Bee's Hive

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Let's label the handicapped so we know how to treat them

I am so into Christmas right now, enjoying all the magic that happens at this time of the year. I have tried all day to avoid saying anything about this subject but it is really bothering me.

It is really hard to live in a wheelchair. I know who I was, even feel myself running and jumping through life. It's heart breaking to know you can't do something so little anymore because you don't have the use of your spine or legs. It also makes me angry & depressed but at the end of the day, there is nothing I can do about it.

People in general either don't see you or are annoyed that you are there. I can't tell you how many times I've used a handicapped ramp only to find that I am shut out of a building because they don't have an electronic door. I'm not talking about little privately owned stores. I'm talking about the Post Office, Social Security and even my doctor's office. It takes away a lot of your dignity when you have to travel with a poker so you can beat on a door for entry.

Recently I visited the moving wall across the street from my home in the community park. The city had recently repaved the street, raising the street level above the handicapped payment ramp. This caused my front wheels to become trapped in a ditch when I tried to cross the street to the park. People stared at me, ignored me or looked at me annoyed because I was out and not home where people like me belong.

What has me wound up today is reading the blog of an injured military boy. I know people make suggestions from their heart but maybe they should put themself in that persons place before they decide what should be done with them. To stop people from staring, it was suggested that a "sign" be pinned to the wheelchair saying your looking at a hero. Or, wear a hat that makes this statement.

Maybe everyone should wear a sign pinned to them..head lice, divorced, gay, herpes, welfare victim, retarded, diseased. How would they feel? The little dignity those of us manage to hang onto when sitting in our chair would fly out the window once we had our "sign" pinned to us. Adding the word "hero" doesn't change anything, in fact, those who might not stare will stop to read the sign.

You have to get a tough skin when your in a wheelchair. You have to learn to deal with rude people. I'm not going to wear a sign or a hat so people know how to treat me. It's much easier to look them in the eye and tell them they are being rude.


tisme said...

Holee, it breaks my heart reading your posting on handicapped. My brother has Huntingtons Disease and people are always staring at him, makes me want to scream, and my sister also has the disease. About one month ago, she was stopped by the police for driving to slow (so they said), in reality, she had stopped at a take out restaurant for hot wings and the people there called the police on her, saying she was drunk! The police made her take a breathalyser and she passed it. Then they told her, she had to walk a straight line, she can not do this because of the disease, they told her to touch her nose, same thing here. They put her in handcuffs and took her to the hospital for a blood test, all the time she kept telling them it was the disease that caused her problems. Finally they took her back to the police station and told her to call someone to come and get her!! She told them she does not remember numbers for people, they are on her phone by number 1, 2, etc. Finally they called the bar where her sons girlfriend worked and told them to get ahold of the girlfriend and tell her that some relative was being held at the jail and needed to be picked up!
Tell me how do they get away with that!! I am sorry, I ranted on, on your blog. I have tears streaming down my face just writing this. Maybe she should of had a sign!!

Holee said...

Tammy, you can rant on my blog anytime you want too! I didn't even really touch on the subject like I wanted too.

If they could, most people would lock us in a closet so they didn't have to deal with this ugly.

lani said...

I always look anyone less fortunate right in the eye and smile becuase they are no different then me I can just use more parts of my body but I sure bet when it comes to brains you can out think this girl any day..god bless love the season

everythingquilts said...

Holee, My DGD is wheel chair bound, I don't really look at her as handicapped, but others treat her like she has the plague or something. My daughter always says I hope she find someone to love her when she gets big. I can't imagine anyone not loving her, but the truth is, if she could walk the boys would probably be knocking the door down, but she'll probably get passed by, by most because of her inabilities. It hurts my soul to know that she will with no doubt face the ridicule from others. It does make you want to put a sign on her saying , it's okay to talk to me, I won't hurt you.

elsie123 said...

Wow, Holee, what an eye-opener. I guess I just assumed that in this day and age, people would be past such discriminatory actions to the disabled. I can almost understand those that won't look (almost) because they don't want to acknowledge that it could be them at some point. But the rudeness I can't understand at all. There's no excuse.

Amy a.k.a. dragonryder4 said...

I see stupid rude people everyday in my job, it makes me so mad how some of my clients are treated by the public :( I have jumped on a few PCA's at work for how they treat the clients,matter of fact Friday I almost got fired for jumping on a PCA, sometimes people really amaze me and not in a good way either.

Holee said...

Donna, your DGD will find her way in this world, maybe in college she'll meet that person who looks at her heart and not her disability. But, she'll never have an easy road as long as people are so heartless and rude... teach her to never take a back seat, fight for what she has earned in life.

