For Once

I have spent a lot of time and energy lately fighting two particular access fails. Both are pretty big things, completely ridiculous, impossible to ignore and in my opinion would be easy to solve if the people involved stepped back from their default “we can’t” reaction.

One, the problem with train access I blogged about last week, isn’t resolved to my satisfaction. But I know I’ve been heard and that they’ve made a plan to accommodate me.

The second problem needs a lot more time and energy to explain in full than I have. I do plan to blog about it but I don’t want to do so here as its not important for what I want to say.

I have been pushing this organisation (a small part of the NHS) for weeks if not months that their view that they can’t do something is ridiculous. I also pointed out that their failure to come up with any form of solution or alternative is discrimination.

This week I was talking to them about it again. They are finally hearing me it seems. And they’re looking into what they can do. From what has been said I think it’s not something they are taking as seriously as I’d like. However the staff member I spoke with said

“we’re getting more and more wheelchair users sent to us. You’ve made us think and made a difference for all the ones who come after you.”

Don’t get me wrong. I’m really pleased they now accept they need to sort something out and are working on it. Thats huge. I really don’t have the words to explain just how huge. At the same time however I know this won’t be sorted in time for me to benefit. Which really sucks.

I’ve been a guinea pig, a trailblazer, the first disabled person we’ve had… etc etc my whole life. More than once my family or I have fought for something I needed only to have it materialise too late for me (the lift at my school being one example, there were two of us in chairs in my year and the year before we started our families started pushing for a lift in one particular buildings. We were both their five years and the lift was installed a week after my final GCSE. I did my a levels elsewhere). Being a fighter is hard work. I do it because it’s in my blood and I have to. If I didn’t fight I wouldn’t do anything.

But for once in my life I’d like to be another sort of first person. I’d like to be the first of the people to come along after someone else has fought and things have been resolved. I want to be the “next” crip rather than the “militant campaigner” crip.

Right now it seems like that might be too much to hope for.

2 thoughts on “For Once”

  1. I really sympathise with you here, Emma. Like you, if I did fight, I’d do nothing. But it is tiring, physically, mentally and emotionally.
    Also like you, I’ve always been a guinea pig, the first, the one to start X Y Z, and I really understand that feeling of what to be the second or third. Yes, some things I have either chosen or consented to, but others have been forced upon me. Botched surgery, for instance. After me, the surgeon was changed and, thankfully, my friends awaiting the same surgery were spared what I experienced. I wouldn’t wish what I went through on anyone, but at times I wish I’d be the one asking how to avoid something, or the one to be told “after X happened, it all changed”, rather than being the one X happened to. But often saying this makes one sound like a martyr, which isn’t my mindset at all.

    Thank you for pushing for change but also airing the desires the forerunners (or wheelers!) in the world have xxx

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