When I go to ultrasound, I have to prepare to lose three hours of my day. The actual appointment is about 20 minutes, but when you involve WheelTrans, the parallel accessible transit system in Toronto, you need extra flexibility. Lately, they seem to have engaged in some sort of internal competition about just how much they can mess with my day. Last week, I got to my appointment an hour before I had to be there, but yesterday? Let me tell you about yesterday.
I called the morning before, requested for a ride to arrive about 5 min. before my 11:30am appointment. I get a ride with a pickup between 9:50 and 10:20 -several years ago, they created the concept of a pickup window of half an hour, which allows them to accommodate more riders, so in theory, it's good. In practice, it's kind of aggravating. My estimated time of arrival yesterday was 10:20am. An hour before I'd asked I have to be there. The way it actually worked out yesterday morning was that they picked me up at 9:50 and I arrived at 10. It's a 5 min. ride and I take it because walking both ways would put more strain on my shoulder…
By the way? When I talk about 'walking,' I use a metaphorical sense of the term. I perambulator by pushing the joystick on my power chair and don't actually walk, but substituting 'roll' is just too agonizing. Just wanted to clarify that. I once got a comment from someone who was supposedly a WheelTrans driver asking why, since I could walk, I didn't get off the service so someone who really needed it could get a ride. Sigh. Oh ye of little imaginations…
So there I am, sitting in the waiting room a full hour and half before my appointment and although I had a book, I was annoyed, so instead I started thinking about Disability Time. You don't find it mentioned much in Google in the way it’s used in the disability world, but maybe some day, it’ll make its way into search engines. Disability Time refers to the way in which most things take much longer when you have a disability. There is personal Disability Time, as in it probably takes me double the time to make a cup of hot water in the microwave that it would you and then there is the Disability Time that's imposed by others and there are a couple of those. There is the Collateral Damage version, an accidental consequence such as the three hours out of my day if I have to get a return ride from WheelTrans to a clinic that’s a 5 minute drive away (which given the season is probably imminent). And then there's the Bureaucratic Disability Time in which a huge lag time is built into a bureaucratic process. For instance, if you are on ODSP - the social assistance for people with disabilities in the province of Ontario - and your wheelchair needs repair, you need to get a quote to give to your worker, who will then get the quote approved and by the time you get your repair, it's a week later. Seriously. What happens to your life in the meantime? Well, nothing really. But since you're on ODSP it's not like you actually have a life, right?
Being a person with a disability is a full-time job. Many of the requirements of this job are related to the ability to sit around and wait without losing your sanity.
Did I mention patience isn't my strong suit?