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Rachel
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Do you find that when you're in your wheelchair people don't talk to you? Or they don't talk to you for very long? What helps to make people not quite so afraid of wheelchairs?

I've thought that being more "bubbly and outgoing" might help, but I'm just too tired to do that!

Rachel

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yes ive noticed that with people too ...i think people feel awkward becasue they dont necessarily know why your in t he wheelchair (for all they know you could have cancer)and they dont want u to think they are staring at you ....im not in a wheel chair yet lol...but when i sprained my ankle awile back i noticed that as well and i notice it with other people

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hmmm.... you think that they are afraid? That's odd, I have been using one sick I got sick when I was 12 and I find people stare at me ALOT!. I hate it. They can stare so much that my cousin wants to yell , "TAKE A PICTURE IT LASTS LONGER!" my mom thinks they stare b/c I look normal, but I really have no idea why they stare? Depending on my mood, I do different things. Sometimes, I smile, but normally, if you stare back they will look away!! haha

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People tend to be like that around people in wheelchairs, usually because for some reason it makes them feel uncomfortable... they don't want to be rude by staring (the ones who don't, anyway), but maybe don't want to give in to their curiosity and make you feel uncomfortable by asking personal questions that are none of their business.

Maybe someday people will find people in wheelchairs to be normal people, too. :)

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I just ignore them. It used to bother me alot, but after a year of being in a chair almost every time I go out, I don't really notice it anymore.

I know I'm still pretty self-conscious of using the chair, though. I feel prepetually embarassed. I don't know if that feeling will ever go away.

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hey all,

i spent my first weekend in a chair last week and i found it horrible.

People stared and walked in the way and tutted at me cos i look normal - i was only in the chair cos of my vertigo,

if i'm going to faint i'll faint weather i'm stood up or sat down - have to have my legs up end of story. i couldn't stand up or walk around on my own anyway, the thing that really shocked me was how my parents treated me, it was as if i was back in the buggy as a child again, no one listened to me and told me that i was throwing tantrums cos i was shouting that "you aren't lstening to me!"

but they were trying to dress me - "oh it's cold" - so they'd put my hat on me for me! and i'm shouting "i can do it myself!" like a five year old! it really drove me mad - glad to be home with my boyfriend who seems to think that i can do absolutely everything in the house! well maybe not!

sorry i'm in a foul mood, i have a huge bruise on my back because i passed out whilst making dinner last night and landed on my housemates washing crate!

At least it made the skanky moose move her stuff.

then i sat up had a glass of water, passed out again and dropped it all over myself, so i was wet and bruised!!

this vertigo is killing me!

Anyway, i don'think i could stand other people if i was in a wheelchair, i just want to smack everybody - i have a terrible temper really.

battered bruised and bloody angry becks x x x

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Hi,

I know I make people unconfortable people I am in a wheelchair and I smile all the time. Children stare at me the most. I just talk back to them when they look at me and start a conversation. Then they realise I am a normal person. I don't see myself as a disabled person and I don't project that either.

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I have not used a wheelchair but sometimes I feel that I should on outings. For me I don't want to make the person in the wheelchair feel "different" if that makes sense. So I may come off as stuck up maybe? I try to use eye contact instead of looking at their body or their chair. I think people are more curious then anything.

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I have a manual wheelchair at home and a scooter for use at work. It's weird, because people treat scooters differently from wheel chairs. The scooter makes me feel less sick/ilike an invalid than the wheelchair, for reasons I can't explain. My scooter (red!) seems more like a sportscar... well, maybe not. I got both because of my eds. I can't walk long distances. People always seem surprised that I can actually walk. And then I do get questions from strangers. when I am without either, I have crutches. I do like having something to signal my entitlement to a seat, the handicapped stall in the bathroom, etc. Otherwise, I look pretty "normal"--just a somewhat chunky woman in her late 30s.

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I was embarrased by my chairs at first. i have a power chair and a little red hot rod, very portable. I haven't had anyone stare (except kids, and then i smile and wave and they usually giggle and wave back).

I don't pay attention anymore. People actually tend to go out of their way to help and I find if I'm just friendly, they are too. I'm not self conscious anymore.

