Thursday, December 06, 2007

Seeds Of Change...

I felt myself get a strange lump in my throat while talking to Dr. She Who Will Not Be Named in my last appointment with her. I was trying to discuss the recommendations Mr. Rehab had made for me at my Vocational Rehabilitation Appointment the month before. I easily breezed through the "psychological" recommendations and some of the basic work-related changes he suggested...but as I progressed to the final subject, the mysterious lump swelled in my throat and I felt my eyes become teary. I had deliberately saved this subject for last.

I stuttered and stammered as I broached the subject with her. "Well, the last thing he recommended I am not sure I really need and it's pretty hard for me to talk about it with you, but it's on my list (I was carrying a written list of topics so as not to leave out something important) so I suppose it's worth discussing...," as my voice trailed off, I found myself looking away to swallow down the lump that was rising in my throat.

Dr. SWWNBN sat back as if to brace herself for the unknown. It is a rare occasion I am speechless in ANY setting, let alone with her, and I believe she sensed my struggles.

"What?" she remarked inquisitively, but with a softer tone than usual.

"Well," I struggled to find the right words. "He thinks I should ask you for one of those parking thing-a-ma-jiggy's to hang on my mirror when I need it, but..." I continued to feel very uncomfortable and had to pause again to regroup.

"It's just that I'm not sure I need one, but sometimes I guess I do. It might be helpful to have, but...this is REALLY hard to ask about!" I exclaimed, as if speaking to a higher authority than Dr. SWWNBN. I was now wishing I hadn't even brought the subject up and had just let the sweat from my palm completely obliterate the ink marks on my paper.

"Oh, that's a great idea," she said, leaning forward, no longer in fear I might tell her I was pregnant or some other equally as horrifying news.

"Well, I don't KNOW if it's a great idea or not," I began in my continued self-argument. "It's really hard for me to ask for such a thing because I'm basically now...I don't need to be parking in disabled parking, except maybe once in a while, but even then..." I was looking away again.

"No, you should have one. For those times when you DO need it. You won't be using it ALL the time, but it's a good idea for you to have the option. I'll fill out the paperwork for you."

And that was that.

My disabled parking placard(s) arrived in the mail today. It pained me to open the envelope because I KNEW what was inside. Flashy, shiny, blue DISABLED PARKING placards.

Change is very hard for me and acceptance is even more difficult. Throw in an ounce of "You don't deserve this" and I've pretty much mentally screwed myself into a corner. LOL

My mother used to tell us to clean the food off our plates because there were "children starving in China" and we should not "waste" food they might otherwise eat (thus, began the eating disorder I carry with me today!). In a somewhat different realm of thinking (but along these same lines), it is very difficult for me to consider parking in a space designated for "disabled" because, A. Someone who is far worse off than me at the time might need it more, B. I am NOT disabled (it is an "ego" thing), and C. I should just be able to PUSH myself harder even when walking with a cane...after all...I still CAN walk if I'm only using a cane, right?!? The placard shows someone in a wheel chair, not someone with vertigo, a cane, a dragging leg, etc. The entire permit was certainly NOT designed for me.

I don't know how long these placards will sit on my counter top before I eventually move them to my car and take one to work with me. I don't know if or WHEN I will ever find the courage (and dare I say, "humility" in it's purest sense?") to USE one of them. I don't know if I will ever get over the sadness of the reality I might NEED one of them at some point.

There are just some things about the disease of MS (and life) I remain ambivalent about..and each seed of change that gets planted takes on a life of its own.


Charles-A. Rovira said...

I now have a disability placard and I use it.

Its nothing to be ashamed of.

The handicapped parking spaces are there for a reason: to give some relief to handicapped people.

When I'm feeling fine, I don't want use it, but I never know when its going to be a much longer walk back to the car than it was from the car.

And that is just the way it is.

Diane J Standiford said...

