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Is being pushed in a wheelchair humiliating? BBC: Disabled man drags himself on floor through airport

Discussion in 'Health News and Research unrelated to ME/CFS' started by JemPD, Nov 2, 2018.

  1. JemPD

    JemPD Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-45765767

    After the airport forgot to load his self propel wheelchair, this paraplegic man chose to drag himself along the floor through the airport rather than be pushed in a 'push only' wheelchair.
    His reasons are that it would be humiliating & degrading to have his independence taken away by not propelling himself.

    While i recognise that airport services for disabled passengers is abysmal... what does it say about his view of those of us who aren't able to self propel?

    I cant possibly self propel & i cant have an electric chair either because i get so confused & disoriented that it wouldn't be safe. I had to work hard to overcome the erroneous but society sanctioned shame of losing my independence & needing help. And i find it somewhat insulting that someone who i'd have thought might have a more enlightened view thinks that the indignity of being pushed would be so shameful as to humiliate them, demean them in some way.

    Thanks very much but I am not demeaned by needing that help, why should it be a shameful thing to need it?

    I am with the guy in his anger, and in his protest at poor service, but he needs to get over his pride. Some of us have to be pushed, some of us have lost our independence & we are not made less by it. I refuse to be humiliated by it.

    Maybe i'm being over sensitive but i dunno something about this just smacked of something unpleasant. What do others think?
     
  2. hixxy

    hixxy Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Thinks being pushed in a wheelchair is humiliating but dragging himself along the ground is not? :laugh: This is so stupid it's hard for me to feel sympathetic.
     
    ladycatlover, obeat, Cheshire and 4 others like this.
  3. Luther Blissett

    Luther Blissett Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I think the important distinction he is making, is that he is capable of self propelling, and that it is his means of getting around. The indignity of him being pushed comes from the fact that he doesn't need to be, yet the choice was taken away from him.

    I think the point comes from the fact that part of dignity is not having your choices taken away from you arbitrarily. I don't think he would say that you are demeaned by being pushed. I don't think you are demeaned by how you are moved in your wheelchair, as long as you don't feel demeaned. :hug:

    How do you feel about people pushing your chair (and you) without your consent? I hear of that happening quite a lot, especially to move people 'out of the way'.

    In his case, I suspect that self propelling is important to him and how he views himself.
     
  4. arewenearlythereyet

    arewenearlythereyet Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I think it’s quite common for disabled people to have their own prejudices like anyone else. I read the article and I can sort of see his position, but think he needs to calm down and be a bit more adaptable. He’s sporty so with that comes a certain level of self centredness and I guess he’s using drive to stay motivated to show the world what he can do and he’s not going to let his disability beat him etc (yawn). Sometimes driven people can be a right royal pain in the arse to be around. He probably doesn’t realise he’s being a pain or that he is limiting his outlook to a fairly shallow stereotype. Perhaps he needs to meet a wider variety of people?
     
  5. Luther Blissett

    Luther Blissett Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Another point, what the hell did they expect him to do after leaving the airport?

    "Sorry we left your only means of mobility 100's of miles away, but we offered you an uncomfortable chair with shopping trolley wheels to get you outside" is a pretty shite response.

    If they tied people's legs together, then carried them outside and left them on the pavement it would not be considered ok.
     
  6. JemPD

    JemPD Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    This is a good point.

    But nobody took hold of him & pushed him into the chair, he was given the option. Similar to somebody saying to me "I'm sorry but i need to get past would it be ok if i pushed you to one side a bit."

    Exactly. I obviously don't know this person, but i think this reflects a societal attitude that independence = good, & dependence = bad.

