Even for the most physically fit people, there is something about the slow, ambling pace of museum waking that is brutal. It exhausts everyone. So what hope does a totally exhausted girl with RA, who is already wearing two knee braces, have of actually enjoying the art instead of desperately looking for somewhere to sit down for a while?
I'll tell you: a wheelchair.
When we were on our honeymoon, I was about ready to cry after just an hour of walking around in the Reina Sofia Museum. My knees hurt so bad (probably from being cramped on the plane for so many hours) and I was so tired (probably from all the wedding excitement and from being cramped on the plane for so many hours) that I wasn't even seeing the amazing Picasso paintings on the wall anymore. All I could see were the benches and how big the room was, which would give me an idea of how long I would have to rest before APL was ready to move to the next room. I wasn't enjoying myself.
However, I didn't relish the thought of a being pushed around in a wheelchair either. I kept watching little old grannies hobbling around the galleries and thinking that it would be shameful for me to get in a wheelchair if even the grandmas didn't need one.
But at some point the opposite thought crossed my mind: if I wrecked my legs on the first day of the honeymoon out of embarrassment and stubbornness I would miss out on so much more of the trip. And, yes, the grandmas may be walking around, but their knee joints aren't my knee joints. And when would I be back in Madrid to actually enjoy all the art we were supposed to be enjoying? Maybe never. So, after lunch, I asked APL if he would push me in a wheelchair.
This might sound silly, but I feel like it took guts to sit in that wheelchair. But I'm really, really glad I did. Being in the wheelchair was so much better. Yes, people did stare at me (and I'm sure tried to guess what was wrong with me) but, when I was looking at the art, I didn't even see their stares. In fact, I probably enjoyed the art more than anyone else that afternoon - I was so appreciative not to be in pain!! APL and I also had a lot of fun watching people get out of our way and zooming down ramps. And, with APL pushing me, we also spent a lot more time together talking and discussing the art (whereas before APL had been looking at the art and I had been sitting on the nearest bench and we hadn't been talking at all).
Most museums will let you borrow a wheelchair for free - generally at the information desk or coat check area. They will probably ask you to sign a paper saying you borrowed a wheelchair, but they won't ask you why you need it. Other people at the museum will stare at you, but it's really none of their business. If you know you would enjoy the museum more sitting down and you have someone who is willing to push you, just do it. It will be worth it - it might even be fun.
And afterwards, don't forget to thank your manservant....I mean husband! ~;o)