelchair. But the quality of life is forever encountering obstacles in the most mundane of places. Has anyone ever thought about how I get into a dental chair? I am required to be lifted into that chair from my wheelchair and that’s fine while my dentist is 6’3″ and an ex Rugby player, but what do I do when he retires?
I love having my hair done at a salon, a very well known chain of salons, even though friends and colleagues suggest that it might be easier for me to have a mobile hairdresser to my home. However, I don’t get offered cappuccinos or prosecco at home, so why would I?
I adore the girls who look after my locks and help me feel and look gorgeous, but I don’t want any of them getting injured on my account. It’s when we get to the back-wash that things get hairy. I have to be lifted from my wheelchair to the seating in front of the back-wash basin. This situation is remedied by having my husband in attendance, however I don’t want him there; I don’t want him knowing how much this luxury is costing me. I can’t let the staff at Toni & Guy lift me as they might get hurt. It would be classed as a work-place injury and can you imagine the furore caused if I, as a wheelchair user, was turned away due to disability? My money is just as good as anyone else’s, but I’m a frumpy, sixty year old woman in a wheelchair and I feel as if I don’t fit in.
After a recent refurbishment at the salon, I had expected a nod towards disability awareness in these so-called inclusive times, but it was not to be. Can you imagine the unique selling point if they had that? Just one chair which could be moved to accommodate a wheelchair user? By leaving my electric wheelchair at home so that my smaller one can be used I make a compromise, why can’t they compromise with me and all the other wheelchair users? Do I make the establishment look untidy? Does my physical presence offend and detract from the demographic the salon is aimed at?
If I go on a cruise I am escorted from beginning to end, likewise when I go on a plane there are staff who assist and are trained too. Why is it so difficult in my workaday life? Why isn’t this the same? Why isn’t this just the norm?