Simone's Kitchen

The 10 things you never realize until you’ve been in a wheelchair

I met a lady this week that was attacked by a tick when she was 11 years old. As a result she has been in a wheelchair for over 35 years now… 35 years… And here I am in my wheelchair for a month now and fed up with the thing. There are so many things you never realize until you’ve actually been in a wheelchair. And I don’t mean the fun bit where you steal your grandma’s wheelchair and race around with it. That doesn’t count! 🙂

The woman I met is an author and a very inspiring person. She has written 18 books and is now starting a new adventure under the name ‘The sitting chef”. You see sitting is very bad for your health. A while ago it was on the news that “sitting is the new smoking” which I thought was kind of funny at the time, but a lot less funny as I’ve been sitting now for almost 2 months.

Stuck in a wheelchair |

So what are the things you never realize until you’re actually sitting all the time?

  1. The world is not made for small people or people in a wheelchair. When I had two normal legs I never thought about things like sidewalks, doors or the height of things…. Try that when you’re in a wheelchair. Impossible!
  2. The world is scary when you’re no taller than – roughly – 1 meter 50. I know there are people of that length but it would still be different when you cannot walk away.
  3. There are people that will look right through you. For me it is quite obvious that I have a broken leg as it is sticking out, but if you’re in a wheelchair and look normal, people don’t know where to look, so they tend to look away or straight over your head.
  4. Maneuvering the thing requires special skills.. 🙂 and it helps if you have a sports wheelchair, although they are not as comfy as the regular wheelchair to sit in. But I’m sure you have different chairs.
  5. The amount of junk and/or furniture a person acquires over the years is all fine, but once you’re in a wheelchair you start appreciating an empty house.
  6. God, I’d give a fortune for a shower….
  7. Having a house without stairs is essential if you have to live in a wheelchair
  8. A regular kitchen is way to high for a person in a wheelchair and worse; ours is made for tall people. Lol… See the problem?
  9. Everyone (the percentage of the people that do not look through you) wants to know what is wrong with you and start to pull sad faces when they see you. This is a weird one really. As if you’re reduced to a weird anomaly by sitting in a chair.
  10. The speed with which your legs deteriorate when you’re not using them is scary. Really scary. I remember after two weeks in the hospital I already noticed my calfs started slimming right now. And while I’ve always dreamed of thin legs, this was not exactly what I had in mind. I hope they grow right back once I’m back on my feet.

Of course the list goes on and on. And I am pretty sure that the longer you’re in a chair the more things you will notice. It’s gonna be at least another month for me and I cannot wait to get up and walk again but I have a whole new appreciation for people that live in a wheelchair their entire life.

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  1. This is very interesting. Having had 2 bouts of being stuck in a chair I can totally understand your sentiments. They are very well expressed. I would add is trying to move the thing with one hand when you want a drink of water is comical for lack of a better word. The amount of times I ended up drenched was crazy. Frustration that comes from not being able to do simple task can be over whelming.

  2. Wat leuk dat je Annemarie Postma hebt ontmoet! Was dat nav haar nieuwe boek dat binnenkort verschijnt? Ben er ook wel benieuwd naar. Ik heb 2 boeken van haar. ‘Het lichaam is perfect’ en ‘Het leven is perfect’.

    Sorry dat ik dit even in het NL’s heb geschreven. 😉

  3. Excellent compilation! I also found that the body part in cast is the one that gets bumped again , in spite of the best efforts to baby it.

  4. Tick, tick and tick every one of them!! I was only in a wheelchair for short trips – but omg it sucks! I experienced most of what you wrote about so eloquently – the weirdest was that people seem not to know what to say or where to look so they just ignore you. WTAF?! They also talk over your head about how to get you places as if you are other there! And my wheelchair ride through Heathrow from the plane that brought me home after the French hospital was super scary with my broken leg stuck out straight in front of me. People would walk STRAUGHT at you and only dodge away at the last minute. I can also add that you never appreciate how rude it is for able-bodied people to use disabled loos until you are stuck outside a locked disabled look in your chair, bursting. .. and then somebody perfectly able-bodied unlocks the door and strolls out. RAGE!!

    • O god yes… My leg is still sticking out and you’re right it is scary as hell. Tom usually “drives” me to the supermarket but once inside I do the wheeling around as the surface is flat and I can manage that but that sticking out leg…. Or kids that run around and pay no attention whatsoever. I’ve had people almost look over me entirely to the point where I thought they would literally stumble over me. I do know that once I am out of this wheelchair I will definitely treat wheelchair people differently myself. And the moment they start talking to whoever is with you, about you… as if you are non existing…. So weird… I’ve only been to the disabled loo once (in the hospital) so can’t comment on that one yet, but I can see it coming… Lol

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