Excuses for My Disability
This is the part where I make a call to determine my eligibility for a new power wheelchair. Excuse me. My phone is breaking up. Yes. This is the part where I drive. Yes. In my blue bus. This is the name we have for my wheelchair-accessible vehicle. Yes, really. I drive for an hour to reach this appointment with an apologetic-looking doctor. I am late. I am sorry. Excuse me, the doctor’s gray-gold eyes seem to say, but you are late. I nod. This is the part where the doctor sighs and takes me into his office despite my lateness. This is the part where he settles into his creaky office chair and says, “Yes. What seems to be the trouble?” And I say, “My wheelchair. It’s breaking. It’s seven years old. I need a new one. I’m eligible.” I show the doctor how the metal parts which hold my foot pedals on have been inexplicably crushed. This part right here is why my foot pedals dangle like that. The doctor nods. I show him how the wheelchair’s driving console keeps flashing green and red and yellow. I don’t know why. But this is the part where I confess I’ve had the wheelchair out in the rain quite a lot. The doctor’s gray-gold eyes are surprised, seeming to say, Excuse me, but you are in a power wheelchair, so small wonder the wheelchair is breaking. No. I mean—yes. But I like the rain too much not to be out in it. “The wheelchair is seven years old,” I say again. This is the part where the doctor asks if I believe I will always be disabled. “What?” I say. “Yes, yeah.” No, somehow, too. But I’m eligible.