When you have any illness that slowly steals away your ability to do what you want when you want, you do the best you can to stay as independent as possible, as long as possible. That independence is something that you cherish and need in order to keep your sanity.
There are times when, due to my illness, I need help. Some days it may be with cleaning, or cooking. Other days it’s just getting around the house or yard. There are days where I know I shouldn’t be driving due to the tremors and headaches, and on those days I either stay locked up in the house, or have someone else get behind the wheel. But for the most part I try to do as much for myself as I can. It is a sense of independence that gives me hope and a desire to keep sloughing through the nightmare I live.
I write all this to make one salient point. Today I was in, what could euphemistically be called, a discussion with another person. As I was trying to explain to this individual the problems related to my condition, they kept interrupting to add their two cents. Rather than LISTENING to the entire content and context of what I was trying to explain, they continued to spout off. As I tried to explain that there are days where I have severe problems with mobility and personal safety due to my condition, this individual decided that, due to my problems, I shouldn’t be driving, and said exactly that.
As I have stated, I KNOW the days when I do not belong behind the wheel. I am acutely aware of them as soon as I wake. And if I have an episode while out, I park my car and wait until the episode has passed. I am not fool enough to endanger myself or others by driving when I am shaking like a leaf in a tornado. The galling part of this entire exchange is that this same person thinks nothing of driving while under the influence of intoxicants, be it alcohol, illegal narcotics or heavy-duty sedatives.
Due to the ignorance that this person decided to show, I did what I normally would do when dealing with a twit, I told them to get the hell out of my house!
It is extremely difficult to have to constantly deal with the ignorance of healthy people. When you come across someone with a “disability” common sense and decency should dictate that you treat them not with pity, but rather with the same courtesy and respect that you would any other person. The majority of truly disabled people I have met over the years (I’m not talking about the ones scamming the system so they can get a free ride) are not wanting anything more than to be allowed to live their lives to the best of their abilities, without having to be a bother to family and friends.
Independence in life is a gift. A gift that we take for granted, and when it is taken from us it is one of the hardest things to give up. I know that there will come a time when I should not and cannot drive. Just as I know there will probably come a time when I need more and more help in taking care of my daily needs. But UNTIL that time, I will be as independent as possible!