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Out & About In My Wheelchair

My favorite place at home

My favorite place at home is the kitchen. It gave me hope when I was feeling desperate after losing the ability to walk. After more than one year of hospitalization, I came home and found out I could not enter the kitchen. It was too narrow for my wheelchair. It was the first place in the house I asked a carpenter to renovate.

I remember clearly of the evening when I cooked dinner for my family for the first time after coming back from the hospital. At that time, I always needed someone to help me. I had to ask someone for help if I wanted to go out. I was being supported in rehabilitation sessions. In the kitchen, however, I was able to cook for others.

It became my motivation to venture out to buy groceries, in my wheelchair to supermarkets that were a little far. Every year, I polish the kitchen till it shines, thanking it for enabling me to regain hope.

A little bit of getting used to

While I enjoy trying something new in my wheelchair, there are times when I get discouraged. I have asked for some help and been refused at some places I visited for the first time. Even now, I find myself not being able to sleep with worries the night before I go somewhere for the first time.

In the past two years, I have been travelling on bullet trains almost every week. If I explain to the station staff what I’m worried about or what support I need, they do their best to accommodate me. After many months of such communication, there is no wall between us. It just takes a little bit of getting used to.

The other day, when I was purchasing a cup of coffee inside the station, one of the station staff came smiling, “I knew I would find you here.” He made me feel so relieved. When “something new” becomes “the usual”, it becomes the source of comfort and confidence.

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