Beached Wheel

wheelchair confidentialI never thought I’d camp again after my injury. Eventually though, I hired my first male caregiver, and his confident can-do attitude and size and strength meant I could try new things — like a cliffside campout under the stars.

After setting up camp, we headed down a road that appeared to dump out onto the beach. Finally, I could get my wheels in the sand. The steep descent made it clear that the path was for emergency lifeguard access — not walking, and definitely not rolling. My caregiver maintained a death grip on my push handles, and together we picked up speed as we closed in on the beach.

Naïvely thinking my chair would roll beyond the pavement’s end, we hit the deep, dry sand fast and hard. Instantly, my front casters and wheels sunk in and stuck. My body, the top half of the chair, and my 6-foot-6-inch companion catapulted forward in a cartoon-worthy tumble that left me headfirst and nose-deep in the sand.

Terrified, he rushed to check on me. Luckily, I was fine beyond the sand in my teeth (and everywhere else). I couldn’t stop laughing at the ridiculousness of the situation. Instead of scrambling to find someone to help get me in my chair, I took the twist of fate as an opportunity to enjoy the warm sand around me and listen to the waves flat on my back, like I used to.
—Summer Saltz

Ignorance is Blisters

For just under four years, I dated a man who was very physically active. He was a keen runner, going to the gym regularly to train for half and full marathons. I was a good sport, and we tried to climb a mountain together once (it was realistically more of a large hill). The only things I gained from the experience were a muddy wheelchair, a severe lack of circulation due to the bitter cold and cow shit on my knees.

Realizing that these outdoor training exercises weren’t going to be a couple’s sport for the two of us, he decided to order a treadmill to use in our home in an attempt to get even fitter and beat his personal bests in races. Unfortunately, on the day of delivery, I was the only one around. A cheerful young man knocked on the door with the enormous machine in front of him. It took a good 20 minutes to convince him that the exercise equipment was at the right house. Ironically, I’ve never seen anyone run back to their van quite as quickly as he did that day.  He must have had one at home too.
—Not Fast, but Furious


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