Wednesday, April 27, 2016

X-Rays

I can't do museums or zoos or any activity with lots of standing. I can walk. If we walk like we mean it, I do okay. My heart rate will get high, and I'll need to take breaks, and I'll gasp a bit, but don't make me stand. If I stand, all kinds of things go wrong. I can't meander. I am a river, not a stream.

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So, I use a wheelchair when we go to those places. I dislike it. I like the wheelchair itself. I love being able to enjoy things without worrying about my blood pressure and the cascade of symptoms. I don't love people who look at me like I'm doing something wrong. I don't love how guilty I feel, which isn't anyone's fault other than my own. I'm trying to learn that self-care and self-confidence go together.

There are a whole host of illnesses, diseases, and reasons why someone who can walk might need to use a wheelchair. Just because someone doesn't limp or use oxygen when getting out of a car, doesn't mean they are faking the need for a handicap tag.

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Recognizing that there are perspectives, experiences, and realities that are not visible to the eye is an important step toward being kind and compassionate.

For those interested - the giveaway for a Kindle copy of Grendelsong, which includes one of my short stories - is happening on the last day of the A to Z Challenge to celebrate!

Please leave me a comment with your favorite short story or short story author and why to be eligible for the drawing!


13 comments:

  1. Lovely, heart-warming post. Thanks for sharing. I like the thoughtful quote: "Recognizing that there are perspectives, experiences, and realities that are not visible to the eye is an important step toward being kind and compassionate." So true!

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  2. All kinds of invisible illnesses lurk among us. Not everything is visible to our limited physical sight. Thank you for sharing and reminding. Glenda from
    Evolving English Teacher

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  3. Great post! It is a reminder to us all not to leap to judgements. Also, it is good that you approach the thing from a practical angle, doing what you need to do in order to enjoy an experience, and not allowing machismo to dominate your decision-making process. It reminds me a little of a cousin of mine who is legally blind. She can see, but not well, so for lots of purposes, she must consider herself to be totally blind.

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    1. Well, mostly I'm practical because my husband holds up a mirror and says, "Hey, silly!" :)

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  4. So true - too many people don't understand invisible illnesses, thinking if you look okay on the outside then you must be okay.

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    1. Yes! It's easy to forget. Thanks for stopping by to visit the blog. :)

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  5. All three of my siblings face the challenges of different "invisible illnesses." One sister has lupus, the other has spinal adhesive arachnoiditis and my brother is epileptic. They have all had their struggles with judgments/assumptions of strangers and even friends and family.

    I absolutely agree with your statement that recognizing that not everything is visible to the eye is a step toward kindness and compassion.

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    1. That's so hard. Another aspect that often stays hidden in chronic illness is the strain on families and caregivers. Thank you for sharing this.

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  6. Hmm I maybe missed it, but did you express how those "looks" that seem to imply you are doing something wrong is imagined or very real? I'd imagine in the moment it seems very real regardless, but I'm just not as familiar with people having negative emotions towards someone because they are in a wheelchair.

    It sucks not being able to stand for long periods of time, but know that even fit healthy people sometimes can't accomplish that! I find it better to have the option of a wheelchair to enjoy and experience things much more positive than without. Regardless of what anyone else may or may not think.

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  7. I think it's real, and I have heard plenty of stories from others who have had rude comments and challenges. My goal is to not let it bother me and know that I have the support of family, friends, and science. :)

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    1. I'm surprised, and that's terrible :( Douchecanoes everywhere!

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