GPS For Barriers

Today’s conversation is about barriers–wheelchair accessibility. Realistically, they’ll always be there; it’s important to have an alternate plan when you are confronted by one. I’m prescribing two do-s.

The first do is to b-r-e-a-t-h, not react.

You represent all disabilities. Huffy behavior and hateful words maim our name. If you must show your fanny, moon yourself before addressing the powers that be. Remember: They most probably had no say in accessibility regulations; and, you may be the only disabled person they ever met. Please, make it a pleasant experience.

The second do is: connect to your GPS, Good Problem-solving Skills. Here are a few of my peeves, along with their solutions.

Parking spaces: I know all landscapes can’t be leveled, but at least handicapped parking spaces SHOULD be on level ground. I wouldn’t mind wheeling a block just to avoid a teetering transfer. I love the look of charming cobblestone streets and brick sidewalks, but just like the measured lines in concrete sidewalks, rolling over them ushers in rat-a-tat-tat spasms for me.

Sometimes, this is unavoidable. But, when I have the choice of a handicap park on an incline or a level regular parking space, I choose level and wheel a little further. No big deal.

Air-pump hinge doors into restrooms: I bulldoze through these difficult doors that I otherwise can’t push or pull open. After my first entrapment, I patiently waited for a savior to enter. I now ask assistance from someone behind the sign-in desk or waiting room to listen for my, “Help!” to come rescue me.

When I’m in an auditorium or conference center, I remind a friend or person sitting next to me, “If I’m not back from the restroom in fifteen minutes, PLEASE come release me.”

Commode seats: What’s with the open-ended, horseshoe-shaped commode seats! Good luck? They trap my skirt tails, and their sharp molded edges are painful!

I have a GPS, but it’s a “Girls only.” (“Comment” me for my solution.) For you guys, it appears to be an anatomically obliging feature.

Hotel rooms: Traveling is always a roll-of-the-dice. I’ve figured out the places where I travel regularly, but for overnight or extended stays, hotel accessibility is like interpretive dance: “You mean what?”

Most hotels are accessible to the letter of the law—national regulations. When I request a roll-in shower, the floor is slanted toward the drain causing me to, literally, spin-a-wheel in my turns, sort of like an out-of-control dance. Then, there are the hotel beds that Jack (in the beanstalk) couldn’t climb into. What are the designers thinking!

Since I always have a travel companion, we call housekeeping for someone to assist them in heaving me into bed at night. Thankfully, I can slide out in the morning.

For those metal-encased glass doors I can’t budge when shopping, I yell to the first eyeball contact: “Can you please help me?” Please and help are good words. I use them often, with gainful returns.

What GPS assist you in circumventing physical barriers?



  1. Thanks for a great post! At our major health campus, there are round bumps that protrude at the entrances 4′ in every direction. Wheeling over them is my only entrance and they send horrific pain through my body! Who thought those were a good idea?! Sheesh!! (I’d love your girls only answer from above). Thanks!!

    1. I think those ‘bumps’ are vehicle barriers. It sounds like they’re diffinitely barriers for your ‘vehicle.’ So sorry!
      I’ll email you my potty solution 🙂

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