Traveling with a paraplegic (PT. 1)

Anyone who has ever traveled knows how difficult it can be. The planning, the packing, making sure your pets are taken care of, getting there and realizing you forgot something (you always forget something. Usually something pretty important. But there is always SOMETHING you’ve forgotten to pack.) 

Add in a physical disability and packing becomes double the trouble. There is so much more to pack, and you CANNOT forget anything. Medical items are crucial for everyday functioning and all but impossible to buy at any given store. A small example, Gimp uses intermittent catheters (AKA, a new one every time instead of using one fixed catheter.) We usually try to take at least double the amount he will need while we are out and about because plans change and sometimes things fail and it’s inevitable if we don’t we will need them. You can’t just stop at a local drugstore and buy these things, they have to be prescribed and filled at a pharmacy just like any drug you take. 

Now add to this a shower chair, bandages, compression stockings, medications, etc and an overnight trip now requires a suitcase. Add in my excessive packing problems (I might need that! What if we do this, then I’ll need that outfit too!) and the bifold wheelchair Gimp uses and suddenly the little Jeep Patriot I loved so much is packed to the brim and we can barely fit in the car. And it doesn’t stop with the packing.

Don’t forget to check in with the place you’re staying to see just how “accessible” it really is. Their version of accessible and ours are often two very different things. We’ve been through it more than a few times. They think if there is no steps it’s all good, without taking into account how a disabled person showers or uses the bathroom. They don’t take into account whether he will be able to get into the hot tub or get around the furniture that’s stuffed everywhere. And it’s really not their fault, most bipeds (aka can walk normally) don’t see things from the same level and have never even sat in a wheelchair. But therein lies the problem. Most “accessible” places would not meet ADA standards if inspected, and those standards are already at a bare minimum.

I won’t even mention how difficult it is to travel in an airplane, that’s a whole nother story for a different day, although I promise to touch on that in a future post.

Now, I’m not saying we won’t travel. We absolutely love traveling and are willing to work around almost anything for a few nights. We can manage a “normal” hotel room for a few nights, but I would love to see more hotels actually bring in someone in a wheelchair, para and quad, to find the little things that could actually make a room “accessible”.

What challenges have you faced when traveling with a physical disability? Do you know of any hotel chains or bed and breakfasts that really did well in this area? Someday soon I’ll be compiling a list of areas we’ve been and the hotels we’ve experienced.


A day in the life of a Mommy

I wrote this last year. I’ve since moved to a one floor apartment, saving a few trips up and down the steps, but otherwise not much has changed.
Stumble to coffee pot. Throw together lunches while waiting for it to brew. Get yelled at for forgetting spoon/juice/sanity when kid comes home. Yell back about ungrateful kids. Throw pants on so don’t look like complete failure, drive kid to school on time for her to eat breakfast there, because their pop tarts are better. Drive home, try to sit with coffee, other kid needs fed. Shit. Get up to feed kid, realize no clean dishes, clean one spoon and bowl to feed kid. Place milk in cabinet and cereal in fridge. Get yelled at about using Cocoa Puffs instead of superman cereal. Yell back about ungrateful kids. Sit down with coffee, look at floor and realize it needs swept.
Start picking up toys etc, find hair band you’ve been looking for, take it to the bathroom and realize sink is gross. Start wiping down sink. Chug cup of coffee when done. Go sit again, realize forgot to sweep floor. On way to basement for the broom grab the full hamper, might as well save a trip down the steps. Start laundry, walk upstairs, forgot broom. Back downstairs, get back upstairs, sweep, laundry buzzer. Back downstairs to change loads, kid yelling starving to death but I don’t want what you gave me you’re the worst mom ever. Scream back about ungrateful kid while making new snack. 
Laundry buzzed time to switch again. Chug cup of coffee, sit down to pay bills, oh look new emails. Half hour later laundry buzzer, never got bill paid. Still in clothes from this morning. Switch laundry, start wiping counters, realize forgot to lay meat out for dinner. Back downstairs to freezer to get meat, realize forgot to close washer lid. Start to do that then tidy laundry area. Go back upstairs, forget meat.
This is usually around noon, and is just a small glimpse. Despite going all day long nothing is ever actually done. There are still socks everywhere, cat hair everywhere, sink full of dishes and dishwasher needs emptied. 
And y’all wonder why I drink