    And if it's humiliating to take the choice of being pushed instead of dragging yourself along a filthy floor, likely scratching your skin & tearing your clothes in the process, simply because you could self propel if you had the right equipment, it still seems to me like you would feel ashamed if you needed to be pushed.
    And i understand that shame, i used to feel it. And it's wrong, it's wrong that society makes us feel like that. And somehow stories like this just indirectly seem to feed into the narrative of 'worthy/deserving' 'paralympian-type' disabled people who overcome & achieve etc (-Which is admirable but lets face it most of them are not in any way ill), as opposed to those of us who are seen as undeserving/negative/dont make the effort to overcome it, etc. It's in every (now very mild or non) CFS sufferer overcomes illness to run marathon (or whatever), story in the media.

    Of course it was his choice to make & fair enough if he'd rather drag than be pushed, but it's his reasoning i find sad & a little insulting.
     
  7. JemPD

    JemPD Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Agreed!
     
    MEMarge and Luther Blissett like this.
  8. JemPD

    JemPD Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    this :)
     
    ladycatlover likes this.
  9. JemPD

    JemPD Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    No doubt the **** who yelled at me from the other side of the street a while back to "get out of that chair you lazy bitch" will find this disabled chap's dragging choice laudable :rolleyes: :bored:
     
  10. Luther Blissett

    Luther Blissett Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I'm sorry you experienced that. :hug:

    All I've seen is abuse for him in comments on media sites.

    The reporting is terrible. I think the fact that they offered to push him to the exit of the airport was just the cherry on the cake for him. They had no temporary replacements suitable for him after he left the airport, which meant however he got to his taxi, meant he had no mobility afterwards.

    It's not unknown for airports to lose luggage, and as a proportion of this involves mobility aids, I don't see how they should get away from the foreseeable consequences of their own incompetence. In fact, I would think that mobility/medical aids, should be treated differently to other luggage in care and priority. If you lose my clothes, fine, we
    sort out a quick replacement if needs be, but if you lose the equivalent of my legs and then shrug it off, well, I'm going to be very angry.
     
  11. JemPD

    JemPD Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Abuse for the guy is not ok :emoji_angry:

    I hope nothing i've said could be construed as such. For me it was as much a discussion about whether society/people in general think it's humiliating to not be independent, as it was about his specific actions.

    I agree it's disgraceful that they were so cavalier about the whole thing, it's appalling the lack of general awareness, let alone appropriate service among airport staff. It is indeed they who should feel ashamed.

    Completely agree that mobility/medical aids should be a much higher priority than regular luggage, i'm staggered that they are not already! - imagine if that happened after an outwardbound flight to a developing nation where a replacement might be impossible to come by!:emoji_astonished:
     
  12. Luther Blissett

    Luther Blissett Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I don't think anything you said would rank highly on the annoyance scale of what he usually reads. ;)

    The ideas society has about independence are wrong a lot of the time, imo. Unless we're a self sufficient hermit we're dependant on a lot of things we don't really think about. A lot of time we are co-dependent on family, friends, and strangers. It's how societies function after all.
     
  13. NelliePledge

    NelliePledge Moderator Staff Member

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    I’ve only ever used a wheelchair twice (being pushed by airport assistance). I felt it was liberating and a bit humiliating all at the same time. I was nearly left behind and only boarded right at the last minute because of a mistake and that was very stressful I imagine this guy was totally stressed out by this experience. I think what he’s done by getting his story to most read on the BBC website has done loads to highlight the need for all airport to provide self propelling chairs. Its saying different disabled people have different needs that should be met. We don’t actually know what he will have said to the reporters and no doubt he was pretty angry when he was and probably didn’t think how his words could be interpreted . There are plenty situations where the actions of non disabled people which they perceive as innocuous or benevolent are not appropriate such as trying to giude blind or visually impaired people without having been asked. This is another one.

    I think the behaviour of non disabled people like the man who asked me to move at the airport when the disabled assistance people had parked the 3 wheelchairs across a corridor separated by one of those stretchy cordons. The brakes were on I would have had to stand up take the brakes off and move the chair myself. I just said to him you can duck under the barrier and he muttered about Me being rude. Can’t believe he even thought of asking me to move. So 50% score on use of wheelchair and someone being rude to me. I dread to imagine what folks who use wheelchairs every day go through.
     

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