Thursday, January 31, 2013

Heels and Wheels

"Bathroom and snack first" I think to myself. After that, I'll lay on the bed and get dressed so I have time out of my chair. It's going to be a long night for sitting...need some make up to complete my look...take my medicine...can't wait to see my friend on stage...those were my thoughts as I got ready to see my friend play at a bar in downtown Chicago. Let me explain. 

I have to have a snack because I may gag if I get too hungry. Nobody wants to do that in public. I've found that the Special K meal replacement bars give me the most freedom and I can stop thinking about the terrifying possibility of gagging at a bar. If you think it's easy for me to go to the restroom in public, think again. It's incredibly difficult because I need and want things a certain way and public restrooms fail to be Hannah friendly. I use the bathroom right before we leave because of this issue. I realize using the bathroom and having a snack are also what kindergartners do so it isn't my favorite part of a night out.

Mom and Dad's voices echo in my ear; "don't sit for too long". I do understand how important it is however, finding the time to get up is one of the most difficult tasks I face during a day. This is because I can't function in the standing position. I can't type, I can't use my DynaVox, you can see how unappealing this task is. However, loopholes such as getting dressed in bed can be life savers and give my body a break. There is one thing I can never do while laying down which is put on my heels for the night. My assistant will throw my gym shoes on and help me to my wheelchair. Ahhh...the struggle of heels! My assistant has the challenge of zippering my black leather boots over a seemingly small bump in my orthotic. They can see how much I want it so they roll up their sleeves and get them done. I shot them a look of true gratitude. Now, it's on to makeup and hair. We must do makeup first because I need my headrest so we can successfully apply the makeup to my face. After makeup, we can take the headrest off and do my hair. Let me be perfectly clear. Unless I ask for their opinion, I make every decision about my wardrobe, makeup, and hair. My assistants have referred to me as their opinionated Barbie. This is very true. 

We have to go! I usually type the address into my DynaVox so we can simply type it in my navigation system and go. I usually time things just right so we get there on time. My friend was singing at 8:00 and I would be there to cheer her on. I consulted with my good friend, Google on how heavy traffic would be. I was safe leaving at 6:45 for an 8:00 show. There was one thing I didn't plan on which was parking in the city. I will make a very long story short. Tiffany, my assistant ended up driving for 90 minutes to find parking. I felt horrendous about the entire thing. Meanwhile, I had to educate the bar staff on women with disabilities. We both had difficult jobs. Even though I physically had my wallet, I didn't really have it. I was not going to trust the staff with my wallet. That was just stupid. My friend came over to me overflowing with excitement and was just a bundle of energy. We took a picture then she noticed I was not with anybody. I assured her I was fine which I was; I just needed to get in. What do I do? I had everything to get in just nobody to get it out of my purse for me. I don't know why but a waiter let me in to the stage area. It was much too loud so I silently promised the man to pay later. 

I did get to see the wonderfully talented Gina Venier light up the stage. Gina rocked out and I thought about my mom and dad at this age. They went to see my Uncle Tim play at bars like these all the time when they were my age. This man isn't actually related to us but he is family. I thought about how lucky I was to do the things that my parents did at my age despite having a disability. Poor Tiffany finally came after Gina's whole set was over. I just felt terrible. Like always, she was a good sport. We proceeded to pay and have our IDs checked. The staff gave me a grateful look as if to say thanks for not taking advantage of us or your situation. I would never. 

I bought Tiffany a Diet Coke and we went back in to hear more local singers. I held my shoulders high showcasing a sequin top, skinny black jeans, and black leather boots. I got a few hellos from cute guys. The night was a complete success and I could tell because my feet were killing me by the end of the night...always a tall tale sign of a fun night! 

It's a good effort on my part to go out but it's always worth it. If you ever think you shouldn't invite someone with a disability out because it's extra effort for them, don't forget that you always want to be invited. Nobody wants to feel unwanted. My girlfriends have stepped up. Now, it's time for a guy to step up and embrace a woman with heels and wheels! 


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