Gina said...

I can't believe that people would suggest putting a sticker on someone to label them as different. Does that mean we should feel sorry for the 'Hero' but pass the other disadvantaged by without so much as a hello.
the problem is people do not know how to react and so they stick their head in the sand.

love and hugs Gina xxx

Linda said...

AMEN!!! My middle daughter is handicapped. To look at her you seen a teenager full of life, walking around, joking with her friends. BUT... what you don't see is the MONTHS (over a 7 year period the total is 3 years 5 months in casts!) that she has spent having her feet reconstructed. What you don't see is how after school and work and play she sits in her recliner chair with her feet elevated and falls asleep for an hour or two before having to stay up till 11 or 12 to get her homework done!
We recently applied for a handicapped parking placard. Of course, it was approved right off. Her first time using it, she wanted me in the car. No problem, we went for errands. I sat in the car while she drove, parked, and went into her work. Some *** person had the NERVE to tell her to move her car!! I got out of the car and he said to me that she has no right to park in handicapped unles I am going into the store too - HELLO! I am not the one handicapped - I am just! LOL Lets just say, I set him straight along with pictures and told him he better think before he speaks from now on! :D Poor Jess is afraid to use the placard now... :( Not sure how to convince her the benefits outway the bad comments. :(
Thank you for your post!!! Thank you for speaking up for yourself & others! Maybe everyone should wear a sign (anyone know the song by Jeff Foxworthy & Bill Engvall! lol) I have some wonderful suggestions they can tape to their forehead :D
((((((((((big hugs!!!)))))))))

craftydiane said...

If I was you I would just tell these people they are being rude when they stare! I work at a medical supply store and deal with people of all kinds here. I don't look at any one person any differently then the other, whether they are old, in wheelchairs, or whatever. They are all people and all deserve the same respect. I don't have an electric door here, but I can see out the glass door and windows and if I see someone in a wheelchair or on a walker or crutches or just old and feeble coming to my door I get up and go open it for them. It is just the proper and kind thing to do.
Have a Blessed Day,

Holee said...

Your comment has said something I failed to say in my post. "We" don't want people to have to open doors for us. We want the same as everyone else has..a door that we can open.

It's my experience with my doctor's office and my medical supply that they are raking in a lot of money on "we" people. There is absolutely no reason for these doors to not have at the very least, a door bell. The proper thing for any doctor or medical supply or drug store to have is an electronic door. My last purchase from a medical supply was $2700. for my chair...and I couldn't get out the door with it on my own!

As a whole person you may not be able to know how we feel. Next time you come to a door try to think how you would feel to have everyone look at the door, the person who can't get in, the pity or discuss on the faces of the people looking.

People can go into a drug store and buy a 50 cent candy bar and get in and out without making a scene, but I go to pay $1300. a month for medicine and by the time I leave I am embarassed, singled out, made to feel disadvantaged and in a fool. I can't even use the credit card swipe myself because it's too high and too far back on the counter!

The reason people become "shut-in" is not because they want to live that way, it's because of normal people who treat us like freaks. In my own home I don't have to deal with the stares and pity, the remarks and inability to have access to normal things.

I've only been in a chair for 2 years so I can look back at how life was. When people smiled at me it was because they liked me, not pitied me. I could go anywhere and not have to worry if I could get in or if there would be a handrail in a restroom or a water fountain low enough for me to get a drink.

I know you mean well by opening the door, but in a medical supply where handicapped people will go, the door should be made so they can open it themself.

Candace said...

This post makes me sad, and a little ashamed. I don't remember any particular incident, but I'm sure that I've been guilty of not being as natural as I'd like at times. I say natural instead of sensitive, as I feel that everyone would want to be treated naturally (assuming that the treater is human and not ignorant), and not sensitively, as that word kind of says "different". I have a granddaughter who was born with a club foot, and she has had several surgeries, and has had to endure quite a bit in her short life. She is beautiful, has an A- average in high school, works 2 part time jobs, and still, because she has a slight limp, has been made fun of in school to where she just goes and leaves as soon as she can. She's a senior now. Her brother is smart and sweet, but has been home schooled for the past 2 years because the kids made fun of him so much because his speech isn't completely perfect. He is in seventh grade. My mother passed away with ALS this past April, and lived with me the last 20 months of her life. After the first few months she never left the house, partly because she was so exhausted all the time, and partly because she didn't want to deal with the "looks". I would pray that I don't make anyone feel uncomfortable or different or inferior in any way because of my actions or lack of.