Walking is Overrated Anyway
I got my first job, fresh out of college. Okay, I’ll admit that I spent several months adjusting to the reality that, for the second time in my life I had been flung unprepared into the world with little more than a slap and a “Congratulations!” But once the shock wore off, I managed to land the very first job that I applied for. I was excited. Not only was it my first job, but I would be working with and for people with disabilities. This was great because, as a person with Cerebral Palsy, my disability was always one of my primary concerns when starting a job. Would I be able to do the work? Would my co-workers accept me? Now, I wouldn’t have to worry about it, or so I thought.
I dove into my job, but soon, I found myself scrambling to keep up with my hectic schedule. I was using my crutches to get around the office. Due to my slow pace and the limited number of things that I could carry at a time, a trip to the copier before a meeting often meant that I would have to skip a bathroom break, and setting up a room for a meeting or workshop meant skipping lunch.
The first time someone mentioned using a wheelchair around the office, I scoffed. I was fiercely independent and a wheelchair seemed like a white flag of surrender, but I finally agreed to give it a try. Imagine my surprise when I found myself with enough time for lunch, and a bathroom break! I was also less exhausted, which meant that I could actually do my job. Within a week I had accepted my new form of independence. It’s funny, I don’t miss walking like I thought I would.
Melissa McPherson is a recreation coordinator at The Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living in Ann Arbor, Michigan where she lives with her husband, four cats, and dog Tanden, whom she is training to be a service dog. Vote for Melissa’s entry here.