Mission Impossible: Life of a Wheelchair User in Greece

Hello all, my name is Marina. I live in Greece and I suffer from Multiple Sclerosis. The last ten years I am in a wheelchair and I am facing some obstacles. With this article, I will try to describe how is living in Greece while you are in your wheelchair.

Mainly, I will say that in my country the Welfare State is in a basic format. I have medical insurance and access to all the health establishments of my country BUT. There is a MEGA BUT. I will talk about my life in my town. I have given up working ten years ago. In the first place, because of my fatigue and secondly because of the fact that I did not have access to my fellowship. Afterward, I had to deal with my disability and the lack of work and emotional motivation. My state does not have the base to bear out the ambitions of people that have to remain home. So, I studied and became a graphic and web designer. I commenced working as a freelancer. Again, I faced another
problem. The current legislation precludes the pensioners from having income from a working position. This is absolutely equitable, but the legislators should have considered the people with a disability that forcibly entered the pension scheme.

Thus, I started working as a volunteer for NGOs in Africa and India mainly. I filled productively my days and I felt useful again as I assist people in need.

I spent almost all my day at home as it is extremely difficult to go around my town for a coffee on my own. I will definitely need the assistance of two people that can lift my wheelchair in the places that I do not have access. Besides, the mass transportation -with some exceptions of buses and the underground in Athens- are also inaccessible to disabled people. Furthermore, the sidewalks in my town centre, are in disrepair most of the times. So, when I decide to go for a “walk” (ride) I have to be with my wheelchair on the main road. As a conclusion every attempt to have a pleasant time with my friends, it is ending up in a very stressful and frustrating situation.

I used to live alone and was very independent, but now I am feeling completely helpless and useless. Of course, my brother handles with my doctor’s prescriptions. Even though it could exist an automatic National Insurance system that would provide me my monthly remedy instantly.

I feel sorry for all those but nowadays with all the austerity and the social crisis in my country it would be difficult to improve the Welfare State. There are other major and vital problems that the government has to deal with.

I have stopped complaining and now I am trying to accept the situation as it is. I am preparing myself to leave my beautiful country for a northern European destination. Yes, I am ready to leave the blue sky and the stunning scenery for a place that I will not be the exemption but the rule. And my everyday life will not be a MISSION IMPOSSIBLE