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nceca in baltimore - in a wheelchair

updated thu 1 apr 04


Cindi Anderson on wed 31 mar 04

3 NCECA's ago in Kansas City I was in a wheelchair. I sprained an ankle the
first night, and the other had been recently sprained so it was quickly
damaged from hopping on it since I couldn't walk on the bad one. So for the
first time in my life I was in a wheelchair. I did NCECA, although only a
day. Fortunately I had my husband to push me around, but I actually could
do more on my own than I expected. Move from booth to booth for example.
The convention center had wheelchair devices to move me between floors. The
hotel provided the wheelchair (brought it out to the car for me when my
husband drove up).

It was quite an interesting experience to be honest. A lot more people
notice you, but they all are very nice. When I was waiting for something,
people asked if I needed to be pushed somewhere. When I was near doors,
people always asked if I needed doors opened. I think all public places
like convention centers and hotels are required to have access, so it was
all very doable. But I will say that it was very exhausting. It is hard
work not being able to just pop up and run over and do something.

The flight home was a different story. They bumped me off my flight and I
had to spend the night half way home in a hotel in Chicago, all by myself in
the wheelchair. (They wouldn't let my husband take the same flight, or let
us switch so I could take the direct flight in his place.) American
Airlines promised they would have people in Chicago to help me out, but they
didn't and I was constantly stranded with no way to get anywhere. That was
one of the most frustrating nights of my life and if I hadn't spent most of
it crying I don't think anybody would have taken pitty on my and gotten me
where I needed to go.

Maybe the moral of this story is that it handicapped access is hit or miss.
I think if NCECA were in a hotel I would feel confident it would be ok.
Probably a stand alone convention center would be just as set up for it, but
I would call ahead and make sure.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Susan Giddings"
> Well, I have the same concerns as Marcey. I don't do very well walking,
> I am thinking I may have a motorized scooter to get through the event.
> Surely, I am not the only one with these concerns? Isn't someone else in
> group in a wheel chair?