Yesterday was my first day out of the house for five days. I’m the kind of person who doesn’t like to be indoors for long periods of time. I love my home, but I also love being out, in the world. But I’d been laid very low by a cold and cough that left me bent over and weak. I started medications last Friday and slowly began to get better. I tried going out on Boxing Day but couldn’t. But yesterday I was determined.

The cold wasn’t my only reason, though. The snow has seriously decreased my mobility and independence and increased my need for help. I don’t like either of those things, but I’m going to have to learn to cope. I don’t want to, but I have to. It’s not a step back, I tell myself, it’s just a different circumstance leading to different and new solutions.

All that to say, I went out.

We had a few chores to do, things to pick up, so we plotted a map and set out. Wherever I could manage to push myself I did, and wherever I couldn’t I didn’t. It was hard not to let my spirit be dampened by this, but that’s how it is.

We were just going into a store when a woman with a disability, a wheelchair user like myself, was being let off at the door by the local disability transit bus. She followed us in and went through after me while Joe held the door. She thanked him for making her access easier. I turned my chair to wait for Joe and in doing so greeted her as well. “Winter’s tough on chairs isn’t it?” She said that it was. I mentioned my difficulty in needing more help.

She said, “Do you feel guilty using the disabled door buttons?” I told her I didn’t. She said, “they are help too. If they aren’t a big deal why would someone holding the door open for me or giving me a push when I need it be any different?” Then she was off to work.

Why?

I think the disabled button helps me without diminishing me. It’s just there for a purpose.

But why do I feel diminished in some way?

I don’t know, do you?