So on Saturday I attended a friends hen party. This was something I thought I would never be able to do. I decided I would try in some way to attend. After a month of planning, my husband and I had sat down and thought of a plan of how I was going to get to her house, then to town, into clubs and then home again, safely, cheaply and without compromising my health or wellbeing. We decided I would go out in my power chair as this would give me the most mobility and independence whilst out and that i would need a wheelchair taxi.
Next came finding a comfortable and wheelchair friendly outfit, so I had mid waisted trousers on as a skirt or a dress in a wheelchair just doesn't work for me, I had a top that consisted of several layers so I could remove layers as needed to control my temperature, it's cold outside in the UK at the minute and I overheat inside. we decided on a cross over jacket type thing as it crossed over at the waist hiding my stomach and was mildly elasticated at the bottom meaning it stayed in place around my waist instead of riding up my back. I struggle with Raynauds in my hands and feet so keeping my feet warm but stylish was a priority. I settled on my glittery black diamante high tops and thick socks. Basically the outfit below (obviously this is not me) Tops from next and jeans were mid waisted supersoft jeans by F&F at Tescos. They were so comfy even after 7 hours in my chair. My hightops (below) were from matalan.
I struggle with keeping my hands above my head or up for any length of time and with manual dexterity in my hands so i used clip in hair extensions and styled them in my lap to make it easier, then all i had to do was clip them in with a bit of help
The end result before i changed into my outfit.
Once i knew i was going out in my chair and what i was wearing it was settling on a plan and a back up plan to get there and to get into various bars and clubs. I did some research, every time I had to go into town i made a note to look at the entrances of bars and clubs to see if i was able to get in. I pre booked a wheelchair taxi to get from my friends house to town and back again. This was handy as the one that arrived fitted the rest of the girls in so I felt included. Once in town I hit a snag straight away, I was so sure one of the bars didn't have a step I didn't bother to look, turns out it had a step just a bit too high for my chair to climb so that one was out of the question. we went onto a pub and the main entrance wasn't accessible, my friend went in to ask if they had a ramp and it turns out they had an accessible side entrance that wasn't signposted.
After this we found a small bar with cheap drinks, good music and level access through the front, the only snag was that the women's toilets were upstairs. The staff at this tiny club were so accommodating they cleared out the men's, cleaned it and stood obstructing the door so I could use the stall. It wasn't ideal but it worked. After this we went to a larger club. This was a chain of restaurant/bars called revolution, they had level access, disabled toilets and a lift up to the disco hall.
All in all I had a great night and found the bar staff and door staff to be really helpful and accommodating. Ill be honest Ipswich is a medium sized town but I don't think they had seen many disabled women wheelchair dancing so that's a first. The point of all this is if there is something you want to do there may be a way of doing it, it might not be straightforward or easy but it may be possible.
So if any other spoonies are reading this you may have noticed i said 7 hours, yes i was out in my chair for 7 hours! The following day i couldn't sit up without everything spinning, low blood pressure, tachycardia and nausea. I tried to move and quickly realised my whole right side from my waist downwards had seized up, i couldn't bend my leg or move it. Sooooo i spent the whole day lying down with a heated blanket over my right side and salty snacks and fluids to calm the POTS down. I'm expecting the fatigue and right sided stiffness to continue all week but it was worth it.
As always thanks for reading, feel free to leave any questions or comments below.