wheelchair confidential

Nature’s Conference Call

On a business trip to New York City, a coworker literally grabbed my wheelchair and said we were heading out to lunch. In about two city blocks, we ended up at an Italian restaurant with a couple of steps out front. The wait staff brought out a ramp and I rolled in. So far, no issues, except I never got the chance to use the bathroom before leaving work.

Sure enough, halfway through lunch nature calls, and there is no way I’m making it back to the office. I checked the restrooms and they were not accessible. I couldn’t fit through the men’s room door at all, but I could fit into the ladies’. One of the wait staff stood outside to make sure I wasn’t interrupted, but I still couldn’t reach the bowls inside any of the stalls. Luckily, I have a urinal bag in my backpack, just in case of an emergency like this. The next problem was where to empty it, since I couldn’t reach any of the toilets.

With the attendant knocking on the door to let me know my time was up, my focus shifted to the sink. As George Costanza famously said after it was discovered that he regularly pees in the shower, “It’s all pipes, what’s the difference?!”

wheelchair confidentialThis Wheelie Happened

My very first meal out after leaving rehab was lunch with my mom in a crowded restaurant. We were both pretty nervous initially, but things seemed to be going well as the food arrived. I began rocking my casters up and back, practicing the little wheelies I had only started to master that week.

Mindlessly, I got a little overzealous, thinking my trusty tip bars would have my back. They didn’t. Not only did I flip myself completely over, but I managed to upend the table with the force of my legs in the process. As I hit my head on the floor, food and dishes rained down around me.

The bustling restaurant went dead silent. Everyone turned our way. From the tile floor, I could see my mom’s face, completely white, and obviously worried that I’d bought myself a one-way ticket back to rehab. Behind her, a piece of blackened catfish slowly slid down the wall. I started laughing.

Aside from a slight bump on my head, I was fine. Our waiter looked more relieved than either of us, clearly glad he wouldn’t have to dispose of a body in addition to clearing the table. In fact, in his hurry to get us out the door and move on, he forgot to bring us the bill, and we never paid. Most of the food did end up on the floor and walls, but still — a free lunch ain’t all bad.
—Belly Up