Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Making It Work

I ended up unintentionally staying at a hotel in Abbotsford last night. It was not my plan, however a significant lower bowel issue demanded immediate attention when I was dropping Ricky off. I had to have bathroom, and I would have to clean myself up. It's just another one of those things which happens when you cannot move quickly or use most facilities.

So I called a hotel where I have stayed at any number of times and asked for one of their rooms with a handicapped washroom and roll in shower. When I arrived, dirty pants and all, I was given a room with a handicapped washroom and a bathtub, no shower. By this time it was too late to try to get another room elsewhere; I desperately needed to use the toilet, and to change my clothes. So I stayed.

Once I had cleaned myself up, I called the front desk to let the young lady know that this room did not have a roll-in shower. She immediately discounted the room by 50% and apologized. She said she was certain the room had a roll-in shower. Apparently she had not actually been into the room, but had been going on what she saw in the other handicapped rooms. Hotels! Please have your staff check out ALL the rooms they are selling!

This is a significant issue with all hotels, whether here in Canada or elsewhere. We have no clear definition of what a "handicapped" room should look like. This is simply because there are so many levels and types of handicapped. What we really need is a room designation that matches the handicapped logo, a room which is not called "accessible" but which clearly has a roll in shower, a raised handicapped toilet, room to turn a wheelchair around, safety bars, and sinks at a proper height. We, here in Canada, need a law which says what "wheelchair access" means.

Canada has no national law regarding handicapped access. The Charter of Rights was supposed to take care of that. As usual with business, they found ways to circumvent the Charter simply by claiming undue expense, and handicapped people found they could not bear the expense of a court challenge. So there is this hodge-podge of blue wheelchair symbols indicating everything from virtually no access to complete accessibility.

Today I will figure out how to make this work. I always do. That is what it means for me to be handicapped, making things work when they are not designed to work. It means doing far more, despite the eternal exhaustion of ALS. It means working harder to get the same result, the same treatment as an able bodied person, despite my disability. It means fighting to live something vaguely resembling a normal life, something everyone else takes for granted, despite higher costs, lower levels of service, no facilities, and every other impediment you can image. I still want to live, so I have to make it work.

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