My Wheelchair Experience

I use a wheelchair on a daily basis, although for short distances I can use a rollator. Anything in the community I have to use a wheelchair. This has been quite an experience for myself. I think I am posting anonymously, and wanted to tell what led to my having to use a wheelchair. I had been a crime victim and suffered from post traumatic stress disorder. As well, I had been in the military previously and suffered from post traumatic stress disorder from that also. I lost my job, and relocated to NYC where I shortly after went homeless and ended up residing in a veteran's shelter. Suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, I ended up having a suicide attempt and was in a coma for two months on "life support." I spent a total of three months without being able to get out of the hospital bed. During this time I developed contractures in my ankles and knees and hips and subsequently was unable to walk. After three months in the first hospital I was transferred to a physical rehab hospital in Manhattan where I spent another three months in regaining what physical ability I could. I will most likely have to use a wheelchair for the rest of my life as I am unable to stand straight up and have permanent contractures in my ankles and knees although possible future surgery could possibly help correct. A couple of weeks ago I took paratransit for the first time to a local mall and movie theatre to see a movie. This was my first time on my own with the wheelchair, and I surprised myself and did better than I thought I would. I am also very appreciative of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as it makes life a lot easier for individuals with disabilities. I wouldn't be able to get around without it. My wheelchair is a manual and I am continuing to build my arm strength. I have also loved to travel in the past, and as my physical health has improved for this coming August scheduled a trip for myself to Miami Beach (about a couple hour flight from where I live). Got all my arangements made for wheelchair services and wheelchair transports from the airport to my hotel and wheelchair accessible room, and looking forward to being out and about with my wheelchair, and looking forward to sitting under palm trees at a park by the ocean (just can't take a wheelchair onto the sand!). Thanks for letting me share my wheelchair experience!
skyslider skyslider
2 Responses Feb 27, 2012

Thanks for sharing. And for serving! I am 29 and have degenerative disc and while I once was very active I now have extremely limited mobility and mostly stay home. It depresses me and I would like to still work and live a full life. I am thinking about getting a wheelchair so I can have more independence and get some exercise building arms. I can walk unassisted around's a big step but hearing stories like yours makes me think it is worth trying!

Hello--I have been enjoying reading your experiences and have been doing public<br />
relations and working with a woman in a wheelchair who has a service dog that<br />
aids her in daily living. It is striking to me how simple tasks are challenging and<br />
she says it has become increasingly difficult over the years with her day to day life.<br />
One of the things she has used is an indoor dog potty called The Pet Loo,<br />
She says she used to take be able to get out for long walks with her service dog<br />
but it has gotten more difficult and this product has truly helped her be able to<br />
keep her dog rather than find another home for him. We do the public relations<br />
for them but I thought you all might want to know more since she told us it has<br />
been so helpful to her. She's in California. I feel blessed and lucky to have<br />
been working with her and on this campaign because it could help a lot of people.