They Didn't Ask Me (dr_phil_physics) wrote,
They Didn't Ask Me

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No, Really -- The Comments

One thing you learn on the Internet, is that you wade into the Comments section of any kind of a post at your own peril. In other words, DON'T READ THE COMMENTS.

There are exceptions, of course, particularly if you have hip waders on or if a topic is interesting or you really want to gauge how people feel.

And then there's this.

John Scalzi yesterday posted about his day in a wheelchair:
As most of you probably remember, when I was in Australia I tore a calf muscle and spent several days on crutches and have since been using a cane to get about. The good news is that everything’s healing as it should — at this point I’m keeping the cane around as a precautionary measure — so as far as Adventures in Temporary Disability go, this has been likely a best-case scenario.

That said, I did have one relatively brief moment where I got the smallest of glimpses of what I suspect mobility-impared (sic) people go through on a regular basis. It happened when I was traveling back from Australia to the US, and I, in an overabundance of caution, asked for (and got) wheelchair assistance to get around the two airports I was going to be in: Melbourne and Los Angeles.
Here's where the comments come in:

Even if you don't like John Scalzi, they are worth reading. They're not oh-poor-John or raving atta-boys. They are mainly tales from people who are handicapped in so many other ways, both short term, long term and about people they've known. "Handicapped", like so many other things in life, isn't a One-Size-Fits-All business.

Right now, I am dependent on canes and a walker to get around. I can stand and even take a step or so of a few inches if I have to, but between the nerves in my lower left leg (or lack thereof), the AFO brace and the wrapped wound healing on my heel, I need that much assistance to get around. And since I have been staying off my foot as much as possible these last few months, my endurance is way down and I cannot, nor should I, stand for very long.

Last year at Detcon1 we rented a wheelchair, which turned out to be a good call. WisCon last year and ConFusion this year I just used the walker.

It's Dr. and Mrs. Dr. Phil on Friday outside Program Ops just before my reading. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Al Bogdan (All Rights Reserved)

In my case, I was actually lucky. I first got the compressed nerve in my left leg, which meant I couldn't feel it and had limited control, three years before I got the heel wound. I was using one cane to get around for two years and a handicapped parking hangtag for most of one year before I was hospitalized. It was in the hospital that I was pushed around in a wheelchair for the first time ever in my life. My rehab experience and life getting out were both helped by experience with these previous limitations.

I haven't flown since I first got the compressed nerve, which is now, what, five years ago? Listening to other people's stories however, have suggested to me that should I fly in the future -- (1) there is no way that I am going to ship my walker, (2) I will take canes, (3) avail myself of airport wheelchair use and (4) try to arrange for wheelchair or walker use at my destination.

But I won't stay home forever.

I am passing on this year's WorldCon in Spokane -- and was planning to from the start -- because I am trying to keep off the foot this year, don't want to fly and the expense. There is a good chance I'll go to the 2016 WorldCon because it's in Kansas City, which isn't all that far to drive. In theory. And we are hoping against hope that Helsinki wins their bid for the 2017 WorldCon, Wednesday 9 August to Sunday 13 August, 2017, because we've been to Helsinki, Finland, and really want to have an excuse to go back.

So we're saving our money.

But we're also planning how to navigate.

Maybe we'll do an Atlantic crossing by sea on the way over. Alas, Cunard's scheduling ends with January 2017, so we don't know if the Queen Mary 2 is available. (grin) I suppose we have to fly home in any event, since the next week is the Big One -- the longest Total Solar Eclipse in North American For A Long Time.

Anyway, whether you have mobility issues or not, I'd recommend you check out the comments to the Scalzi piece above.

Dr. Phil
Posted on Dreamwidth
Crossposted on LiveJournal
Tags: handicapped, travel, worldcon

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