My Wheelchair Can Fly
A Story by...
Elizabeth A. Sanza

It was the middle of April the 21st I think, of 1999. 1 was relaxing on the moist grass of my front yard.  I didn't want to be doing this, but Alexis, as she sometimes gets, was acting really frantic.  Whenever she gets like this, she makes my mom take me out of my chair so she can go in it.  My mom wasn't home at the time, so she picked me up out of my chair, flopped me around like a sack of potatoes, and roughly put me on the grass.  I didn't mind that much, because unlike some people I know, she treats me like all her other friends.  Another reason I don't mind is because we have been best friends since we were toddlers.  She jumped in my chair, as if it were a piece of garbage (and don't think it is because it costs over $19,000).

You might be wondering why I keep saying that people treat me different.  It is because I have Muscular Dystrophy.  In other words, my muscles are weaker then some people's, so I can't walk.  It is very frustrating when I go to the mall and everybody stares at me.  Lately, when I go to school the TEACHER'S aide has to be in the class with me at all times!  The worst part is that the aide sits five feet behind me so I don't have any privacy.  I am not even allowed to wander in the halls by myself I don't know why they treat me like this being that I am a very independent child.  Even when I went to elementary school in kindergarten through fifth grade I was allowed to go anywhere in the school by myself Sometimes the aide went with me, but she stayed by the teacher or by another child who was acting up instead.  I liked that better because I was allowed to gossip.

As you already know, I can't walk.  If you are a smart thinker you would have guessed by know that my chair is a power wheelchair. Everything on the chair is black, except for the wheels and the switch to turn it on and off.  The wheels are purple and the switch is dark green when it is off and bright green when it is on.  There are buttons behind the joystick that tilt the chair back and raise it up eight inches.

When Alexis was situated on the seat of my power wheelchair she rested her arms on the buttons.  Meanwhile, I wasn't looking at her but at the geraniums that had just begun to bloom.  In a couple of seconds she started calling me by my nickname.  "Hey Liddie, look at me, I'm flying!" I thought she was kidding because she usually does things like that.  I rolled over on my side to face her, ... and there she was.  The whole chair was up in the air flying!  I couldn't believe what I was seeing.  I thought I was having a seizure.

In about three minutes I wanted to get in my chair and try it for myself I asked Alexis politely if she would put me back in my chair.  She said no, which made me very mad.  I started calling her bad names and finally she said, "Fine, if it'll make you shut up!" She dragged me down the steps and onto the driveway.  Then she shoved me in my chair. "Hey you ding dong, I'm very uncomfortable." I complained. "You think I care, retard?" Alexis replied, pulling the buckle on my chair really tight.

When Lexie was done putting me in my chair I pressed my elbow on the button that made the chair fly.  In half a second, I was up in the air.  I turned my chair on, and moved the Joystick forward.  I moved forward, but I was still in the air.  When I was still only about two feet off the ground Alexis Jumped onto the battery (which is in the back of the chair), held onto the handle bars, and rode along with me.  "Yo' Lexie," I hollered because the wind was so noisy, "maybe if I go fast enough we could stop by the Galleria and be back before my mom gets home from the dentist."

"Lou, that's a really good idea but your mom's coming right now!" Alexis laughed.  I let go of the button because I didn't want my mom to know what I could do with my wheelchair.  The chair slowly landed onto the ground.  My mom pulled in the driveway.  After she turned off the car she got out and walked over to Alexis and I. "What's that smirk for girls?" Mom smiled, knowing something was up.

"Nuttin," Alexis lied turning her head so my mom couldn't see her smile.  She winked at me telling me to play along with her lie. "What do you mean, nothing?" my mom asked.  "I saw that smirk on your face.  Something is up.  Come on!  Tell me!" she pleaded. "No mom, leave us alone!  Go inside and play on the internet." I demanded.  My mom turned around and walked into the house.

The next day, there was a new movie playing at the Galleria called The Last Phone Call which is the sixth sequel to Scream.  It sounded really good, and it was a Saturday, so I didn't think my mom would mind taking me to see it.  I am only thirteen which might make her say no because it is rated R. When she was getting me dressed I decided to ask her if she would take us to see it.

"No honey, you're too young and even if you were old enough I couldn't take you because I have to work today." She answered me.  I called Alexis and told her the bad news about the movie.  She got mad but then she remembered something very important.

"Duh Liz, if you're smart enough to remember, your wheelchair can fly!" she exclaimed.  I told her that I had forgotten. I also mentioned to her that my mom had to go to work from 10 A.M. to 5 P.M.) so we had enough time to get to the movies and watch it without her knowing.  I told her I would meet her in the cul-de-sac at one o'clock, half an hour before the movie started and hung up the phone.

At one o'clock we met in the cul-de-sac as decided.  Alexis hopped onto the back of my chair and we took off.  When we reached Main Street there was a little boy outside.  "Mommy!  Mommy!  Look that little girl is flying!" he giggled, pointing up at the sky.  By the time we got to the mall it was already one twenty.  I landed at the door by the movie theater.  Alexis hopped off as soon as I reached the ground because standing on the battery while I drive could ruin the chair.  We went inside and bought tickets, popcorn and soda.  The movie was very good and when it was over it was only ten minutes to three.

I flew most of the way home.  Right before I passed Alexis's house I landed because Alexis told me she saw my mom's van.  I drove the rest of the way up, and then went in my house right before my mom pulled in.  My mom parked the car, opened the door and walked into the house. "Did you ladies have fun?" my mom asked. "Yes, a lot of fun." Alexis politely commented.  I was amazed at her answer because she usually isn't that polite. 'What did you guys do?" my mom asked.

"We watched a movie, had popcorn and drank soda." I answered, not telling her the whole story.  This wasn't exactly lying because we did do everything I said.  She was very pleased that I had fun while she was gone. From then on everytime I wanted to go somewhere and my mom had to go to work or shopping I could fly myself to where I wanted to go.

It is the year 2001 now, and since then I have flown myself to the mall, McDonalds, my friends' houses, and to my Aunt Susie's house.

The End

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To the frog ponds

Joan Fleitas, R.N., Ed.D.
Associate Professor of Nursing, Lehman COllege
Bronx, New York 10468

Last updated: November 14, 2004