I must look sick or something..... :)

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This is just a kind of funny aside, but as to using the electric carts in grocery stores...

I very rarely have problems, and people are usually fairly friendly and at least somewhat helpful. I live in Boulder which is similar to Berkeley, CA, if you know what I mean, and we don't have a large selection of grocery stores. I shop at the vegetarian co-op when I can, but really can't afford organic all the time. (esp. fruits and veg) I did go to Whole Foods once about a month ago, and apart from things being very close together and difficult to maneuver in the cart, the people there were the rudest I've experienced... and I used to shop there all the time and never noticed until I was in the cart. It was about 7 pm on a Friday and pretty busy. I just thought it was interesting that it seemed the customers were so rude (cutting in front, blocking everything, never letting me turn out of an aisle, etc.)... I didn't know if any of you have had that experience specifically at a Whole Foods? LOL

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you know over a year ago when i got my power chair.. the first time i used it..I think i was more srelf conciouse then anybody.. b/c i felt that people where starring....(im not trying to discount waht anybody else is saying about stariing.. ive havent dealt so much with stares.. as i have dealt with RUDE people)

BUT after the first time i used and seen how much easier i made things for me..(ie.. being able to leave the house in and of itself was a huge victory!! and to leave by myself was an even huger victory!)

but after i got over my own self concsiousness.. i dont notice.. the "stares" or anything..like at all... usually when i come across children.. I normally get.."thats cool" or my younger cousins will want to ride in it or something goofy like that..

At this point for me if people where starring i would not care b/c this things allows me to do more (whic isnt alot but more none the less) in then if i where trying to get out and about with out it...im so greatful to have it.. and i really mean that.. not that i want to be in it or using it.. but with out i would completely house bound...

ive found that people are generally pretty helpfull..(like in walmart i go to the same one and people have gottne to know me there.. and i go at night b/c it much LESS crowded).. but customers and sale associates alike.. are helpfull...

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I very rarely go out and when I do I have to use a wheelchair. One time, my mum was pushing me in it across the road and she had trouble with the kerb so she ended up half tipping me out of it, there was a pub across the road and some man was staring at us. We were laughing our heads off.

Mostly people ignore you, pretend you're not there. At least in my experience. Funnily enough, (it was a hired wheelchair) as mum was bringing it home my son who was quite young at the time hopped in for the ride and had all these people looking at him and you could tell they were thinking, that poor boy.

When they ignore me, I feel like getting out of the wheelchair, throw my hands up above my head and yelling, 'It's a miracle!' :) Just because people's general ignorance is to think that those in wheelchairs are wheelchair bound.

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YOu will all think I'm nots but I turn the embarrassment RIGHT back to the person or people staring. Yesterday I went out for some cake and coffee with some girlfriends from Oxford in my chair (I have flu this week and can't stand up.)

The people in the shop were shocking- ignoring me at first, pretending I wasn't there- so I said "EXCUSE ME ARE YOU SERVING?" quite loudly. They came over to our table then and when they asked what I wanted I said "I'm sorry, I'm disabled,I can't understand foreign languages" (the cafe was French). My friends were nearly wetting themselves! And the woman didn't even realise I was poking fun- she said "oh, let me translate then- this is a type of mineral water with fruit in." :wub:

When people stare in the street, I either pull a funny face, or go "HELLOOOOOOOOOO! I KNOW, IT'S HARD BEING THIS BEAUTIFUL! I BET YOU WISH YOU COULD BE THIS COOL!"

I find it embarrassing to be in my chair, so I try really hard to deflect it away from me and back to the people who perpetuate it by gawping at me :)

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HI! I have a tendancy to be self-comcious in the chair too, and have often wanted to cry after running into someone I knew. Things have gotten better with the self-conciousness though, I just decded to focus on the face that without it I would never be able to go out.

One thing I do notice is that the helpfulness of people depends on who I am with. If I am with one of my parents people aren't very thoughtful, but if I am with a friend, people will gladly open doors and clear pathways. I find it interesting.

