Monday, July 19, 2010
Trails and Trials of a Wheelchair Photographer
Of all the terrains I have been on this one looks fairly simple. I rarely challenge my scooter's mobility when I am on a solo shoot. I am comfortable with pavement and shallow gravel and trails through low cut grass. I did recently get into a situation that was a steep incline and of all of my concerns I never thought that a stall on a steep hill would happen. Especially with well charged batteries. That is exactly what happened. I almost topped a steep incline, not much higher than the one pictured here and right before reaching the top my scooter stalled and stopped.
Having a fear of heights I was determined not to look back the very long slowly rising incline. I pulled my key out and pushed it back in to try to restart it but nothing. The circuit had been thrown and the button I needed to reset it was out of reach from my position. This is typically when anger and fear ultimately kick in. I got my cellphone and called my husband. While I was waiting I cursed under my breath. I not only cursed my scooter but the manufacturers of scooters as well and recalled all the arguments that I have had with the healthcare system that having a physical challenge does not mean that life and adventure has to stop. If engineers who design these mobility scooters would consult the physically challenged to arrange little safety buttons where they can be reached from a sitting position, my life that day and the days ahead would be much easier.
Logically I knew I was safe, the anti lock breaking system would ensure that the scooter wouldn't roll backwards and even if it did there was a long steady stretch that would give me plenty of time to stop. I was in a straight position so as long as I didn't twist around too much it wasn't going to tip over, it was just the idea of having my back to a hill.
When my husband got there he released the break and turned me around and I coasted down the hill. At which point we removed my battery, hit the reset button and restarted the scooter, I by that time had a smile back on my face.
In a world of flourishing technology you would think that options for people with a few physical challenges would have better tools to utilize (within affordable reach) but my husband would tell you that I would just push my limitations more and find new ways to get myself in trouble. = )