Monday, March 19, 2018

Good Grief...

Pot holes, plant debris, glass, punctures, tip overs and falls...All of these have happened in the years since getting my chair. Neighborhood dogs added to the mix, particularly when one of them decided to try nibbling a tire. According to the powers that now be at our local transit authority, none of these things should stop me utilizing our anemic standard bus system with trips on the shared van for wheelchair users and others only as a back up. Also, since I live where I do and not in a worse neighborhood, I was cut off from talking about barriers or problems because, well, those don't really happen here. Except they do and they have and there are safety concerns enough so that I no longer roll through the neighborhood as I once did, preferring the relative safety of my complex which still offers plenty of debris, occasional aromatic dog droppings and people aplenty who block my only access to the street with their cars.

Apart from the fact that I have previously been certified not once but twice for unrestricted use of paratransit service, and my disability is permanent, I now face the lovely prospect of an appeal before a committee and sending an unspecified person a letter should I choose to challenge this so-called decision. How I wish my friend Steve could tell the brainless about our adventures outdoors, and oh, the fact that I don't generally lie might be good, too...

Monday, March 12, 2018

Keeping On...

I have been tired and so stayed home from the scheduled appointment with the DPT on Friday. Lukas and I curled up in bed for most of the day but despite the relative calm and quiet of our abode, sleep was fitful. Since then, I have been flushing the kidneys with copious amounts of water in an attempt to avert another common-to-female problem. I had some bus-related hoops to get through by means of an interview process that is done for certification purposes every five years. That was my afternoon and late morning today.

If the bus people determine that I can use the shared van service for wheelchair users and other persons with disabilities as they have previously, then, I will receive an id card and pay a much smaller amount per trip than I do for a wheelchair taxi as a cash fare currently. There is also a reciprocal program whereby certified members of the shared van system can use a wheelchair taxi at a much reduced rate, so it is worth going through the process.

The downside is time. For an interview, form review signed by medical professional and questions which took fifteen minutes, the time involved from pick up, interview and return home was three hours. That is a large chunk of anyone's day and it does not include securing an appointment with a medical professional to sign the form certifying disability.

Once this is completed, as a rider, I will face time constraints and so-called pick up windows. There are other rules and for rides booked and not taken, there is another window for cancellation, and penalties for what are termed no shows. I also need to plan ahead for any trips, between 24 to 72 hours and reserve accordingly.

My friends and any professionals I deal with have only the barest understanding of this system and some still think that it is possible to get a wheelchair taxi on demand when that is simply not the case. Something about which to think for those of you who enjoy the luxury of mobility, whether by car or on foot.

As our population ages and disability, which is present in every age group, increases, we will have gone well past the point of time necessary to improve infrastructure, vote in public transport options or devote tax monies to bullet trains or improve basic bus service on the whole. Had I no choice but to use the public bus system in my area, the lack of routes, and constant cries about lack of money which are reflected in longer wait times and other factors, would prove problematic at best.

As a country, we have neglected our infrastructure and public transport at our peril, I believe. If we want to live in our neighborhoods as elders, unclog roads we can no longer expand, create bike and bus lanes, reduce noise and environmental pollution and make safety a priority, investing in public transit is a necessity.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

This is Worth Saving...

A gorgeous, breezy day, a nice lunch with some lovely women and a trip to the local fruit and vegetable stand with a good friend. Had the pollen not been so bad, I'd have suggested a park visit. The tree in this photo is at least 400 years old.

This is only the second day in two weeks that I've had almost no low back pain. I'm hoping for more days like this. The photo is courtesy of my friend.

Happy Weekend!