I thought the place I would be least stared at was NYC, seeing as there as SO many people there and many are strange, but I thought the were more rude there. They make no bones about stepping right in front of you and stopping to look at something.

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This was a little extreme, but my father had a stroke a few years back, and while we were at a restaurant a lady a few tables over continued to STARE at my dad. Even though he is paralyzed on one side, sitting in his wheelchair he looks pretty normal. Well the longer we sat there trying to enjoy our meal she just wouldn't quit. I finally got up walked over to her table and asked her if she was trying to imagine herself or someone she loved in the chair. She was dumbfounded!!! It did the trick but you just think people wouldn't be so rude...

((Hugs))

Sue

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Tanzanite just reminded me of this one really funny episode last year.

I was in a store looking for a sweater. My chair wouldn't fit between the racks of clothes, so I got up and walked about 10 feet to a seciton I wanted to look at. Well, one of the employees saw me and excalimed "Oh my god! I thought you were paralyzed!". At first the comment shocked me, but then I just blurted out, "I was... holy **** I'm cured! I can walk again!". She knew I was kidding though and we had a good laugh about it. Then I explained that I can walk, just not for very long, so that's why I use the chair.

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Ok, so I have too many funny stories about my chair to list, but I'll tell my two favorite.

Like a year after I got sick, I was about 13 and we were at a flea market on vacation. This old man had all these bottles of stuff he was trying to sell and so when we walked past he asked what was wrong. My mo sort of explained and then he asked if he could spray my legs with eucalyptis oil, b/c they cured him from the diseases he got in WW2! WE didn't know what to do, I was tired and just looked at my mom, then he grabbed my hand, and started spraying. He's like, "Now you will be cured' as we were leaving my hands started burning and I was like we have to get to the car and wipe it off, and we ran into a clow who stopped us. He said we had to wait there so he could make me a shopping hat, b/c I didn't look happy enough, I was tired and wanted to get out of there. Once the clown gave me the hat I just told my cousin to run and push me to the car.

This next one happened last year, my mom and I were at the mall getting my dad's Christmas present, only we couldn't find it in the store. So we had to ask for help, and of course we get a doofy sales guy that talks to people like they are deaf. So he's helping us and my mo goes down an aisle I can't fit through, she just left me there sitting with him. He says loudly, "So what did you do to yourself." Completely not thinking about it, I said straightfaced, "Nothing"

his eyes got all big and he backed away, Then my mom said, "she has a comprimised cardiovasculer system"

The thing I didn't DO anyhting to myself. After that he was like afraid of me. LOL.

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people stare at me and little kids are always asking, "mommy, why is she in a wheel chair?" i just smile at them. a lot of people tend to be "nicer" like they have pity on me. but those who knew me before the marine corps and don't know that i am sick, think that i am just playing around and usually start out with, "what are doing bumming around being lazy? someone that really needs that thing should be in there!" then i explain it to them and they feel horrible about it and say they never imagined anything like that happening to me. i tell them that it can happen to anyone. you should see their faces. :) of course i tell them a gruesome picture but they shut up with calling me lazy. i hate that so bad!

dionna :P

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Thanks everyone for sharing your experiences and your sense of humor through it all. I loved the stories. Dizzy Dame, your story about being "cured" and walking around made me laugh out loud! :)

Have any of you ever lost your wheelchair? My husband and I did that just this past fall! We had to do some shopping in town. First we went to the Great Harvest Bread Co. and had the sample slice, plus bought a couple of loaves for friends. That was around 11am. Then I was too tired to do any of the shopping, so I just stayed in the van and laid down while my husband went into all of the stores. By 6pm I needed to get out of the van for supper with some friends. Will (my husband) went to the back of the van to get my chair and said, "Rachel, where's your chair?" I said, "Where did you put it???!!!" We racked our brains trying to figure out where it could possibly be since I'd been in the van all day. Then we remembered the Bread Co. We had left it in the parking lot there that morning! We drove back and my husband went into the Bread Co. and asked if they'd found a wheelchair. The man hollered to the back of the shop, "Hey! The wheelchair guy's here!" And one of the workers wheeled out my chair. They had found it in the parking lot and brought it in out of the rain for us and kept it safe all day.

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