Blog Header

Blog Header

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Taste of Disability - Spit it out! Spit it OUT!

Since my last post, I have purchased and have been using forearm crutches to get around.

I love them.

I love them because:

1 - They keep me mobile.
2 - By keeping me mobile, they keep me physically active.
3 - There is considerably less pain walking with them.
4 - Because I hurt less I don't have to take strong pain meds that make me woozy and make me vomit, which is a problem when you spend a good portion of your day on public transportation. No one wants to sit next to Sister Pukes-a-lot.

Some people have told me that they find it sad to see me getting around on my crutches. This always puzzles me because if it wasn't for my crutches, I would not be getting around. I'm sure they see it as evidence of increased disability. In actuality, my crutches keep me from being disabled.

So yesterday, I went for my usual MRI. MRI techs get very unnerved about crutches because they're fairly large and made of metal. I've been told that in the MRI room, they would be, "quite the weapon."

So to be safe, those of us on crutches or metal canes, must use a special wheelchair that must be made out of some sort of metal that isn't affected by magnets.

Now, there's something about a wheelchair that changes how people behave toward you. Here's my example: I'm sitting in this wheelchair in the waiting room, watching Wheel of Fortune (because you're not allowed to change the channel of the TV in the waiting room) and the MRI tech walks up to me. She bends slightly at the waist, looks at me with big, puppy-dog eyes, cocks her head and says very loudly and very slowly, "MS  ASH-TON?  HAVE  YOU  BEEN  ABLE  TO  USE  THE  BATH  ROOM,  YET?"

I was taken aback. I looked at her with a look that my husband and children would certainly recognize as my "WTF!" look. To my horror and without knowing it, I had apparently been given a  wheelchair that  not only makes the occupant lose their hearing, but also drops their IQ at least 50 points.

In response, I sat up tall in the squatty chair and assured her that I was fine and ready to be scanned. The, what I considered, baby talk continued until I moved from wheelchair to MRI table without assistance. Only then did she talk to me like I was an adult person. The question is, was it my ability to move without the wheelchair, or that I was out of the wheelchair that made the difference? I'll never know. What is it about age and infirmity that makes other people act like moronic bone heads?

This experience lends a certain dread to any future day that I might be in a wheelchair on a more permanent basis. I imagine that regularly being treated with condescension could be very, very wearing - and turn you into one bad-ass, snarky bitch.


  1. How you managed not to say, "I'm sorry, do you have a speaking problem? I want to make sure if I need to face you when I speak to you."

    1. I wish I would of thought of this comment at the time. Too funny.

  2. This is both funny and sad at the same time. Heath care workers should really take a step backward and look at the whole person, and obviously, not the vehicle they arrive in; she certainly was not very intuitive and did a lousy job of role playing as the compassionate care-giver. I like "iowapainter's" comment!

    1. I guess I assumed that they're trained for working with all types of people. Perhaps they're not...