Always check accessibility before you party…

Party Time

Going out to an event in a Wheelchair

We were invited to an event at the weekend, a friend had got married and we were on the list to attend a party to celebrate. The event was at a local pub/hotel and they said it was suitable for a wheelchair user, so I was looking forward to a night out and meeting people I hadn’t seen for years.

So what should I wear (always a problem never got anything to wear) I just had to buy something new! I wanted to look my best and I had no idea who would be there… That was my excuse and i am sticking to that. I saw a lovely multi coloured maxi dress and cream jacket on-line from long tall sally ( I  bought a lot from LTS when working, and they sell great stuff for tall women). I did however have a vast number of shoes to choose to choose from and high heals are no longer a problem in a wheelchair. I picked a fabulous blue pair from my collection that went nicely with the colours in my dress. So with my new outfit I put my makeup on carefully and made an extra effort with my hair, so now ready off we went. I ask my husband “did I look ok”? he said I looked lovely, but when I said does my bum look big in this dress? he said does it matter you’ll be in your wheelchair sitting on your bum so no body will see it. Ha ha…..

Shoes

The entrance had two doors to negotiate very close to each other, my husband had to physically lift me and the chair round a sharp corner to the second door, but got there in one piece, then through double doors to the venue, then oh my god what was of us but two very steep stone steeps to get up to the floor where the tables and chairs were set out for the party.

How the hell were we going to get up there, the hostess came to apologise saying they hadn’t through about those steps, there was no way we could get up them and no alternative, no other entrance no other way in, so and this is where I just wanted to die and go home without anyone noticing me, first two men tried then three came to physical lift me up the stairs, I have never felt so embarrassed in all my life.

I did enjoy meeting so many people I havent seen for years, and even though I have changed so much in those years people kept coming up to me to say hi. Half way through the night the next part I had been dreading going to find the disabled loo’s, these of cause we’re down the dreaded stone steeps again, my husband took me down backwards which was very hard on him and having to take the weight of me fully and the chair bounced on both steps the last being very high so my leg bars took the brunt of the bashing so did my heals. Anyway we got down, back to the entrance were the toilets are, but no disabled facilities I just had to try to get into the ladies, which once again had two doors, of which I could only get into the first and my husband had to stand by the door as it didn’t have a lock, luckily I always take an empty water bottle when we go out just for these occasions, hubby handed it to me and I had too emptied my catheter into it, screwed the top on securely and he put it back into the bag on the back of the chair, had to use my hand wipes and hand gel which luckily I also carry.

So now back to the party, back up those steps closed my eyes this time as the same three guys lifted me up, thanked them and made some joke that next time I would like four strapping men please, at which everyone laughed.I think if there is anything to learn from my experience is that always check if going to a function, restaurant even a pub that you can get into the premises and access the toilets without steep or stairs.

The problem is this country does have some fantastic old buildings but they are not accessible to disabled or wheelchair users, and they can’t adapted their premises, the government says as far as possible establishments should adapt where ever possible to conform with DDA (Disabled Discrimination Act). So check first that’s all I can say.

This was the first time since my diagnosis that I had gone out to an event like this, I knew there would be people there I hadn’t seen for years, mind you I didn’t realise how many, it seems people were coming from all directions to say hi. So as much as I didn’t want to be too conspicuous I was with the wheelchair in the air going up and down the stairs, lucky I’ve got a sence of humour and could make a joke of it all, when really I wanted to hide away.

At least I have a lot of comments about my outfit, especially my lovely blue high-heeled shoes, I may be disabled and in a wheelchair but my appearance is very important to me it always has been, and so many people said that, how as always I looked great. People I hadn’t seen for years came to chat it was fantastic, at times I did forget I was in a wheelchair, so for an evening at least I was back to who I use to be, the same as everybody.

ACCESSIBILTY

Hope you enjoyed hearing about my night out, do send me your comments and please pass on the web site details. That’s all till next time Amazon lady signing off.

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