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Monday, November 29, 2010

Handicap Parking & The "Not So" Disabled

I know a while back somewhere along the line, I had touched on this subject. But seeing as I hate "recycling" posts and honestly, I really don't wish to go through my previous 192 posts to find the sucker, I shall write about Handicap Parking Spaces...again.

Thanks to someone I follow on Twitter, who shall remain nameless (and genderless) as to protect their identity, the subject has once more come to me, especially with Christmas shopping in full swing and the fact that some shoppers can be real humbugs about parking lots and parking spaces.

My Mother and Father-In-Law both have poor health. Primarily my Mother-In-Law. She has Systemic Lupus. Systemic Lupus affects all the main organs (including lungs and heart), as well as muscles throughout the body. She literally is drained even after a short shopping trip for groceries. It doesn't take much for her to tire out or to bruise, or get sore throughout her body.

When she goes to public places, she parks in Handicap stalls. She looks fine. She walks fine. She sees and hears just fine. She walks (for the most part) fine. But indeed, she IS legally disabled.

No one can see (unless you REALLY know her, or of her condition) her internal handicap. Her illness that is tucked within her own body.

So, when she climbs out of her van and starts walking "normally" in to the store, I have been witness to a few stares and sneers. People in general think that she is just being lazy.

Yes, she is heavy set (not fat), but that is NOT due to being "lazy" or over eating, seeing as she has to watch her intake, due to her Colostomy Bag (that she craps in to, having only two INCHES of her colon, thanks to cancer). The Lupus plays with your weight as well.

And it can mess up her breathing. After a while, you can hear her breaths get heavier, as she tires. Hence why her trips to the store are as minimal as she can make them.

When I was little (as in a toddler), I was allowed to be on "Day Trips" from the hospital (for new readers, I didn't go home until I was almost 3 YEARS old, due to many medical problems at birth). My parents had a Handicap Sticker to use when I was with them, seeing as I had to have my medical equipment close by in the car in case I had a breathing situation (a suctioning machine for my trache).

An elderly lady called the police on my parents (I know I spoke of this last time lol) because she didn't see where any of us were handicapped and "required" a spot for those that were REALLY handicapped.

Needless to say, my parents were caught off guard when a Police Officer side stepped them inside the store and let them know what was transpiring. After hearing this, my mother took me (in the cart) and walked off to "cool down" after eying the lady that made the report.

My poor dad. He had to take the officer outside and SHOW HIM the equipment, sitting there on the floorboard of the back seat area of the car. The Police Officer thanked him and apologized for the intrusion and the trouble (as well as the embarrassment) that the situation caused.

After going back inside, the officer pulled the lady aside and let her have it for being a nosy old bag. He even took HER to see that INDEED I was LEGALLY afforded that spot and why. Also, she got a better look at ME, sitting in the cart and started to cry (by my understanding of what my dad said), all the while apologizing to my parents.

My mother walked off without accepting the apology, due to the humiliation and the rudeness of the woman in the first place. Plus, it kept Mom from wanting to punch the old woman (by what was told).

So, the next time you see someone parking in a designated Handicap spot, don't be so quick to judge by their outward appearance. You don't know their full medical history and what may be going on internally.

Believe me when I say that there are days when I really wish I had a sticker/plate due to my son and his "outbursts" (due to his mental disorders that LEGALLY make him 'disabled' by our state) that he has. I'd be able to get him out of where we are and out to the car MUCH quicker when an episode hits. Most of the time, we are parked most of the way towards the end of the lot area. Just my luck I guess.


singedwingangel said...

OH i have had the same thing with my mom. and I have goneOFF on people.. I am also one of those that will call the law if your butt is in that spot illegally

djpr said...

I'm SO with you on that one. I remember when I was a little kid and my Mom's best friend went through the same thing. She'd had about twelve heart attacks (which she eventually died from) but didn't "look" disabled. Can't remember the number of times I had to come to her defense. People need to just STFU and mind their own business!

Fijufic said...

I am so fortunate that I am not handicapped. I am glad I can walk the extra distance.

Gina Alfani said...

Awesome post! People with severe arthritis go through similar experiences . . .

I am following you from Magical Monday . . . hope you get a chance to visit my blogs!

Have an awesome day . . . Gina

Ashley said...

I guess people don't even think that there can be a handicap that you can't see. We are a sadly narrow minded species.

Adoption of Jane said...

I love this post. I am so sorry your family had to go through that. I am even thinking of getting a handicapped sign for my Autistic son when we travel by car. If we don't get where we are going and quick it can be a huge issue. Hidden Disabilities can be rough sometime. Although I don't have a car now, i would hang it in any car i see. Good for you for pointing this out. Also send me your email so later when I make the blog I can add you.. your no reply so I couldnt reply to your message. Hugs & Love, Jane

Adoption of Jane said...

oops i meant "i would hang it in any car i am in".

Eschelle said...

some people i am glad that cow was crying she deserved to feel like a horrible horrible person and despicable human being.

Alida said...

some people have nothing better to do with their lives than to pass judgment on others... good grief.

New follower here from the blog hop! You can follow me back at:

Diana said...

This is such a wonderful post!! I have very bad arthritis. My one knee is completely trashed and can't afford the surgery as yet. We're hoping for next year. I don't have a handicap sticker but do use the wheelchairs on occasion when it's really bad. I am so embarrassed because it doesn't LOOK like there's anything wrong with me. But If I walk the whole store, I can't walk the rest of the day!
I guess you could say "You shouldn't judge a book by it's cover" would be right on here! Thanks for posting this! Love Di ♥

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