Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Worst Disabled Parking Abuse Ever

accessibility,assistance,communities,disabilities,Fotolia,parking spaces,pavement,sidewalks,signs,transportation,bricks wall,wheelchairsDon't you hate it when you see a so-called disabled person park their car right next to the store in a crowded lot? Then they just get out of the car and waltz their way into the store. They don't even have a limp. What gives with that?

Those parking placards are too easy to get and people abuse them all the time. Nothing is wrong with this person, and yet they get to park in a special spot. They aren't disabled. Disabilities are obvious.

You know what this person needs? Someone to set them straight. Maybe a note on the windshield, letting the driver know she's a bi#ch. Or a hard stare. Or even better, a loud confrontation.

 "You shouldn't be parking there. There's nothing wrong with you. I ought to report you to the police."

Yeah, that's exactly what you should...

NOT
EVER
DO.

Not all disabilities are obvious. There are dozens Invisible Disabilities. I don't look disabled all the time, but I am. Myasthenia gravis is so rare almost no one has it. Picture all the fans at the Superbowl. Imagine 14 of them stood up and waved at the camera. That is how many people have MG out of a hundred thousand.

MG can turn my muscles on, and off, without much warning. Heat makes my muscles weaken faster. I may have no problem walking into a store, but on the way out of the store I might be stumbling behind a shopping cart. Or, I might still be able to walk just fine. I don't know how my body is going to function ten minutes from now. Everything might be wonderful, or I might be drooling, struggling to breathe and crawling on my hands and knees.

Just because I can walk right now does not mean I will be able to walk in ten minutes. I have to adapt my entire life around MG. Sometimes being able to park near the store exit saves me pain and struggle.

Since MG is rare, few people know what it feels like to live with it. Having MG feels like being dipped in invisible tar. Every move I make is through this awful goo that no one can feel but me. I don't "look sick," except for when I do. When I do look sick, my body turns limp and I can't hardly move. The problem is, I have no control over when MG is going to take my strength away. It might be in the middle of the store when I'm shopping, and I always have to be prepared for that. So, yeah, I park in disabled parking, not because I am lazy or faking, but because I have a disability. You just can't see it right now. Being rude to me in the parking lot isn't going to make me less disabled. It is just going to get us both angry. I hate feeling angry more than I hate MG. There has to be a better way.

Here's a tip for you:

If you have to make an assumption about someone with a disabled parking placard, assume they need your compassion, because invisible or visible, disability is hard to live with.

Remember: the worst disabled parking abuse ever is when able bodied people jump to conclusions about who has a disability and who doesn't. Just because you can't see it doesn't mean it isn't there.

1 comment:

Disclaimer

I am not a doctor. I do not have a medical degree. Nothing on this site qualifies as medical advice. These are lessons I'm learning at the University of Catastrophe. What I find to be correct answers in my classes may not be the right answers for you.

If you are enrolled with your own major at the University of Catastrophe, please consult your doctor, therapist, attorney, auto mechanic, veterinarian, plumber, dietician, arborist, acupuncturist, manicurist, mother, local dairy council, shoe shine boy, or other equally qualified professional, for advice and assistance.

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