1/18/2013

Please do not treat me differently because I use a walker

Many of you know that I had surgery earlier this month.  This rant has been building for a week already so it's time to let it out. When you see someone who is on a walker or in a wheelchair, please be nice. By nice I mean to please treat the person just as you would anyone else.

For the second time in my life I have to use a walker. The experience has taught me several things about being disabled. My harshest lesson is in how society treats someone who has a health challenge. It's as though I have been relegated to a second class citizen and that's not cool for anyone.

I do want to say that my husband's church has been fabulous. My church has been super. This post doesn't include them. The people who knew me before still treat me the same (except for the meals and cards which are very appreciated).

We're shopping in the same stores as always and going to the same restaurants. The difference is noticeable and not imagined. This rant isn't to ask for anything special. It's just a request to be treated the same as before. That's all.

Need help with that? Here are a couple of suggestions.

Talk to me normally. Believe it or not, even though my legs don't work my hearing does. It isn't necessary to use a loud tone of voice when speaking to me. You don't even have to talk slower. I. can. understand. you. just. fine. if. you. talk. to. me. like. you. normally. would.

If you're an employee in the store and seem me coming towards you, don't turn your back and walk away. You don't have to be afraid of me. I may be about to ask if you have olive oil or what aisle the foil is on. This has happened twice so far.

To the server who waited on us the other day... It's also okay to look at me instead of over me or avoid me. You don't have to ask my husband what I want. You also don't have to look at him and ask about a tea refill. When he's drinking soda and I have iced tea, you're better off asking me than him. He might look at you and say "Yes, the lemonade will be fine." Wouldn't that be confusing?

Hopefully this post has helped clear up some misconceptions. If not, then please ask. Feel free to leave a question in the comment section. After all, I can still type and might just answer you back. :-)




3 comments:

  1. Gail I can certainly relate as person with a lifetime disability... I Have many similar stories. You have to be secure in your knowledge, educate others selectively and have a thick skin.
    Perhaps this former blog re important tips may help everyone... http://donnagore.com/tag/tips/

    Donna "Ladyjustice"

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  2. Donna,
    Thanks for the link to your blog. Everyone should check it out. Your point about not letting your disability define you is a good one. I have other heath challenges and have long shared your opinion.

    This blog article has been eye opening for myself and others. I have a couple more rants in mind on the subject. Hopefully things will continue to change as we keep speaking up.

    Speaking up pulled survivors of domestic violence out of the dark ages. There's no reason that it can't do the same for people who happen to have physical challenges.

    Like you, I believe that it's at least worth a try.

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  3. Well said Gail....I have a chronic skin problem for the past 3 years...Give me spastic cerebral palsy any day compared to this...Sooo aggravating and time consuming! We can't let ANYTHING overtake us as our lovely and wise friend,Susan Murphy-Milano used to used to say... DRG

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