Throughout all my (medical) ordeals, I’ve had to change the way I do just about everything. Even the smallest things that most people doesn’t even give a second thought to, I have to think out. Before all this, I was a completely self-reliant young adult. So having to rely so much on others is extremely difficult. But I’m now (very slowly) beginning to reclaim bit by little bit of my independence.
*Note: This picture of a walker is the closest one I could find to the one I have. I’m also posting a picture of the wheels I bought in order to substitute the pain of stoppers on the second half of the walker. This way my walker is able to handle much tougher terrain (ie gravel in the alley and grass).
Tonight my dad, sister, and I went out for dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, Souplantation/Sweet Tomatoes. That in and of itself sounds ordinary enough, but up until recently I had been unable to sit for long enough to even be able to go out to a restaurant! Not only that, but I was even able to ‘just’ use the walker to walk into the restaurant (and left the wheelchair in the car just in front of the restaurant)! One of the times I had gotten up with my sister to get some soup I noticed several kids staring at me, I deliberately made eye contact with them and smiled and kept going on my way. When we returned to the table my sister commented to me about the kids staring and how it really bothered her. I told her that it really didn’t bother me that kids were staring as they don’t know any better (adults staring is a whole different issue). I also understand that it is uncommon to see an obviously young adult struggling to walk with a full leg brace and walker.
Personally, I’d have been fine if any of the kids had questions for me and then turn it into a teachable moment. Instead of them just left to wonder “what’s wrong with her.” I can’t speak for other people with disabilities, but I’d rather be asked questions than just be stared at. And as long as I’m being spoken to politely, I am happy to answer questions. What does bother me is when adults stare or ignore me when I politely say “excuse me” and ask them to move out-of-the-way. And if any of you have any questions for me, I’m happy to answer. I know my circumstances are unique.
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