June 17, 2006


Thanks to the behind the scenes work of one Joe Chiappa, today's celebratory aquarium trip was a big success. We were able to bring together people whom I know for all different reasons and combine them into one compatible group, I would say. I always enjoy doing that.

Today marks the first time I have ever used a wheelchair during an event to mitigate the orthostatic intolerance problems I perpetually endure. The wheelchair worked well, though the aquarium on a busy day like today was not well suited to its use. Despite Joe's creative wheeling, I was not able to see a fair number of exhibits or was only able to see them in a limited manner. I did get out and walk a few times, and that helped out a lot in the areas that involved stairs. Imagine that!

Using a wheelchair to get around with friends is an entirely different prospect from walking as normal. It turns out you don't really get to talk to people much unless they happen to be pushing you, and the persective is, of course, quite unusual when you're new to it. I think everyone should try it once just to understand it a little better.

We ate at the Cheesecake Factory as I hoped we would, because Pat Lenehan got there for us early to put our party on the waiting list. Thanks Pat!. We were there quite a long time, which was tiring but great, because that let us all chat and make up for the lost "friends time" (at least for me) experienced at the aquarium. We even met up with an internet friend of mine with similar health problems who I had yet to meet, along with her brother. I did my best to stay on top of conversations at two ends of the booth. I hope I did ok with that.

Mei also got me another gratuitous but greatly appreciated get-well gift. This time it was the latest Bryn Terfel cd, which I am listening to right now. It starts beautifully. It probably ends beautifully too, but I only just now got it playing. Thanks yet again, Mei.

So thanks everybody for coming out. I hope you had as much fun as I did. This wheelchair angle might open some new doors for fun activities in the future as well, and I'll know a little more about how to maximize its usefulness. I think I'll be doing another one of these gatherings with my family soon, with the Smithsonian Natural History Museum as the target. After that, it'll be (at last) the first croquet event of the summer. You're all invited to attend the Gwen Chiappa Hamster, Twinkie Johnson Kitty and Cancer Awareness Invitational Power Croquet Tournament (the GCHTJKCAIPCT for short) in a few weeks. I'll nail down specifics once I know more about the family trip. Until then, start donating prize money and don't stop until the event.

Posted by Andy at June 17, 2006 11:14 PM to the General category & Health category

I use a wheelchair quite a bit when I have to do long outings like concerts and when I just went to Vegas. I agree that everyone should try it once. It's certainly an experience in humanity (the good and the bad), and you learn about just how "accessible" things really aren't. But it does open new doors and you are able to do lots of new things, right?

I'm glad to hear you had fun and Smithsonian sounds like loads of fun.

Posted by: Amanda at June 22, 2006 07:39 AM

The Smithsonian one seems to be in limbo at the moment. Hopefully it'll happen in mid-July.

Posted by: Andy at June 22, 2006 02:56 PM
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