05/14/2005: Wheelchair Stories...
Before I give away the punchline of the following article from the Kane County Chronicle by Kristen Turner, here’s a wheelchair story which takes me way-way back to my first year of college at SIU in downstate Illinois.
It was back in good ole’ 1974 when I attended a semester there (hated the place and the school and left for better educational opportunites elsewhere.)
The campus of SIU was very accessible and made to be suitable for the wheelchair students. In fact, my dorm room was one of the ones set up with special accessories just for the disabled – the “best” being the pull-down-seat in the shower. I often swore that “if” I ever built my own home, I was going to add a pull-down-shower seat. It was heavenly!!
Any way, one evening, returning around Midnight from a Saturday night out at the local watering-holes in the downtown SIU area, I (and my friends) reached the quadrangle center area between the campus buildings. In the dark, semi-lighting, I could see two people in wheelchairs ahead -- arms stretched out, hands clasped.
I remember thinking, “Oh, how nice…it’s a couple of sweethearts in wheelchairs…and they’re holding hands.”
As I got closer, I realized it was two guys (one was a severely disabled man who needed an electrically driven motorized wheel chair) and they weren’t holding hands in any loving manner, but more grappling as the one man (in his regular wheelchair) was attempting to pull the broken-powerless (and monstrously heavy) immovable electric wheelchair of the other man across the campus.
Both men, despite their disabilities were not, so it seemed, sooo disabled that it prevented them from hoisting a few toooo many beers…and they were Drunk as Skunks.
In their stupor, they finally saw us approaching and started to shout out. “Help, Help.”
Battling fumes of their inebriation, which got worse the closer we got, we came to their aid and offered our help. It would have been next to almost impossible for the one man, in his own wheelchair to have ever had the strength to pull that motorized-dead-as-a-door-nail wheelchair across the campus. And doubly impossible in the stultified, drunken state they were in to have ever gotten home that night.
So, lending a hand, we pushed them up the incline of sidewalks back to their rooms. And thankful they were that they didn’t have to sleep outside in the open air in the quadrangle all night, or be found out by the campus security police the next morning.
Oh...the memories of at least one Good Deed to help a few wheelchair bound folks. [LOL] So, here’s the one from the Chronicle:Drunken wheelchair riding?:
”A Hampshire man trying to drive his motorized wheelchair to a grocery store spent a night in jail this week when police charged him with drunken driving.
But Huntley police voided the ticket the next morning after realizing DUI laws do not apply to people in wheelchairs.
On Wednesday evening, some drivers on Route 47 called police about a man riding alongside the road, south of the tollway, falling out of his wheelchair.
"Some people said he had completely fallen out of his wheelchair and was falling into the highway," Huntley police Acting Chief John Ciombor said.
Newman told officers he was trying to get to the Jewel grocery store in Huntley to buy liquor. He had driven his wheelchair from his home on Reinking Road in Hampshire, police said.
"How he got that far, I don't know," Ciombor said.
The distance is about 7 miles.
Ciombor said Newman apparently was "highly intoxicated" as he drove his wheelchair along Route 47.
Huntley police still have Newman's wheelchair, and they say they'll keep it until Newman or someone he knows picks it up. Newman can walk, with difficulty, without the wheelchair, Ciombor said.…”
Karen on 05.14.05 @ 08:24 AM CST