I've Gone Straight...
Updated: Nov 9, 2020
Hello everyone! I would like to take this opportunity to introduce someone to all of you. I have a new friend. He came into my life only a few days ago and my life hasn’t been the same since. He definitely got things going straight for me. A very special relationship, we have. Well, here he is… introducing my dear friend, Chandler.
Yep, there ya have it, folks. Shipped straight from Karman Healthcare in California. Amazon is so great, right? Ordered this lovely guy online, and two days late he arrived. Gorgeous, isn’t he? Apart from his good looks, I cannot begin to tell you how much he has already done for me. But, I will definitely try.
First, a very crucial little fact… for anyone who is wondering, yes I did name my walker Chandler because of the TV show Friends. Chandler Bing is most definitely my all time favourite character. Thus came the idea for the name.
As some of you may know, I was slightly apprehensive about getting a walker. This was a big deal for me. I think I was mainly worried that it would change how I see myself. So when I first started thinking about the possibility of needing a walker, I was dead against it. Me? A walker? There was no way I needed one, no way I was that person. Sound familiar? I only recently realized that this is kinda like a second coming out for me. This time, I didn’t come out as gay, I came out as well, straight? More like someone who now has some help walking straight. So far, so good, it has only been a few days though, so I might have to get back to you on that. But, my goodness, does the walker ever help! I always want to be outside walking around now!
Also, it turns out, when you have a walker, things suddenly change. People don’t stare at me like I thought they would, actually it’s quite the opposite. Everyone is so helpful! People hold doors for me, move out of the way, make sure I have enough room… it’s kinda nice, to be honest.
Now, for some other things that come with having a walker. I always knew that places needed to be accessible, but did I really know what that meant? Let’s see how the meaning of this word has changed for me in the past week. I’ve taken Chandler with me in Ubers as well as on the bus. I thought I’d approach this with a quick comparison.
Now that I have a walker, I can use the UberAssist option when ordering a ride. For the same price as a regular Uber, this one comes with (or should come with) a big enough trunk to fit a walker or any other mobility aid a person might have. Also, these drivers have been trained to help us make our ride go smoothly. Sadly, the rides do take a bit longer to arrive, guess there aren’t as many Assist drivers out there. The service I’ve been getting has been so incredible. These drivers are suddenly super helpful and friendly! They get out of their cars to come put my walker in their trunks, they ask me how they can help, and they actually smile when they see me! What a difference, I have to say! The only one issue I’ve had was today, when the trunk wasn’t big enough for my walker. Oh well, we put it in the back seat, no big deal, really. So, overall, UberAssist has been great!
This I’ve only done once so far. Thankfully, I chose a junior walker, to better fit my size. A major plus side to this is that the walker itself is much smaller and easier to manoeuvre with. So, while sitting in the priority seating area, I can have the walker in front of me, because it doesn’t take up too much space. Getting on and off the bus was easy, drivers were happy to lower the floor for me. Sitting at the front of the bus was a tad weird though, to be honest. I was constantly worried that I would have to get up to let someone else sit there, that is until I remembered my trusty little friend with me.
So, those experiences have gone fairly smoothly so far, which is awesome. I do still wanna talk a bit more about accessibility, though. People always say that Ottawa is so accessible for people with walkers, wheelchairs, etc. but the truth is, there is definitely room for improvement.
For starters, I was at a mall today that didn’t have the buttons that are needed to open the door. Luckily, I’m able to open it on my own and wheel Chandler in with me, but what about those people who can’t? Most of the other public places I’ve seen do have these buttons though, which is good.
Another thing? Ramps. Yes, places do have ramps, but most of them are quite far away from the doors, which requires more walking. Kinda ironic, don’t you think? What’s next? Elevators! Well, elevators are sometimes hard to find, hidden in back corners, behind stores, it’s kinda like a treasure hunt. A fun little activity added to my outings.
All in all, life is a whole new experience. I somehow feel like I’m trying everything for the very first time, it’s always exciting, and it’s still only the beginning! Every time I see someone else with a walker, I almost expect them to come over, give me a high five and welcome me to the club.
I also just have to add, I am SO excited to get a bunch of accessories! Coffee cup holder, cell phone holder… there’s no end to the list of possibilities!