Another blog post - time seems to be going so quickly at the moment, how is it nearly February?! As a lot of you know from my updates for CP Teens UK on both Facebook and Twitter (all your responses were amazing, especially on Twitter!), I had a bit of an 'incident' on Sunday whilst using a train. I'm going to keep it as short and sweet as possible as it is one of those stories that could go on forever, but I had to sit in the place where bikes normally go as it was a very small train. Okay, like I said, it was meant for bikes, but there was also a sign which stated that wheelchairs/disabled people/elderly people take priority - I actually find it very sad that in this day and age there has to be signs like this made to spell it out to people!
Anyway, I sat down in this space until the next stop. When we arrived at the next stop, a gentleman got on with a bike and was very pleasant and told me not to worry. However, a second gentlemen (if that's what you can call him!) then got on, also with a bike. Immediately he came up to us and started shouting at us to move right away, even ramming his bike into the wheelchair. We then calmly explained that it was a wheelchair, we couldn't get into the carriage as it was such a small train and that we were getting off at the next stop anyway. The man continued to be abusive, as well as continuing to ram his bike into where the wheelchair was, shouting 'move that pushchair!'. To cut a long story short, the other gentleman with the bike stepped in to help calling him 'an appalling human being' and the train manager intervened. I just don't understand why some people feel the need to be like that?! We took the train as we felt it was more than within our capabilities, but then you get people like that who make you think twice about doing just everyday activities!
I asked you all on Facebook whether or not public transport actually is very user-friendly for disabled people like you and me? Or, is ignorance the issue? Could we quite easily use public transport if other members of the general public understood more and were willing to lend a hand?
Alison, who is Mum to my friend Ryan who has Cerebral Palsy, said that she finds 'staff on trains very helpful, but staff and some passengers on busses very rude, ignorant and unhelpful'. Alison also commented 'People living with disabilities can find daily tasks hard enough without the ignorance of other peoples rudeness'. I am always very much like please don't feel sorry for me, okay I may find a lot of things difficult, but personally it doesn't bother me and I don't really notice it anyway, however, Alison is completely right - getting organised to go on a train with a wheelchair is difficult and nobody needs to make it even more of a hurdle. Not only that, I happened to be with my Mum fortunately, but if I did ever manage to pluck up the courage to use a train independently in the future, I don't think I would because of this incident. As Alison said, we can find daily tasks hard enough, i.e. finding the confidence to use a train alone as well as physically being able to do it, without other people making it difficult.
Nikki Charlesworth who has Cerebral Palsy commented on Facebook saying 'I once got verbally abused by an old lady on the bus, she called me 'ignorant and rude' along with other abusive terms for sitting for sitting in a disabled seat. I explained to her that I had CP and that I could rightfully sit in that seat, she wouldn't have any of it. When I started crying she tutted and said 'Oh, here come the water works...' I was in total disbelief. They seem to think just because we're young it means we're totally fine!'
In other news (haha!), I have now had yet another feet appointment for like attempt number 2439 to get my feet 'normal', if there's even such a thing as 'normal feet'?! All I do know is that in the world of Cerebral Palsy, normal feet don't even seem to exist and I'm not sure they ever will, but hey! Anyway, I picked up my insoles today from the hospital, brought them home and as ever, I was chuffed to bits that my legs were the same length as one another once more, but there is no arch support and my foot continues to roll like a barrel so it's back I go! I swear they must think I'm crazy sitting there and saying, 'I promise they used to work when the children's department used to make them!'. You see, in the children's department when you had an appointment for your feet, you used to have every man and his dog in there, from physios to the orthotic person. In the adult's department, you get one person who makes a mould of your feet based on a scrappy piece of paper in the back of your notes, so that probably has something to do with the fact that I've not had a pair of working insoles since I moved from children's to adult's! It's just frustrating as I know exactly what my feet and legs feel like when I do wear insoles that work - I'm sure that the adult's department just feel like I'm kicking up a fuss!
This week, I have decided to be ruthless and I have replaced all the photos that are (well, were!) up in my bedroom. I'm not going to go into detail or mention any names because knowing my luck, they'll probably read this, but I'm sure you all know who you are! During sixth form and after leaving school, many of my 'friends' have quite simply dropped me. They would never dare say it to my face or probably not even out loud, but I'm not stupid, I know it's because of my Cerebral Palsy - it's all a bit too 'uncool' for them and a bit too much like 'hard work'. I'd love to give you examples, but I feel that at the moment, it's probably not appropriate as I don't want the individuals to read about the specific incidents that they were involved in on here and then cause issues. However, I'm sure that within time I'll tell you, especially as I'm pretty sure that they're rather happy that I'm not chasing them asking how they are, if they want to do something etc. So yes, I have replaced all my photos with the people I love the most and their feeling is mutual without sounding too soppy! My motto is always 'if I can accept my disability, then why can't you?!', and I was fed up of waking up to the face's of people who simply chose not to accept it!