I have a pet peeve. Just ask my husband. It used to be, that every morning, being the sweet man that he is, my husband would say, “So, how are you feeling?” And I would get mad. I don’t know why we went through that almost every morning but we did. I would say, “Do you have to ask me that?” And he would say, “Yes because I care about you!” And, I would know that he did so I would feel bad for getting mad….and do it all again the next morning.
Why am I sensitive about that question? It took me awhile to figure it out but once I did, I shared it with my husband and now I don’t get mad every morning…because he doesn’t ask.
The reason I would get so upset every morning, when he would ask about my health, is because it made me feel sickly. It made me feel medically fragile. Here I fight and struggle and work hard to have good health and be independent and some of the first words I heard every morning made me feel sick. When I shared my heart with my man, he listened. I know his motive was right, but it was offensive to me. He loves me and doesn’t want to hurt me, so he stopped asking that question.
Many people are not my hubby though. There is a strong stereotype in “Disabilityland” that treats those of us with disabilities like we are medically fragile. Let me clarify, that there are some with disabilities who truly are medically fragile and there is no shame in that at all. But there are many others of us, who are not.
More than once, I have:
~ Been leaned down over and talked to very loudly. (I can hear you now)
~ Been grabbed and pushed without my permission. (I wonder what you would do if I just up and grabbed you as you were walking down the sidewalk)
~ Watched my husband get handed my paperwork to be signed. (Do I really look like I can’t write?)
~ Been told to be careful if I get near a set of steps. (How did you manage to get near them without my caution?)
~ Been looked at as crazy when I say I have kids. (YOU can have children?!!)
~ Watched my hubby get tons of sympathy that his sex life is over. (Really?!!! TMI – sorry, but did someone miss the parenting statement?!)
~ Been surrounded with many helping hands when I am about to make a transfer. (I promise I can do this all by myself.)
~ Been asked if I am okay, do you need anything, are you comfortable, is there something we can get you, can you breath, does your pulse still work….okay, so I am exaggerating a little on the last two, but I think you get the idea.
Here is the deal. I am not trying to be ugly, but I am NOT medically fragile!! Yes, there are things that go with paralysis that can happen unplanned.
I have been known to:
~ Miss an appointment because I could not leave the bathroom because something I ate didn’t settle well. (pretty self explanatory)
~ Have a bathroom accident in a public setting (gasp!)
~ Be hit with a tidal wave of fatigue and have to go lay down for awhile…or sleep in.(too many days in a row going full blast)
~ Get the start of a pressure sore that puts me out of commission so it can heal.(don’t mess with these things!)
~ Need to get out of my chair and stretch my legs out for pain. (which could compare to you standing all day and wanting to sit down!)
~ Get a UTI that makes me feel like I have the flu. (common problem!)
These are things that go with the territory, but I am not medically fragile. I am strong and I feel great. Honestly, most of the time I do. These are things that may seem big to you, but to us, we are used to these things and how to deal with them. I don’t feel angry at anyone about any of these things. I just think it is a stereotype that needs education. And, I am here to educate.
Recently, I joined a Crossfit gym. I was just waiting to be handed a pair of dumbbells and showed how to strengthen my arms (again). I was pleasantly surprised when my trainer came to me and said,
“Here is the deal. I don’t really see that chair and you will be out of it as much as you are in it. If you ask me for help, I will say no…unless I have slap worn you out and exhausted you. Then, I will help just because I don’t want you to get hurt here.”
I could have hugged him!! Thank you! Thank you for not seeing me as medically fragile! Thank you for helping me improve myself, get stronger and not hold me back because I am paralyzed.
We disabled can be just as guilty of this stereotype as the able-bodied world. We can give ourselves excuse after excuse as to why “I can’t do this because….” I don’t buy it and neither should you.
About once a week, on this blog, I will be writing about my experiences with adapted Crossfit. You will see pictures, hear what we are doing, and my opinion about it all (it is my blog right?). I want to do my part in helping to change the face of disability. It is a new world of opportunities that our past generations did not have. We can drive, we can love, we can parent, we can play, and we can do it in a country that thinks positively of us. There are so many countries where this is not true! So, let’s quit whining and get in gear!
And to those we know and love….let us. We
can do are doing it!
2 thoughts on “Paralyzed….Or Medically Fragile?”
I really appreciate this post. I’m not paralyzed, but do use a chair, and the number of times where I have just wanted to smack someone for treating me as “less than” are uncountable. Most people with disabilities, I think, work really hard to remain independent and strong, and while we don’t want special recognition for it, we do want to be treated as the competent adults that we are.