Reliable transportation isn’t a given.

In my humble opinion, it is easier to live with a life long disability, then deal with the loss of a privilege!  Sure, I have dreamed of  my disability suddenly vanishing, and being able to walk and talk,  and lead a “normal” life.   

  A childhood fantasy of mine was while spending the weekend with my grandparents, I would suddenly start walking  on my own.  Grandpa and Grandma would create parallel bars with their linked hands and arms.  I would to try to walk between their arms.  Sometimes I would feel so strong on my feet, that I  was sure that it was only a matter of time before a miraculous healing occurred!   In my dream, I would simply break free from my Grandparents arms, and my body would be completely healed.  After the three of us finished our celebration, I’d beg to be taken home where I would leap out of the red pickup, and meet Mom halfway towards the house.  She would twirl me in her arms, smiling, happy tears springing to her eyes. 

 A few times I felt so strong,  I convincd myself  that the CP would disappear one day.  Numerous times I would  tell my physical therapist that I felt my CP was going away.  I guess she became tried of hearing my proclamation, because one day she said that my CP would never cure itself.  I never said my CP would heal itself, I meant that my Lord could send me another miracle. (The miracle of both Mom and I surviving my birth.)    I will hear His voice clearly one day!  He will say, “Jan get up and walk!”  And, hopefully I won’t hesitate a second!

 When I first moved into  Supported Living, I could ride in personal assistants cars as long as they had a valid drivers license, car insurance, and passed the agencies behind the wheel driving exam.  In fact, when I was looking for an apartment, I rode around in my program manager’s car.  it was  so easy to plan a grocery shopping excursion with a willing personal assistant.  All we had to do was jump in the car and go.  There was also that freedom of taking off for home as soon as movie ended! 

However, the agency which provides me with personal assistants, put an end to driving people whom they serve for insurance.  I can understand the companies reasoning behind making this policy.  They don’t want an employee  getting into an accident  while they have a person served in their car.  The client could sue the personal assistant, which in turn would fall upon the agency.  To be fair, the company didn’t leave me totally reliant on the bus system.   I  can reserve a company vehicle most week nights and weekends. Unless I know months ahead  of time, I am not able to use a vehicle during the day time, because all of the vehicles are being used.  If by chance I get permission to use during a day, I am aware that if  a vehicle breaks down before I get possession over the the car, I am left scrambling for another mode of transportation. 

Getting back to my topic of  not getting over the loss of a privilege.  When I got the call to get to the hospital asap, all I could think of is how easy it would have been to hop into my personal assistant’s vehicle, and getting to my family within the span of twenty minutes.  Instead, I had to catch the city bus.   My mind was racing with thoughts of,” Hold on Dad. I’m on my way.” While my personal assistant’s mind was focusing on where she could  get her  next smoking break. She took it while we were waiting to transfer to another bus. The driver came back from his break, started the bus, lowered the ramp, helped me board the bus, tied my wheelchair down, and than let the rest of the passengers on. The driver asked me if I had someone going with me. I nodded yes. I tried to envision in my mind’s eye whether or not I could  independently make it from the bus stop at the hospital, to inside the hospital. Seconds before the bus pulled away from the curb, my personal assistant jumped on the bus, relieving me of my needless worrying. 

   It would be nice if I could own my own car, pay for my own insurance and gas of course and just have a reliable assistant who could drive me wherever I desired to go, but that would be asking too much now wouldn’t it? Heck no! I think this is the least I could expect. One day someone will get it in their heads that we, the person’s served would really like to have the chance to show just how independent we really are.

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