Wheelchair Injuries on Ice
Require two-wheeled assistance to get around? When it snows, this world is not for you. We all know the feeling of waking up to the gorgeous snow, a feeling that quickly shifts to the grind of warming the car, scraping the windows, and pulling on snow boots over your suit or uniform pants. What we do not all experience is sliding into our wheelchair, looking out the window, and realizing we are stuck. When your wheels are not your alternate method of travel, but are instead are your only vehicle for point A to B travel, even a little snow and ice on the ground can be a hurdle the likes of which champion horses struggle to jump. We’ve all seen the memes of what living on one side of the road versus the other can mean in Colorado when it comes to snow accumulation. Now think differently – think what it means to live in someone else’s shoes… err, wheels.
Even when a sidewalk or ramp has been shoveled, the tiniest patch of ice can send your neighbor slipping into the road, off the path, and into danger. The easiest act for able-bodied folks in the snow is getting to the car. Most of the work is the shoveling, scraping, and salting. When you’re in a chair, none of this is possible. Many people are in wheelchairs because of already complicated health issues, weakened hard and soft tissue structures, and other tenuous health conditions. A fall, especially in the cold, can bring on complications very quickly. Yet so can missing doctor’s appointments or being unable to get to work where money is earned to pay for medical treatment. Whether you’re excited about snow days or grumbling over how the mess on the roads makes a mess of your schedule, pause. Think about whether your neighbors or community members use your sidewalk to get around. Salt it. Think about whether your neighbor is wheelchair bound. Shovel and salt theirs. And if there is anyone in your circle, whether neighborhood, friend, or work life, go clean and scrape their car, shovel and salt their ramp and sidewalk. And while you’re at it, do the same for any older friends or new moms. Bring the family! Make a game out of it! Yes, you’ll be late for work. But you’ll help others get to their jobs, and you’ll save them from harm.