Oh,have fond memories of getting my tag(it reminds me of when I could still drive); after 17 years I STILL feel uncomfortable asking my Dr. for...stuff, even refills! I just had to ask for a manual wheel chair (my arm too weak to use it, but in emergency for my nurse to push me) my last one I PAID for MYSELF rather than ask the Dr., felt like I was giving in. How silly we are. And if someone confronts you, say, "Thank you for caring. I am disabled and glad people like you confront cheaters for me." (And are there ever cheaters. We used to have a special # to report abuse of placards, in Seattle. Healthy 18yr olds steal dead grannie's card and so on)

Adina said...

I wish I had some wise comment regarding this lovely club membership you just acquired , but I don’t…it’s a simple reality .
On the other hand , I just came back from Europe where handicapped parking is as hard to find as the old American dollar value ( completely different source of resentment ) and let me tell you , now I appreciate having the option available any time one might possibly need it…Just a different perspective , ‘t’s all….

harkoo said...

There is nothing to be ashamed of--it is just to give your MS Legs a break on the days you need some relief.

Bubbie said...

It isn't the "card", it's what it represents. It's too real/in your says HANDICAPPED! I had the same reaction to getting mine, but have learned to accept it. It does help when you need it. Before the placard I can remember circling a parking lot several times, tired and not feeling well, and just giving up and going home rather than drag my sad butt through acres of asphalt. But here in the land of retirees and snowbirds, it's rare to even find a spot when you need one.

Zee said...

I've got one too, though I rarely -if ever - use it these days.

But when I was in the midst of my relapse (and before I was diagnosed) I really did need it. I was so fatigued that walking any extra distance was a real challenge, not to mention the fact that keeping my shoes on my feet was nearly impossible... :) Anyway, use it when you do need it, don't feel guilty about it at all.

Anonymous said...

The van that I drive has a handicap license plate (permanent) and we keep the hang placard in hubby's SUV for when I go out with him, and even then, I usually only "need" a cane when we take his vehicle. Mine is for when I "need" the w/c. I do not have any guilt about either. It is on the list of things I "need".

Re: dinners & starving mouth kid that I was, when my parents told me that the first time, I pushed the plate away and said "Here, send them this stuff."

And stubborn child that I was, many was the night I was still sitting at the table at 10PM refusing to eat "stuff"

Probably why I was skinny all my life till menopause.

mdmhvonpa said...

Yeah ... I got my 'perma-crip' plates years ago ... they are a horrible curse ... like someone sewing the star of david on my coat lapel. I catch so much crap about it, but at times ... it's a life-saver.

pb said...

Think of all the times you didn't go somewhere because of all the trouble, or tiredness, or balance problems.

A handicap hanger is the great equalizer.

It's there to make it easier and safer for you to drive places.

Let it.

Merelyme said...

oh wow...this is big. i am glad you have it just in case you need it. yet it is such an emotional milestone...a visible placard of...acceptance. those words..."disabled" and "disability" have such a punch to them. i guess it is all a process of coming to terms with this. don't let the words get in the way of you having a good life. i agree with everyone else...this ultimately is a good thing as it will help you in your day to day life.

Silverstar said...

I agree with the above comments. Don't feel guilty, if there are times when you really do need it then use it. :)

Have myelin? said...

Okay, I feel bad for you. NOT! Lemme take the plates off my car, the hearing aid off my left ear, my cochlear implant off my right ear, my glasses off my nose, hang up the cane and crawl on the floor and be deaf, blind and limp!

Use the placard, Sweetie. It's yours.

Steve said...

Oh, use that disabled placard when you need it... like when you're looking for parking downtown! :D

Seriously. It's for people who need them that they exist. Use it when you need it, and park in the boondocks when you don't.

Just don't ask your son-in-law to use it to drop you off at the supermarket so that he can walk you inside. Once he's got you all set up with your cart and comes back out, people will be mean and say rude things to him about how he's abusing the system. Not that I have any continuing nightmares about that. ;)