Happy New Year, Camp ASCCA! I hope your 2021 is off to a wonderful start.
For me, this year is starting out a little strange and chaotic; about a month and a half ago, I had to have a very unexpected surgery. A metal plate attached to my femur from an old surgery came out of place. This was really painful and made it difficult to move, so it had to be taken out. I haven’t had surgery since I was four years old, so you could say I was a little out of practice. I was so afraid that something would go wrong, and I was dreading the recovery ahead. However, there was one surprising thing which gave me strength during my hospital stay.
I’m sure you’ve heard someone say, “it was like seeing a unicorn,” before. Well, that’s how I feel when I see other wheelchair users out and about, or even on television. Even with all the progress that’s been made for accessibility, barriers still make it so it’s harder for wheelchair users and other people with disabilities to go places. We’re also featured less in shows, movies, and games than non disabled people. So, when I got to Children’s Hospital in Birmingham, the sight of other people like me helped ease my anxiety. It reminded me that I wasn’t alone, and seeing as most of the people visiting Children’s are younger than me, it made me want to be stronger for them. I mean, having surgery or seeing the doctor is already nerve wracking without the nearly-grown woman having a panic in the waiting room. It’s normal to be afraid sometimes, but taking care of yourself isn’t something I wanted those kids to fear. My life with a disability isn’t scary, it’s full of adventure — like a good book.
While hospitals are normally associated with negative experiences, I find any place where people with disabilities come together makes me feel strong. Something about seeing other people who go through what you do is very encouraging, and I hope to be able to feel that in more places outside medical settings in the future. Places like Camp ASCCA , where we can all come together, should be everywhere. Access barriers don’t just keep us out of the building, they keep us apart from each other. I hope when this pandemic is behind us, we can come together at camp and find that comfort in each other once again.