Tuesday, June 16, 2015

"Life with Cerebral Palsy" with Stephanie Cox: $hopping

Dara and I have been busy so that is why it's been a while since we've done a post. Life has a way of getting crazy even when someone is disabled. I've started my own blog, so be sure to check it out!

This post is about shopping with cp. You know, adding "with cp" is always kind of funny to me. It's like somebody with red hair writing about doing something with red hair as if having red hair is somehow a big deal. I just don't see why being different has to be such a big deal or scary to people, but I guess it is so here I am writing about doing a normal activity while having a condition called cerebral palsy. 

I have always loved shopping!  My family always took me to the mall. Then as a teenager I would go with friends. 

My husband and I go grocery shopping every week. He puts me in the front seat of our van and then loads my manual wheelchair in the back of our van. We look for disability parking at the store. These parking places are so important for people in wheelchairs because they allow extra room to unload a wheelchair and get me into my wheelchair. 

A MAJOR pet peeve of ours is people that are not disabled parking in these spots because a person in a wheelchair MUST have the extra room to unload and load!  Or people will park in the crossed out space that we use to unload and load. Please don't park there. You make it impossible for me to get back in our van!

If there are no disability parking spots available, we must park out in the middle of the parking lot where fewer people park and we take up two regular parking spots in order to ensure we have enough room to unload and load my chair up. 

Anyway, my husband pushes me in the store while dragging a shopping cart behind him. I have the list on my tray and help make sure he gets everything on the list. We goof around a lot with this. Yes, we're goofs. If I see something we need or I want, I tell him. Sometimes I have to say, "Go back" and eye point to help him figure out what I'm talking about since I can't use my hands to point. And my speech is very slurred, so if it's loud in the store, he has trouble understanding me. I can always spell when necessary. 

Grocery shopping!

To check out, he pushes me a bit down the checkout aisle and I wait while he unloads the cart. If we know the cashier and bagger, they usually talk with us. Then he pays and out we go with our groceries. 

He puts me in our van first. Then he loads our groceries into the van and puts the cart in a cart carousel.  After that, he loads my wheelchair in the van. 

When we get home, he unloads my chair and puts me in it. Then I like to help so he puts some grocery bags on my tray and lap to take in. Then I watch as he brings in the rest of the groceries and puts them away. Our cats think it's fun to "help" put groceries away, too. 

Of course, I often say, "I wish I could help."  He appreciates that but we don't dwell on my disability. We keep talking and laughing at our cats' antics. They love also getting on me when we come home.

Kitties on me after grocery shopping!

So, that's grocery shopping. 

I also love going antiquing. I have probably 300 cat figurines that I've collected from antiquing and others giving them to me as gifts. LOL!  I love kitties!!  Yes, I am the "crazy cat lady," and I love it!

When we go antiquing, my hubby pushes me through the mall. We look at all the booths. If I see something, I say, "A kitty!"  Or I'll say, "look."  Again, sometimes I have to tell him to go back if he passed something I wanted to see. He'll pick up the piece for me so I can see it better. If it's affordable, he'll put it on my table. We'll usually take it up to the counter for them to hold while we keep looking around. 

I just find antiquing so peaceful and fun. I absolutely LOVE the smells of antique malls. We stick to malls for antiquing because the aisles are big enough for my wheelchair to get through. We've been to shops, but they pack so much stuff into shops that it's very difficult to get my wheelchair around in them. What fun is it if I can't get around to see stuff myself?


For the regular mall shopping, it's the same. I tell my hubby what stores I want to go into and use eye pointing to help direct him to something I want to see. I wish my girlfriends, like Dara, lived closer so I could go shopping with girls. But, Chip puts up with me very, very well!

Oh, one more thing that I guess most people don't have to worry about that we do. When we go to a place kind of far from home and I have to use the bathroom before we leave, we have to have a store employer check the ladies room to make sure nobody is in there and then stand guard while my husband takes me to the bathroom. So, sometimes I wish there were more unisex bathrooms as this is also a challenge while traveling. I can't just go in the men's room and Chip can't just go in the women's room. But, we make it work. 

So, that's the lowdown on shopping "with cp." 

This took me an hour and a half to write with my nose. 


  1. Thank you for sharing this. So many things I had not considered. Oh, and I love cats, too! Lol

  2. In the UK, at the supermarket car parks .. if someone parks in a disabled bay and is caught out .. ie if someone complains and then doesn't quickly appear when they announce that a 'Red Ford Fiesta registration DXY 123 is parked in the disabled bay ..... ' to move the car ... then the staff go out ... and put a huge almost full window sized sticker on the driver's door window !! It is a long 'note' telling them off and why they shouldn't park there ! Now too .. they can be fined quite heavily .. which is a very good idea.

    I just wish that there were more disabled spaces here in Portugal, and that the malls loaned out those electric buggies here too like the UK .. I used to go whizzing around buying stuff on my own then .. it was great ! But here you are VERY lucky if you can even borrow a plain wheelchair .. that needs someone to push it!

    Sounds like I'd love to shop with you Stephanie !!


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