Monday, January 9, 2017

Assumptions and Ability

Some things came to me this weekend that got me thinking. First is that not all disabilities are easily discerned; the second would be that even with my disability, I am far more mobile than the average person.

I guess that having a blue tag gives me an advantage. Yes, I use it when parking at work, sometimes at the local stores and malls. I don't really need to, but I like to have the freedom to open my door completely to get out of my car without fear that I will bump the car next to me. But some of the scowls I get from other people are withering. I have been lectured, with fingers pointed squarely at my nose. Honestly, I cannot wait for summer when I can wear shorts again. I never get those looks when my disability is easily seen. Since I walk with a barely discernible limp, and can walk faster than a lot of people, owning to my 6 foot 6 inch frame, people tend to not notice that I have anything wrong with me.

The doctors gave me the blue tag about a year before my amputation, primarily to keep me from walking too much. I use it to garner extra space to open my doors. I have no problem walking in across the parking lot. I used to get upset when I would see someone that I did not expect to need a tag. This attitude changed when I saw a young, blond girl pop out of a nice new car and run into the store. I was pretty upset at first, and was planning on saying something. I assumed that she was simply using someone else's blue tag. Suddenly I realized who it was.

Her name is Patience Beard. She is an University of Arkansas cheerleader. Her story is amazing, Click the link on her name to read an article I found on her. She was wearing leggings that covered her leg and I suddenly got the whole picture of why people get so angry when they see me parking there. Not to say I am a beautiful young college student and athlete, but I am relatively young and healthy compared to many that need a blue tag. I can easily walk in from a regular parking spot.

As a matter of fact brings me about to my second point, I am a lot more active than many of my peers. Some of whom are 10-15 years younger than I am. I hike, I fish, I ride my bike. I walk for exercise and occasionally I can jog. i still don't like to run, but mostly because my prosthetic leg is so much lighter than my remaining limb, and that throws me off balance during the run. I am getting better at it and learning to trust my residual limb and prosthetic. One thing that makes this easy is the Rush™ Foot 87 that I have. It is rated out more than 100 lbs heavier than I am, I hop over mountain creeks, I can hop off short ledges and onto uneven terrain without thinking about it. It is still a bit stiff and does tend to want to push my leg into the resting position, but I can overcome this with little thought. I absolutely love my rush foot.

What really amazes me is how slow some people walk, Kind of like walking through a casting for the zombie apocalypse. I constantly pass people several times when grocery shopping. It might just be me being impatient, but I honestly believe that I am out here to have my second chance at life... I want to take it by the horns and get every last little bit of it. It helps me find my happy place.

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