sense and sensibility

January 26, 2019

i no longer complain a lot and am now have less severe and frequent bouts of anger but i’ve had a few “bad” days and despite not really being part of the “outrage machine” my cup runneth over with “self-absorbed” acts (and it hasn’t helped that i’m recently sporting an injury and can’t do my daily exercise regiment in full but i’ve got to vent somehow to keep from “going-off” on someone undeserving).

my wife had to move a (push)bike earlier that was “parked” atop a ramp when we were headed to mass because my walker couldn’t otherwise get through (luckily i wasn’t alone)  Someone without a placard also parked their car in a disabled bay (sadly, i’ve encountered this multiple times) so my wife had to leave our vehicle somewhere else.  Some people don’t really think about the inconvenience they cause or fail to consider how their action(s) affect other people and instead focus solely on themselves.  i’ve experienced able-bodied patrons using disabled stalls/toilets when standard ones are available (i’m flexible enough to know that sometimes you don’t have an option and that if you have go, you have to go) – why make people who need special facilities wait because it is more “spacious” or private.  i even had an experience of someone growling at me because i walked in on then (because they had forgotten to lock it) and wasn’t “quick” enough to immediately exit (as i require a wider turning radius with a walker and have great difficulty going backwards).  Not to be gross but i can’t understand why some people don’t flush after doing a”No. 2″  – they already stink most of the time since access toilets are often combined with baby change/nappy/family rooms to save space.  Moreover, a few individuals “rush” into the lift so they can get on before me.

sorry – this type of whinging shouldn’t be common

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(sliding) doors

January 24, 2019

as a pragmatist, I’m conscious that automated doors can be expensive or impractical for disability toilets but i don’t understand why some doors are really heavy and require at least two people to open it (and keep it open).  Some of them aren’t designed properly:  there are doors that open the wrong way, there are quite a few doors where you’ve got to form a plan in order to open a door with a walking aid or wheelchair, and there was even one where you couldn’t close the door with a walker inside.  Moreover, there are locks that are problematic as well: some don’t indicate when they’re locked (or are not that obvious to the occupant), there are a few double locks so you’re not sure which to use (and sometimes you need to use both as the engaged indicator is seperate), and few locks require fine, manual dexterity to operate.  It underscores how compliance isn’t a substitute about thinking about the practicalities of actual use.

stranger in a strange land

November 9, 2018

we were recently in Japan for my wife’s conference.  she usually doesn’t bring me and my son but my in-laws were also overseas – while I can manage on my own (admittedly, with some difficulty), I can’t look after my son and all his needs.  It was a holiday tacked on to a business trip.  There’s a lot to unpack so where do I begin.

language problems were common so my wife had great difficulty arranging for an accessible room for me.  Once she said “accessible” and got “accessi” as a clarification. Another time, she mentioned with enough space to accommodate a “wheelchair” she was told that there was no “chair” in the room only a “sofa”.  Apparently, they refer to it as “barrier-free” over there but knowing that fact didn’t really help.  Thankfully, she had a relative there that could speak the language.  She facilitated the search but some things were still lost in translation.  We managed to get a room that fit all three of us (instead of the two rooms that seemed at one time, the only option for us).  However, they could only manage a short, plastic stool instead of a shower chair so my wife helped me to sit down so I could shower by myself (and not have to get her wet in the process). To some extent, this reminded me of a few of the challenges that we faced in US hotels.  One of the “accessible” rooms was on the ground floor but there were only stairs entering the hotel – luckily there was a rail i could use to go up and down.  Moreover, my wife had to help me shower.  There was another room were the bathroom was suitable but getting there on my own was problematic: a bed effectively blocked my path.  There too was no ramp at the hotel’s entrance but there were also steps and a rail for me to hold onto.

most of their street cuts were too “high” – so my son and I had to help my wife get me on the pavement as my combination, “lighter”. travel walker/wheelchair doesn’t allow for “self-propel”-tion. And, most lifts could only hold me and my family (did I mention I’m claustrophobic and try to avoid elevators if possible – I know, ironic for someone who has difficulty walking and can’t use escalators or travelators) as well as difficulty getting me out of typically-narrow hallways.  That said, we took trains most of the time (as taxis were really much more expensive but occasionally depending on the destination we didn’t have much choice ) because all platforms were (eventually) reachable via lift(s) (granted some were outside the station, some times you had to take more than one, some escalators could be made wheelchair-friendly with the assistance of staff (a first for me) and it’s not for people who are easily lost/poor at directions) and there were prominent “gaps” on to and off a few trains.  But this was better than our prior experience, as we learned first-hand, there were only a few elevators (only select stations had them and they weren’t always working) on the New York subway.

In 2020, Tokyo will host the Paralympics.  In my mind, that’s both good and necessary.  Usually, hotels have only one or two barrier-free rooms despite UN WHO stating that about 10% of the world’s population identifying as disabled.  Sure, not all of them require mobility or sensory aids but that’s still grossly disproportionate.   We missed the mad-rush for hotels in making rooms more accessible by a month.  Like America, the intention is there.  It only goes to show that it’s only not just an issue of wealth or access to technology but about education.  Originally I was upset  (admittedly, i still sometimes do in very extreme cases but you shouldn’t hold it against people for their ignorance but inform them of the proper “etiquette” (and the often unintended consequences of their actions).  Say what you will about Australia’s shortcomings when it comes to disability but i’m yet to find another country that does it better.

 

TBC

 

running in place (2)

June 29, 2017

another reason I exercise daily is so that I can propel myself further when the wheelchair is equiped with rim grips and so I can open ‘heavy’ doors (especially for the toilet) independently.  I usually have a light lunch to help keep my weight in check(because I indulge occasionally in tasty food) so I can ‘easily’ push myself with a walker, to help reduce the injury when I sometimes fall, and make it ‘easier’ for the person pushing (or infrequently lifting) me on a wheelchair (if I can’t roll myself).

yin-yang

May 18, 2017

we ate out last Saturday night.  On one hand the food we ordered was really tasty, on the other it was a real “pain” going to the accessible toilet (you had to go out of the restaurant and traverse a side street with inclines and “extreme” dips).  To be fair to them (as they were sincerely apologetic) , you can privately contact me for the name of the eatery.  I guess it depends what your criteria for rating is – most architecture isn’t very inclusive,