Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Doesn't sound "confined" to me

Quadriplegic woman to sail around Britain using only her breath

Hilary Lister, 36, who is only able to move her head, eyes and mouth, will spend the next three months sailing round the British Isles in a specially adapted boat she controls using a 'sip-and-puff' system of straws.

This woman is a real go-getter. I love the story -- until I get to this line:

Mrs Lister was a sporty child who captained her school's hockey swimming and netball team, but by the time she was 15 she was confined to a wheelchair.

Does this woman seem confined to you? Do these guys seem confined to you?

A wheelchair is a mobility device. It makes no more sense to say that a quadriplegic is "confined to a wheelchair" than it does to say that a driver is "confined to a car" or an equestrian is "confined to a horse".

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Anonymous said...

Well if a driver couldn't *leave* their car then yes calling them confined to their car is pretty reasonable.

Controlling an entire seaworthy boat through a sip and puff is pretty impressive.


Christina Dunigan said...

The people I know who use wheelchairs don't consider them "confining", any more than an amputee considers a prosthetic leg "confining" or a person with a hearing aid considers it "confining".

I'd say that woman's wheelchair is liberating, not confining.