Mission failed. Objective accomplished

My mission- in my own words

“Travel from Northern IL to Holland, Michigan and back without the use of my legs.” 

My objective  

To not only test if the Amtrak and Metra were handicap accessible, but to see if I could make it there and back in a wheelchair.

Wait a minute, the mission and the objective sound the same?

I thought so too, but the trip proved to me that I was sadly mistaken. The phrases “being in a wheelchair” and “not having use of your legs” are NOT synonymous.  I stated in my last post,

to make it an accurate Test, the circumstances need to be the same.  So with the exception of driving myself to the train station, ( I would be willing to pick her up and drop her off) I have made all of my travel plans from what I FELT was the perspective of someone who does not have use of their legs.

I also made the statement that….”I do agree that just because something SAYS it’s handicapped accessible, doesn’t mean that it actually is.”  While I did use the wheelchair, I did use my legs to pivot to the toilet once I was as close as I could get the chair.  I also climbed in bed ‘normally.’  I did not pull myself onto the bed.  I stood up and climbed in.  No wonder not everything that says handicap accessible is handicap accessible, how can you cover every possible limitation that someone might have?

Because I view every mistake, or experience as a learning opportunity,  I’ve been doing alot of reading and research about different levels of disability and the laws and services that are in place to as the ADA says

give civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications. The ADA is divided into five titles (or sections) that relate to different areas of public life.

Another thing that I found interesting is an article at https://www.apa.org/pi/about/newsletter/2015/11/handicap-disabilities, which describes the difference between disability and handicap.

Defining Disability

First, what does disability itself mean? A disability is a condition or quality linked to a particular person. A disability is present when activities usually performed by people (such as walking, talking, reading, learning) are in some way restricted. Thus, someone with congenital blindness has a disability, as does someone who must use a wheelchair for mobility purposes. Other disabilities are not necessarily apparent, for example, acquired brain injury or chronic depression.

Defining Handicap

In everyday life, some people use the term handicap or refer to people with disabilities as the handicapped. The first term — handicap — refers to an obstacle imposed on people by some constraint in the environment. Older buildings that lack ramps for wheelchair access, for example, present a handicap for people who use wheelchairs. In this case, a wheelchair user is handicapped — her mobility through use of her wheelchair is disrupted — by the missing ramp. However, she actually is not handicapped herself; rather, the handicapping element is in the environment, not within her.

So while I accomplished my ultimate goal or objective by proving that I could make it to Michigan and back in a wheelchair,   I did not prove that EVERYONE in a wheelchair could make this trip.  I’m not saying they can’t, but I am saying that I didn’t challenge myself in this way.

Later this week I will share the story in a  “Grace style” post telling you THE TRUTH, THE WHOLE TRUTH, AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH about my “adventure”. Einstein gave me one instruction before I left.  HE said, “Don’t break anything”…. I laughed.

I shouldn’t have.  😦

**Spoiler alert**

The trip CAN be made by someone without the use of their legs.