A year ago I would have P R O M I S E D you that I was not going to need a walking aid or even need to know about the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (the ADA).
A year later, I now find myself analyzing Florida disability laws and healthcare policies. I want to be educated and not left behind by the next healthcare crisis.
I have contemplated applying for a handicap permit since January when my legs really began to fall apart it. Since being diagnosed with MS, using an aid or applying for a decal in my mind signaled defeat. It (in my mind) implied that I let MS beat me and all that would be left is the “disabled stigma” of a ever was.
But I was tired of being exhausted, struggling to walk from the grocery store to my car or anywhere where I’ve parked far on days where my legs are screaming:
“HELL NO! We are not working for you today!”
Fed up with excruciating pain, relapses and more agonizing pain, I applied for my handicap decal.
I have had the most exciting time applying for a handicap decal. I loved how as I handed the attendant my application for my decal she looked at me like:
Then followed with, “And this is for you?”
I answered “Yes,” politely…
already smelling the stench of judgment as she continuously looked at me wanting to ask (the look I’ve grown use to):
I find it insultingly hilarious that little did Ms. Attendant know this week has been fire and brimstone for my lower back, legs, and nerves. A relapse that started Sunday has continued its teeth-gritting pain on my lower back and legs, and for that small run to the tax collector’s office, I planned to muster up courage and walk in without a cane not be judged by a disease, a disability you can’t see.
So good day you discriminating, ignorant, jackass. I have and will continue to run into many like you. And that is okay.
I am using the holidays to appreciate life with MS because this year I have learned more about myself that I ever thought I would. It’s strange. These bumps, scars, and bruises are lessons. When it gets tough, I slow down, stop and tell myself “you will not go out like this” and I keep going.
I am taking this time to enjoy where I am and I hope you do the same.