Megan Again: Sometimes There Are Perks
By Megan Wirts
Usually I dread this week. Even as a child I dreaded this week. Spring Break always disappointed me. While many of my friends were jetting off to warmer weather I was always stuck in cold, wet and sometimes snow covered Michigan. I still have never jetted off to a warm weather vacation in my entire life (hopefully that will be rectified soon). However, even without the warm weather, I loved Spring Break this year.
The week started with a trip to Chicago with my 13-year-old daughter, my best friend and her 12-year-old daughter. It definitely wasn’t...
...a tropical vacation, but we still had fun. The trip was a birthday present for our daughters and it included tickets to see their favorite band.
To be totally honest, I was feeling a little anxious about this trip. We decided to take the train into the city instead driving in. This seemed like a great idea until the train started to move. I get vertigo just from looking side to side, so a jarring ride on a jostling and jerking train was not my favorite, but I survived.
When we got into the city we headed straight to the Airbnb that we booked. If you are unfamiliar with Airbnb, you should get acquainted. It is a worldwide online marketplace for people that are looking to rent out their entire home or just a room, like a hotel but without all the hotel stuff.
We stayed in a lovely little studio apartment that had amazing views and was right in the heart of the city. It also had one door that said, “Do Not Open” and it took everything I had not to open it. I will forever wonder what was in that closet. I can only assume that it was where they kept the dead bodies of previous tenants, or maybe it was their priceless collection of Star Wars memorabilia, we will never know
Before we headed out to the concert, we decided to explore the city a little bit. This is where things got a little tricky for me. Because of my dystonia and vertigo, I need to use a wheelchair when there is a lot of walking involved. So, with my bestie pushing me around (the only time she is allowed to push me around and talk behind my back) we made our way through the city and we quickly discovered that the city is not very wheelchair friendly.
The sidewalks were filled with holes and cracks that my wheels would get stuck in. Nearly every single crosswalk had pot holes in the middle and large cracks where the road met the sidewalk. A couple of times I was almost dumped out of my chair into the middle of the street because we hit a bump. It was extremely frustrating, but I survived.
Finally, it was concert time. We have been planning this trip to go to this concert for a few months now and after the experience of exploring the city, I was feeling very anxious about this show. I didn’t want to ruin everyone else’s good time because of my disability.
This a feeling I have about basically every part of my life now since I have become disabled. I don’t want to be a burden and no matter how much people tell me I am not, it’s hard for me to not feel like one when I can see the exasperation on my loved ones faces because they don’t know how to help me. The problem is I don’t even know how to help myself in some of those situations. Every time we do something we haven’t done since I got sick, we have to adjust and learn how to get through it.
It’s a process. A long process. And having patience is hard.
Anyway, it was time for the concert and we decided to leave my wheelchair at the apartment and I would do my best with just my cane.
We knew that the concert hall had to be wheelchair accessible but just because something is accessible doesn’t mean it really is.
After a nauseating Uber ride through Chicago traffic, we made it to the Aragon Ballroom to see Bastille, a British indie-rock band that our daughters were beyond excited to see. We started walking towards the back of the mile-long line in the cold wind and rain to get into the venue and hadn’t gotten very far when a security guard spotted me and told us to go right inside because “You don’t need to walk all that way.”
I was pleasantly surprised and instantly took him up on the offer. I was slightly afraid that the people that had been waiting in the rain for hours would be mad about us cutting the line, but not one person said a thing.
When we got inside we were met by another security guard that ushered us to the elevator and then to the best balcony seats in the place. We were right next to the VIP section and had a perfect view of the stage. The security guard even found a chair for me to sit in (this wasa stand up, jump around kind of show) and checked back with me periodically to make sure I was doing okay. I may not have been in the VIP section, but this place sure did make me feel very important.
As the band was doing their encore set, another very large security guard came over to us started moving people out of the way. Then, the next thing I know, the lead singer was standing right next to us! He performed a song while standing on ledge of the balcony with just one giant security guard holding on to his belt loop so that he didn’t fall to his death.
To say that my daughter was excited, is an understatement. She was 100% fangirling out and I believe her mother may have been a little star struck herself.
Imagine, that you are a 13-year-old girl and the singer of your absolute favorite band is within reach! It was ridiculously exciting! We could see the sweat glistening on his forehead! There wasn’t any fainting, but the smile on my girl's face still hasn’t been wiped off and it’s been over a week now. It was an awesome moment.
So, not only were we able to cut the line and had awesome seats, the singer STOOD ON OUR BALCONY! How am I ever going to top this birthday present? How!?! The concert couldn’t have gone any better and the reasons that it turned out so awesome for us, was because of my disability. Had I not been hobbling along with my cane, we would have had to stand outside in the cold and rain. Had I not needed to use the elevator or needed a chair to sit in, we would not have been in that particular balcony.
I’m not saying that having dystonia is great or anything, because 99% of the time it’s miserable.
However, on this night, I was kind of happy about it. With every single setback and painful experience I have with my disability, I will always have this incredible memory to look back on.
Sometimes there are perks.
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