So amongst all the crazy wedding planning and not really knowing which day of the week it was, we had a lovely surprise! The answer to one of our many problems has finally arrived! “What is she on about again?” I hear you say? Well, obviously, (and I know this is going to spoil the ending/surprise but I just can’t resist!) it’s the long awaited Motability car, it’s here, it’s gleaming and it’s bee-iw-tee-ful……… 😉
It came at a extremely good time after a tricky couple of weeks. Mother’s Day had really taken it out of me emotionally and the reality of planning a wedding whilst not being able to get out without the help of the groom (not ideal when trying to keep aspects of the bloody thing a secret!) was stressing me out. Plus after reading all the media fuss when an aid to Teresa May, George Freeman made a statement that certain benefits should only be given to the “really disabled”, I was well fed up. Thankfully he very quickly backtracked (probably after having his stupid arse kicked) but the phrase still lingers and it really started me thinking.
What is “really” disabled? I started to think about that phrase and what it could apply to.
I wasn’t born disabled so am I “really” disabled? I became disabled following a spinal fracture but not with any big accident or incident, it just sort of crept up on me? My fracture healed but the damage left behind didn’t and the whole thing happened over about 2 years.
At first, I don’t mind admitting that “becoming” disabled was difficult; to me it meant pity, it meant admitting defeat. Admitting that I was just going to have to go on struggling in pain, hearing the word “permanent” from my consultant, seeing it written down accompanied with “will continue to 65 and beyond, likely to worsen as she ages” was not the best consultation I’d ever had. How do you cope with the knowledge that this is it? The pain is forever? No one is going to be able to sort it? I have no f***ing idea…..
But the old saying of “life goes on” is so true, you just keep going, one day at a time and eventually the sun and happiness peeks through again. I had got my head sorted (kinda!) after a year of knowing things weren’t going to change, we had our routine of getting out of the house to carefully selected places that we knew were accessible and life was on the up again.
We had to do something positive to raise the spirits last week so we treated ourselves to a trip to a theatre to watch a big 60’s tribute band, not an odd choice but to a theatre we hadn’t been to before. Well what an outing! The theatre was gorgeous, old beams, grey worn velvet seats and good old-fashioned usherettes, what a treat! We’d done all the usual things beforehand – phoning up to ask about the accessibility, where’s the entrance for wheelchairs, blah, blah, blah…..
So we arrived, found the wheelchair entrance (round the back obviously!) found the lift and was ushered into the theatre by the very stern looking uniformed gentleman who was operating the lift. He showed us to the front row which in his words was “where the wheelchairs go”, told P that “if she wants a drink in the interval, you’ll have to get it from the bar as (of course) its upstairs (of course again)” All this with me sitting next to P but at no time did he look at me or address me directly, I was “the wheelchair” and I apparently didn’t count – I’m probably being grossly unfair to a nice old man but that’s how I felt. This was then compounded further by then being shown to our precise seats, not next to each other as per ‘normal’ seating but I had to sit in my wheelchair by myself IN FRONT of the other seats as (here he goes again) “that’s where we put the wheelchairs”.
This slightly ‘bumpy’ start to the evening was calmed by a large glass of the house vino and the fact that the “other wheelchair” was a lovely bloke from Blackwood who gave me lots of tips about other theatres where a person in a wheelchair can actually sit NEXT to the person they came with! Who’d have thought that such miracles would be possible? Actually and thankfully, he was a great guy and helped make the most bizarre evening a success but what a ridiculous scenario, me & him chatting in the “wheelchair spaces” in the space between the front row and the stage (and yes, it was a real squash) whilst P & his friend were chatting behind us. At the end of the night, back to the car we went and watching P take the wheelchair apart and loading it bit by bit into the car, I silently sent a ‘please can we have the new car soon?’ prayer up to the Motability gods.
Well, they were obviously listening guys as two days later, a phone call from the lovely Ross from the VW dealership announced that the arrival of our new, much waited for, baby/car was due the following week! And so the mood was lifted, and was lifted even further when it actually arrived! It’s finally here, in all its ‘Caribbean Blue’ gorgeous-ness! And the very, very best of all thing? It has a wheelchair hoist installed into the huge boot so P no longer has to hump all the bits into the boot, a very clever electronic ‘arm’ thing does it all for him!
We were just like new parents to a new baby, we stared at it, we touched it, we stroked it, we oooh-ed and aaaah-ed at it and just loved it at first sight! At last, something that gives us physical and practical help in order to get out and about; to say it has boosted our moods would be an understatement, our smiles hadn’t been this wide since………., since in forever!!
Whilst our hoist technique still needs, ehem, ‘polishing’,to say the least, having the car has (in true X Factor style) changed our lives. P says it’s a pleasure to drive – very important to a man who hates driving and the hoist has taken the strain away from any journey. The whole thing is higher off the ground so P doesn’t have to bend so far to help me in and I can adjust the seat so I’m relatively comfy in it.
Well, it’s been a fortnight of extreme downs but thankfully concluding in an extreme high; thanks to all at Capital VW for all their help, to the lovely Ross, to the even lovelier Jim “the hoist man” and to the ever suffering P for putting up with my moody-ness.
Who’d have thought that something electrical could put such a smile on a girl’s face eh…..