Disability – The Meaning: disability- a physical or mental condition that limits a person’s movements, senses, or activities.
Ok, so from all my previous blogs, you’ll pretty much know I’m stubborn and determined, which doesn’t make dealing with my Chronic Pain easy for anyone let alone myself. Stubborn because I’m not changing for pain and determined that I’m not letting pain change me, no matter what.
I will never forget the first day after returning to work from my first surgery, full of nerves and wondering how I would cope, pulling in to the car park and parking. Nothing wrong with that you say. Sure. What if you’ve just had surgery on your spine and you can’t get out of the car? The spaces aren’t massive, fair enough they are normal size spaces, but you try squeezing out of your car and trying not to hit the car next to you, while also trying not to twist your recently operated on back. I sat in the car for about 15 minutes and cried. I cried my heart out, and all because I couldn’t get out of my car, how silly is that! Luckily I was allowed to park in the disabled space at the front door, which also meant I didn’t have too far after the stressful 15 minutes I just had!
Facing up to the realisation that I was no longer able to do a simple thing like get in and out of my car was hard, it still is. I envy people who can literally just jump in and go. I have to nearly perform a 5 point turn just to get in the seat nowadays! The freedom to just get in and drive off is something I really miss, badly.
So as I said before, I’m stubborn. So imagine my thoughts when it was advised I get a disabled pass (also known as a Blue Badge)? Not a bloody chance was the first thing that sprung to mind, although maybe not as polite as that! I was in my mid twenties, why the hell would i want a disabled pass, people like me don’t get passes, Im far too young to get one. And plus there are way too many other people out there that deserve and need one more than me, I didn’t need it as much as someone in a wheelchair did. Did I? No way.
My doctor helped me apply, and not long after I was granted a Blue Badge for 1 year. Fine I thought, 1 year was enough, after all this back of mine was only temporary. Got that so wrong! I ended up having to apply for a new badge when the first ran out and after we realised this wasn’t going to go away, this mobility issue was here to stay, roots firmly planted.
Gong on the advice of everyone around me, I also was told to apply for a disabled parking space in front of the house, as we live on a street, there’s no guarantee of getting parked outside the house. Jesus, what did people want, did they want me to advertise the fact I had mobility issues? Getting a badge was hard enough to accept, but actual white lines painted outside my house. No way. Plus they wouldn’t accept me anyway, I wouldn’t be entitled to one, but I applied anyway, thinking there was no chance of me getting a space, and I was fine with that.
So driving home from work one day, pulling up to the house, something was different. I almost stopped half way up the street, nearly a dead stop in the middle of the road. White lines had appeared, the word “Disabled” had appeared, they were right outside my house window, with a massive signpost in front of the house to match.
Instantly the tears fell. I tried to look for any other space i could park in, any space in the street bar that one. There was no other space. I parked and froze. The tears were in full flow. I didn’t want to get out of the car, I couldn’t. Everyone would be watching for this so called newly advertised disabled person getting out of a vehicle in that space, everyone would know it was me, and everyone would judge. I called my husband, still in tears, and said the space was now marked and I couldn’t get out of the car. Reassuring me that nobody would be watching or be judging, I eventually decided to make a break for it. The door wasn’t that far away, I could do this. Prized and ready to make a sharp exit, I left the car and got in to the house, and pulled the blinds so nobody could see me.
Looking at it now, I completely over reacted, but even now, I hate parking somewhere that has labeled me. Don’t get me wrong, I am now so grateful for that space, most days I’d be lost without it, but why does it have to say “Disabled”. Why does paint on a road have the ability to label me as a person. Why does it make you self conscious and self aware.
I have always had this image in my head of what “disabled” means. Maybe like others we think it means someone in a wheel chair, or an amputee, etc, but whatever your image is, and whatever I think it may look like, I never thought it would be me, I don’t have a wheelchair, so why am I getting a badge and a space? I dont deserve it, someone more worthy that me should receive a parking space and badge. Surely.