Thursday, April 8, 2010


The picture above is of my handicap accessible van. It has a side loading power lift to get me in. A few years ago we got a new van because I had gotten my power wheelchair. It was too tall to fit in my old van without tilting back. Also, the lift wasn't quite strong enough to hold it so it would bend when I was being lifted up. The new one we purchased is about 7'2" tall and much bigger. In order to fit it into our garage, we had to raise the roof. Most people are interested in how I get around from place to place. For me, it depends on where I'm going.

When I want to go out somewhere, I usually have my mom drive me in our van. The nurses aren't able to drive it for liability reasons. Also, I need two people including the driver in case something happens. Places I'll usually go in my van are the mall, Target, the grocery or bookstore, a restaurant, etc. Typically places of necessity, for fun or shopping purposes. My mom also takes me to church most Sundays.

For appointments like to the doctor or therapy, I take a van service called Travel On Transportation. Since it's a medical appointment insurance pays for the ride. Most of the time I'm the only person in the van and they take me straight to my appointment and straight home. With this service, I'm able to set up a ride to my appointment and then call when I'm ready to be picked up. They are usually there within 30 minutes. I would love to be able to take this type of transportation everywhere, however if it isn't a medical appointment, I would have to pay a large amount out-of-pocket. The only way to avoid that is taking alternative transportation.

I take a bus service called Metro mobility to get to school and back home. I've also used it to take me other places like to the mall if no one is available to drive my van. The only advantage to taking Metro mobility is that one ride cost $3. So to go to school and back it costs me only $6. There are many more disadvantages than advantages. Taking Metro mobility wastes a lot of time. Unlike Travel On, Metro mobility is a ride share program. They pick up and drop off other people while I'm on the bus. Sometimes I get picked up from school and am on the bus for an hour or so before I get home. It is also extremely bumpy to ride on a bus versus being in a van. I think the shocks on my wheelchair and the shocks on the bus counteract making it worse.

I am not able to just get up and go places on the spur of the moment because I depend on others to drive me; it always has to be planned. Either I have to call ahead to set up a ride or I have to ask my mom to take me. The lack of independence is definitely something I struggle with a lot. It's not hard to set up a ride and my mom would take me anywhere at any time. It is hard to deal with the fact that I always have to depend on someone to drive me somewhere. Especially if I want to get out of the house and I'm not able to because no ones available. I guess it's a little bit of the same feeling that I have with always having to depend on someone to do everything else for me. The difference is that I don't have the freedom to leave when I want to whereas if I need something done for me, all I have to do is ask and there is someone that can do it for me. In order to go somewhere, it has to be the right time and the right place and someone has to be available.


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