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Wheelchair Friendly?

August 22, 2007

Ok, I have to vent. This will be a common occurrence by the way, so you might want to get used to it.

I have been trying for weeks to book a vacation for Kelly and me. My work is such that our busiest season is February to October. Lately it doesn’t ever really slow down. But I do have 3 weeks vacation to use up, and I decided that I want, no I NEED, to take a week’s vacation during the summer months. The best I can do is mid september, but it should still be warm enough to not wear a parka.  (For you southerners, that’s a joke.)

One of the things Kelly had mentioned to me when I had brought up my idea of maybe going up north to cottage country was that she has never heard the call of a loon. Not in person. So I have made a point of selecting a beautiful area up north where I know there are loons. I even called the local nature centre to make sure that loons will still be up there and still calling in mid september. Then, I thought, came the easy part. Book a room at a resort. Can’t be that hard right? <sigh>

These are the times when being in a wheelchair gets incredibly frustrating. So many beutiful resorts up there, hundreds of them, and yet almost all of them have not even ONE accessible room. What’s even more frustrating is the stunning lack of knowledge encountered when asking questions like “is there a roll-in shower?” or “Are the grounds accessible”  Last weekend, one resort I called told me “yes sir, we have lake view suite, king bed, roll-in shower, and a balcony, available for your preferred time, but it’s our only acessible room.”  I sat on it, thought about it, and after not finding anywhere else anywhere near as affordable, I decided to book it. This time the young girl that answered couldn’t deal with me. I had too many hard questions. She transferred me to her manager who, after a few moments told me, “I’m not sure who told you that, but sorry, it’s a forest view, no balcony, two queen beds and a regular tub.”  Arrrghh!!!  Thank you, bye!

On it went like that. I was told at one point that every resort is also booked up because apparently September is “Bus Season”. Buses and buses of German and Japanese tourists come to Canada to see the fall colours. Fall colours? It’s September!! I’ve been up there in September. Seems to me these tourists have been misinformed.  I finally gave up and called a brand new Holiday Inn right in town. We would not hear loons unless we went closer to a lake at dusk or dawn. But at least it would be accessible. The woman answered and I asked her if this was the brand new Holiday Inn. “Yes!!” her perky little voice squealed back, “we just opened this spring”.  I got frustrated already and sensed I was doomed. How many rooms in your hotel, I asked. “We have 87 rooms,” she said with glee. And how many are wheelchair accessible??  “Oh, umm…..just one.”  I knew the answer, so I thought I would volunteer it for her. “Let me guess, it’s on the second floor, overlooking the parking lot, and it’s between the elevator and the ice machine right?!?”  Long hesitant pause.  “Yeah, pretty much,” she muttered, much less perky.  Thank you, bye.

My favorite response of the day was from a young guy that sounded like I was pulling his shorts over his head when I started to ask him accessibilty questions. “Do you have wheechair accessible rooms?”  “ummm….uughhhh…..ummmm….well, we have a few rooms that are wheelchair friendly.” The way he said it was almost like a question. I had had enough by then. “What the hell does that mean??” I grunted. “Well, there’s only a couple of steps, but once you get in the room, you should be ok, I think….”  I wished at this point that I COULD pull his shorts over his head. Sure I thought to myself, I’m fine once I get up the steps. Oh, unless I want to pee, shower, or, oh I don’t know, get out again maybe??  Thank you, bye.

Finally I called a huge resort up there. I had called them twice before, and they had been very helpful. They had accessible rooms, but they are so booked up that they could only fit me in 2 nights here or 3 nights there. I wanted 4 nights. I decided to call and plead my case in my best phone voice. (ask Kelly). I told them what I had been up against and could they please please please fiddle with the computer until it kicked out 4 nights together for us. Bingo, my charm worked. We are now booked into a beautiful room at a wonderful resort in the area I wanted at the time that I wanted. It’s a 9 hour drive, but I can do that standing on my head. I can’t wait. I so need this, and I think Kelly does too.  I am already daydreaming about sitting on the dock next to Kelly at dusk, listening to the loons.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. August 22, 2007 11:12 pm

    I’m glad you found something that will work. Kelly is going to love the loons. Here is a webpage I found that might be helpful for next time.

  2. Lynn permalink
    August 23, 2007 1:58 am

    I was so darned frustrated with you while reading this post. I am glad the story has a happy accessiable ending! Thank goodness. Great that the two of you will be getting away and to a beautiful spot, with loons yet! Happy for you! Have fun!

  3. August 23, 2007 10:43 am

    Loons! 🙂

  4. Lynn permalink
    August 23, 2007 3:28 pm

    I have a friend, Kathy, who I’ve know for thirty years. I met her right after her leg was amputated due to bone cancer. She has done many things in her life, one is speaking to groups on accessablity for wheelchair users. She told me a story once of arriving at the school where she was to speak on a wet rainy dark night. She got herself out of her car, got into her chair and the chair on the sidewalk.
    The way to the entry to the school was uphill and there was no other entrance. Nor could she park any closer to it.
    She tried and tried to find a more accessiable entry to the school but the doors were locked or there were stairs she could not decend or climb. She broke into tears. Finally a person came to her rescue and offered to help her up the hill and to a door where she could enter. Needless to say she had a lot to tell this particular group about wheel chair accessiability!

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