Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Don't Text and Roll!

Today, we started out class by signing a wheelchair contract. It required us to thoroughly review the manual and rules that it had, making sure that we will take this assignment seriously. After reading through the terms and conditions together as a class, we continued to read Murphy's articles that we received from yesterday. Then, we had a quick lecture on the Rites of Passage, which essentially has 3 major phases of isolation, a ritual re-emergence, and reincorporation into society. We took a look at how this is applied to 'becoming disabled' by losing their former identity, like the moment that they have a disability, they are entered into society with a new identity that causes judgement. This led into the continuation of our stigma lecture, which emphasized on how this stigma spreads and brings  the assumption that those with one disability has a whole slew of other disabilities. 

Ms. Talley told also told us that there would be a guest speaker tomorrow morning, Sal Gonzalez. Mr. Gonzalez (from Nashville, Tennessee) works with the program Wounded Warriors and served until an accident in 2004 struck him. An explosion took his left leg, but he is currently still increasing his recovery through the works of music. Our professor actually played a video of him auditioning on America's Got Talent, and he got all 4 approvals from the judges! He indeed has talent with his vocals and guitar playing. 

Along with the topic of disabilities, Ms. Talley played a film on a man named Mark O'Brien, who uses an iron lung everyday. Mr. O'Brien had polio when he was a child, and ever since he had it, he was placed in an iron lung and almost a nursing home. His parents decided to take him home from the hospital, and if it were not for them, he would not have been able to go to UC Berkeley and graduate from there. He has always had a passion for writing, so when post-polio symptoms came to him, he was discouraged to continue on his education. However, he still wrote books of his own, one of his most read one, "Breathing Lessons". We did not get to finish the film since lunch came, but we will watch it another time. 

Lunch was our last time ever eating in the commons while walking before being placed in a wheelchair for 24 hours. When we got back from lunch, half of the class chose their chairs and sat in them. We spent around half an hour practicing around the floor with our spotters, getting used to how the wheels spun and keeping our balance. While practicing, there was a couple that actually stopped and stared at all of us (of course we looked for their reaction as a part of our social experiment). During the last few hours of class, our teacher put on a movie called MurderBall. MurderBall was the original name of the sport, wheelchair rugby. It was about various players and people who have gotten into wheelchairs as a result of their disability, how they got disabled, and how they live their lives. 

She also sent some of us on "missions" where we have to complete a task for her that requires us to use our wheelchairs for a longer period of time outside. Our class decided to make this challenge as a competition, meaning that the pair that comes back with the least amount of time will "win" (even though there might not be any prize). So far, my partner and I have made it back the quickest (with only 53 minutes). We also made it in time when study hall was ending.

Getting around the campus was basically what I had already expected, however, the mission was a lot more work than I thought that it would be. I was wearing a hoodie but just after 5-10 minutes rolling around outside, I was instantly sweating. Our mission was to go to the library (we had trouble finding it) and retrieve a certain book, and text a picture of it to Ms. Talley. At Arete, the proctor had already known that the wheelchair task was coming, so she arranged for me to sit where there was a big and open space. 

Dinner was probably the worst part of the day with the wheelchair. I had trouble with retrieving my tray and keeping the food on it balanced. Also, the lines at the commons center for getting the food were really narrow to get through, but a chef saw Hummd and I struggling so he moved the dividers a bit farther apart. Finding seats were difficult too because almost all tables were full so I was set aside for a moment. After dinner, we all had to go back to Hank Ingram, so going uphill on that ramp was absolutely terrible (probably meaning that I am really out of shape). Getting to my room was not so bad since it is right across the elevator and the floors are all flat, making it easier for me to move around. We ended the night with a proctor meeting that started at 9 PM, reviewing our schedule for this week. 
The view for strolling around dinner time.
The first thing that I see right when
I entered my room. (Yes, it is a llama.)

1 comment:

  1. Welcome to the real world that so many people have to live in. Not much fun, is it?

    We all see people around us who seem to be oblivious to the needs of the less fortunate but I’m also seeing a lot of very generous people who will bend over backwards to accommodate people with special needs.

    By the way, please don’t tell us what you do with that llama in the privacy of your dorm room after the doors are closed and the lights go out. There are some things we don;t need to know about.


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