From Miami to Orlando, I am now at the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses Conference
. Though the actual exhibiting doesn't begin until later today, I have already noticed some things over the past few days of my Florida trip worth mentioning.
First, let's talk about the airports and wheelchair accessibility. I noticed a lot of wheelchair users that I probably would have never taken a second look at before working with the Reeve Foundation. In Newark, Miami, and Orlando airports, I saw wheelchair users. Some manual, some power. I even noticed a man in a manual wheelchair having trouble putting his luggage on the scale in order to check it. It took about five minutes before an airport representative came to his assistance.
Next up, the marvelous Dolphins vs. Jets football game at Sun Life Stadium
in Miami on Sunday evening. Aside from it being an unforgettable game, even though the Phins lost, I certainly noticed different parts of the stadium that I didn't notice last time I was there, like how every few sections of the bottom and middle tiers had elevators.
During halftime of the game, I met up with a friend of mine in the stadium who is living with a spinal cord injury and using a wheelchair. What I noticed most though was something our "Top 10 Things That Annoy People who use Wheelchairs"
poll eluded to. While it wasn't one of the top 10 options
, it sure was annoying seeing the puzzling looks or "stares" coming from different people of all kinds as they walked by. I suppose it might have just been curiousity or something of the unfamiliar to these people, but in any case, there were more glances than I could count.
And finally, the one that shocked me most. When reserving my hotel, I had a requested a room with a king size bed as opposed to a room with two queens. (Hey, it's only one person, why not live the life for a few days right?!) Upon arrival and checking in, I was booked for a room with two queens. After checking, the concierge did inform me they had rooms with king size beds available, but they were handicapped. The conversation went something like this:
Me: Oh, no thank you, I wouldn't want to take away that room from someone who really needs it.
Her: It's okay we have plenty.
Me: I work for the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundtion, I would feel really guilty if I did that!
Her: It'd be okay. We actually have too many of these rooms in fact.
Again, given the line of work I am, I shouldn't be surprised that not everyone sees things the same as I do, but still I was. In the end, you'd be happy to know, I stuck with the room with two queen sized beds that is not handicapped accessible!
That's all for now, I'll be sure to write again as the conferencing and trip continues!
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