Magic Wand

Living with disabilities is challenging and often discouraging when it seems a “normal” life is not possible. However, personal disabilities can be a catalyst to fuel a more spectacular life, if a hopeful attitude, a Magic Wand combined with a purposeful life is adopted!

”Magic Wand”

A real and personal story of Accessibility, Adaptiveness, Inclusion, Security, and diversity. “A man who believes that man is as large as the things that interest him and as small as the things that upset him is better off.”
Hello, Magic Wand. How are you?. Nice to meet you? Crazy, I mean who would not want a Magic Wand, right?.
At a point in my life feelings of humility and embarrassment were overwhelming because there were just so many things that I could no longer do. Using the wand was my first step in transitioning to a new kind of mobile life. I realized and had to face my reality that I could not keep moving and doing things like I used to and like everyone else around me does. The wand was a signal that I had all these weaknesses so I resisted getting one for years. The physical inability to keep up the life we know is a barrier that is hard to overcome but it became necessary as I could no longer get around without one.

I overcame my fear of self-consciousness and shame, forcing myself and giving in to acquire my first Magic Wand at 50 years old when my need and a broken leg convinced me it was time to make the change. Before starting to use the wand I thought the Wand would be a magnet for attention and who needs that, well some like it but I do not. I was afraid to show that I was different and needed help.

I learned to give myself a break realizing it’s good for me as well as safer and I told myself to get over the humility and stigma. I told myself; it is not your fault you need one and help from others to make life better going forward so just use and accept it.

Using a Magic Wand is not as intuitive as you might think. I had to go through a lot of training sessions with different Wand masters before I got the feeling of security, safety, and success. Master trainers are not so easy to find (Star Wars hired them all) lol. When you find a good one you learn new tricks and you form a bond with the master. The Magic Wand is not as smart as it sounds so I am always teaching it to go this way and that. For example, whenever it sees a pothole in front of me it likes to lead me right to it rather than avoiding the hole, no fun walking into potholes, I just do not know why they don’t make them smarter. They don’t even know when the traffic light is red or green; I mean you’d think they would build those wands in a more high-tech fashion. I will have to ask R2D2 to help us sort this out and in the meantime, I have to figure out by myself when the light is green and when the green is safe to cross on.

With all that being said, the Magic Wand changed my life for the better and forever giving me a new life of independence, accessibility, and mobility. The magic part of the Wand happens when I listen to it, funny eh, I thought since it was Magic it would lead me around but that just is not so.

The Magical part of the Wand is that it tells me when I am about to go up or downstairs when I am going to walk into a pole, stops me from falling off the edge of the sidewalk, it parts crowds everywhere I am walking to let me pass unimpeded; it tells people to hold the door open for me; it tells people I need help if I fall down or if I am going to walk into a puddle and stops me from driving a go-kart or play baseball.

It helps me get through airports, in and out of planes and warns everyone around me I need help to find my seat or the bathroom. When I stop people for directions they are always so helpful even guiding me Where I want to go, public transport staff volunteer to guide me and many things like that.

When I go to countries that never saw a Magic Wand the people ask me what is the walking stick for, why do you have that white rod, kids ask me all the time, what is that stick for and I always take the time to answer every single comment with a smile. In China and Japan, they even have grooves on the sidewalks to guide me unless the grooves end at a tree with no workaround.

The biggest challenge is that the Magic Wand does not speak. Everyone around me must figure out what I want or might need from them and for myself, I have to understand in real-time what the wand is trying to tell me every step of the way, which can be tricky and takes a lot of concentration.

The things I love and appreciate about the Magic Wand are that it enables people to rise up and be at their best for me and lets them feel good inside for helping, it tells them to introduce themselves when we meet so I know who is there; it lets me walk without a guiding elbow and partner; it helps me navigate the places I am in; it grants me independence, privileges, and favors from most people without me asking for a thing, isn’t that nice? People mostly know what to do around me so I do not crash into them, When I want to Jaywalk with my mother-in-law who uses a walker I just lift up the white want to waist level straight out in front of me and all the cars stop and they don’t even honk, it’s a miracle.

The Wand tells me if I am on a smooth surface, a sandy surface or that a new something is coming up in front of me, it tells me to watch out for the street furniture and so many other things, wow am I lucky I have one cause it lets me go anywhere, almost.

What the Wand does not help me with is if there is dog pooh on the side walkabout to be underfoot or being safe walking down the street while talking on my phone, it does not help warn me if there is something at head level, oh those hurt, it does not protect me from bicycles or people running who are not looking, or other people looking at their phone while they are walking straight into me, swimming, sailing, and biking are things that the great Wand does not help me with, pity, and many other things but who cares because it helps so much with my security and mobility.

The Wand is my best friend. It notifies people in advance resulting in more friendly and helpful actions around me. It gives me security and confidence in movement and reduces my awkwardness and embarrassment to a minimum because I do not have to explain anything to anyone. Unfortunately, it also transfers that awkwardness to others as they are not always sure of how to interact ideally with me and I always try to put people at ease.
My favorite sayings are “nice to see you again” or “Aren’t we supposed to turn right here?”.

Have you finally guessed that I am blind and use a white cane? It really is my Magic Wand and I cannot imagine life without it, it is magical for me. The person who invented and perfected the white cane is my hero. That was centuries ago, but the cane became prominent just after World War 1. Now, most western countries and most of the people living there know what the white cane signifies and I am so thankful for that.

I am not held back by my lack of vision. I travel the world for business by myself with my white cane as my guide and friend. It is just a different view without vision.

The purpose of this story is to provide a closer, more personalized look at the lives of people with disabilities and the importance of a Magic Wand in our lives. After all is said and done; I want you to know that it is a lifesaver and I appreciate it every day and could not leave home without it.

Best regards – Sheldon