I took the train to Chicago last week for work.  I am thankful for legs that are strong enough to get around the train station and up on the train. However, while I was there I couldn’t help but notice all the obstacles that us with varying levels of physical challenges might face.

When boarding you walk down a long sidewalk along the train until you get to the car with an open door. Swarms of long-legged, strong people rush past you anxious to get on the train. I was grateful because it meant they would already be on and I could take my time climbing up the steps.

Most wouldn’t give it a second thought, but once you reach the train door they have a wobbly bright yellow step stool that brings you closer to a small narrow flight of slick metal steps. I also noticed that this collection of steps is accompanied by the world’s skinniest railing to use for support. It is pretty awful.  Add a heavy bag on your back and it’s a little scary.

After I was up they mentioned there is a ramp that can be pulled out, but it didn’t seem worth the hassle. I could just picture standing there with my bags waiting to be the last on and off, just so I could use the ramp. I think Amtrak still has some work to do on their accessibility.

On a happy note. The hotel had something awesome.

If you have Arthrogryposis the odds are high you are not a huge fan of vending machines. It’s bad enough that we would rather go thirsty over the fight to twist open a bottle top in public. So when you do get a soda from the machine you don’t want to struggle with that too.

When your hand is bent it is not easy to reach in a low door and fish out a bottle.  We can’t extend our hands the right way to grab it. 

We also don’t have the strongest grip and so a cold, wet bottle makes it extra hard. Struggling with the low trap door while standing with crutches has to be a sight. If I stop and really think about it I can’t help but laugh. It has to be a good show.

This is why I typically avoid vending machines.

Well, I found a hidden gem. This machine grabs the beverage and a glass door opens with the beverage standing up and at a perfect height.  There is no bending or fighting with the small flapping doors.  I’m in love. 

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