Remember the days before cell phones? I had to fumble to get quarter in a public phone whenever I needed to call home (with paralyzed hands? not easy). Then 1998 came, and suddenly, everybody had a cell phone. I didn’t realize it at that time, but this was one of the most important technologies to not only happen to me, but to all people with disabilities.
I thought my first cell phone, a Sprint PCS from a Best Buy, was pretty great. I felt like a secret agent whenever I’d pull it out (even if my hands couldn’t grip it that well). And then something crazy thing to me that made me respect my cell a whole lot more – I almost fell out of my wheelchair.
Ok, here’s what happened: I was in my van, backing away from the steering wheel (I drive from my chair), it was 95° out and sunny, and my windows had already closed, when my body decided to suddenly go into a full on spasm, almost throwing me out of my chair (leaving my butt on the very edge of my seat). I was stuck.
I couldn’t yell for help. Windows were shut, no one could hear me. The only thing I could do – praise the Lord – was reach over into my right-side pocket on my chair for my cell phone. It was in that moment I realized my cell phone was much more than just a cool new gadget that just made me happy; it was my amazing new lifeline.
Every quadriplegic living on her own needs a really awesome safety net. To even the most able-bodied person, “Sh#t happens.” Well, when your paralyzed crazy things tend to happen more often. Just a reality of the situation. Which means, when you find yourself disabled today, a cell phone is given to you almost as quickly as a wheelchair. Think of how many lives have been saved because of cell phones? Maybe yours too.
And cell phones provide a much more important service than just saving your hide in dangerous scenarios. They can bring an entire new level of independence to your life. Wheelmap.org, a phone app for people with disabilities in Germany (founded by a very cool guy with OI), shows just what I mean. It tells you where to find accessible and inaccessible restaurants, bars, hotels and other public places. When you live in a country where you’re not guaranteed every place will be accessible, having this app can transform the way you live.
There are a lot of things I can’t foresee in my future, but I can say without hesitation but I will never be without a cell phone. Ever. From my wheelchair breaking down in the worst part of the city to running out of juice at the mall, my cell phone comes to my rescue better than any Fairy Godmother. Thank Goodness for this invention.
How has your cell saved your life? Is there an app you can’t live without?