Access Denied

Access Denied

Because I am being a lazy bum this week, please enjoy this repeat My Odd Sock.

OK, maybe “access denied” is a bit extreme.

Let’s try “access impeded”…or “access inconvenienced.”

Whatever you call it, if you use a wheelchair, scooter or rollator, getting around, into, or out of a place, building or activity can be downright frustrating at times.

For instance, just this past weekend, I attended a football game in a stadium that was built WAY before the A.D.A. was even a glimmer of an idea.

The stadium probably dated somewhere between the Roman Empire and the birth of Gandhi.  Needless to say it wasn’t easy to plant my tuckus on that splintery, wooden plank of a seat!

The journey began by rolling my wheelchair down a long. very narrow walkway situated below & in front of the grandstand.  The walkway had chain-link fencing along both sides.  And it was narrow–my knuckles scraped the sides as I rolled my chair.  So narrow in fact, you can find wider birth canals on the “Jerry Springer Show.”  It was so close Gabourey Sidibe’s skinny jeans have more room!

Finally reaching the end, bloody knuckles and all, I realized with no ramp I would be forced to ditch the wheelchair and climb the dozen steps to the seating area.

Being early evening, fatigue was working overtime…that, along with nervousness of a new situation…and spasticity from a two-hour car ride were triple-teaming me to a frustrated pulp!  But forging ahead, I held my cane & the rail in my right hand while using my left hand to lift, first my left leg and then my right leg up EACH step.

It was ridiculously slow going.  Egyptians built the pyramids faster!

Reaching the top, I felt like Sir Edmund Hillary.  I wanted to plant a flag into the ground to signify my conquest…but instead, I lost grip of my cane and it slipped between the boards, falling 12 feet to the ground below–doinking a woman on the head along the way.

I let loose with a sentence of expletives that would make a street thug blush.  I was proud of using a curse word as a subject, verb, adjective and even a preposition in the SAME sentence!

Some kind soul handed my cane back through the boards and off I went to find a seat.

As I mentioned before, these were old bleachers, so there were no railings, not even aisles for that matter!  There was no way I could climb the seats for a higher vantage point–so in the front row I sat.  (With everyone milling in front of me, I realized why no one sat in the front row!)

After the game, we waited for everyone to exit the stands before I attempted my herky-jerky walk.  We went through the same obstacle course as before, only this time we were directed to a different exit gate.  This gate was inspired by the stockyards of Chicago as it included a chain-link (they LOVE chain-link in this place!) U-shaped corral.  Again, it was so narrow, I had to collapse my wheelchair and walk through the steel-cage confines to freedom.  (My God, I’ve been in roomier MRI tubes!)

My point in sharing this long-winded adventure is that we as MSers are quite blessed to live in the era we do.  The work of the A.D.A. has opened doors for those of us who need a little extra assistance.  Sure, from time to time we run into obstacles like I faced last Friday night.  But they only serve to remind us of how far we’ve come!

Have a horror story you dare to share?  Lay it on us and listen for the chorus singing “Been there-Done that!”

Happy Trails.


2 Replies to “Access Denied”

  1. Oh yes – been there, done that for sure. Getting in/out of the seats at a football stadium in itself was always an adventure, but then adding in MS bladder dysfunction – hoboy! Good times.