Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Many Lessons Learned and Many More to Go

As I had noted below, my husband had his heart incident on Friday and it has taken me until today to get my body back to where it was then. So, almost 4 full days of recovery from one traumatic hospital event. We have been through many things in our 25 years but it seems that it would take a day or at most two for me to emotionally/physically recover. Now it appears that it takes less time for me to recover emotionally than physically. My muscles and joints along with the fluorescent light lesions that I get have just now been able to get back to "their" normal. On a level from 0-10 as they ask you at the doctor’s office, I am now at a 5. Five for me is normal on pain meds. If I didn't have the support system that I have that actually forces me to relax and get my rest, I would be lost in a painful existence. Times like this make me so happy for my family that care for me completely. I thank you all from the deepest corner of my heart. You are my reason for being.
At the same time I wonder about the unfortunate people that are either alone or surrounded by people or family that just don't understand how much pain and misery you really are in. It may not show on your skin, face, etc., but you are in so much pain. I sometimes think that if my head was bald, I had a cast, was in a wheelchair or crutches that people would then respect that you are hurting in some way. Living in "silent" pain is horrible. We are forced to keep it inside otherwise if we talk about it; it appears as though we are just complaining.
I will give you an example that rings through my heart every time that I pull out my handicapped parking permit...
I clearly remember the day that my physician told me that I was permanently disabled and that physically I could expect to regress from here on. It was demeaning to receive the paperwork with the boxes checked stating that it was a permanent disability. Off I went with my support system (husband) to the DMV. There was the regular line and the line for Disability Parking Permits. My husband asked me to take a seat and he would stand in the line for me. There was one person just in front of him that had a cast on his foot and was on crutches. The gentleman made it to the counter and the lady kindly completed his paperwork for him and he received his "temporary" permit without issue. My husband signaled me to come forward as it was my turn and I walked up to be with him. As he handed the lady my "permanent" disabled paperwork she said that she couldn't help me and that I would need to go to the other counter. She continued to state that she had only helped the man in front of me because he was clearly disabled. I was dumbfounded, taken back, angry, saddened, shocked, etc. I used to have the energy to address this type of situation, but my husband could see the pain, hurt, and shame on my face. He then kindly/forcefully explained to this woman that I was permanently disabled and therefore I needed this completed and he clearly got the message across and the permit was issued at that counter by that employee.
This was my first encounter with what I can expect in the future. I feel the stares when I get out of my car and have my permit displayed. It is this feeling of being given a once over to see if I am really disabled or not. I feel offended but I decided that I am not going to let anyone that is so shallow minded to rent any space in my brain! I realized that I too, over the course of my life prior to this point have been guilty of making a judgment on whether someone really needed to use that parking space. I want to say that I am sorry and I have had to learn a large lesson on judging people as to whether they are disabled or not and that you can't know by the way they look and it isn't up to anyone to determine an other's disability anyway.


mjbarnhart said...

Loretta - A very powerful post. I admit I have been judgmental when I see handicapped permits on hugh 4X4 trucks that are jacked up so high I could not get in them without help. But I must remember that when folks face disabilities they can be very resourceful - it may not be getting in and out of a truck that is the issue, but maybe walking, or endurance, or other problems that inhibit in different ways.

Thanks for your thoughts.

Mike B.

Careccia said...

I now know it, but am guilty of being judgmental in the past. For me I need to park close to where I am going otherwise I have to get the SPF85 and get fully covered to walk the parking lot to the store. Having to do the long walk gets to be very painful as well and could cause a flare up. I would have never known that people deal with this if it hadn't happened to me. There are so many circumstances that we can't know or shouldn't necessarily be concerned as to whether someone is worthy of having a parking permit. I would gladly give mine back if I could give back my illness with it. Thanks for your comment. Love ya