Yesterday Jay and I got into a debate about how society should treat the disabled. However, the conversation really started a couple of years ago after I heard his step-dad’s famous France story. His step-dad had polio as a child and, as a result, doesn’t have full use of his right leg. He walks around with a cane, but is still fairly mobile. Many years ago while in France he was waiting with his family (including Jay) in the long line up for The Louvre. After a very short time someone from the museum came rushing up to them (seeing the cane) and said that they shouldn’t have to stand in the long line up (out in the sun). They were whisked to the front of the line.
I have had a mild weight problem since I hit puberty; I didn’t lose my baby fat like most of my peers. My mother had a significant weight problem, and she struggled with it her whole life. My metabolism isn’t amazing, but at 16 I managed to get to a weight I was comfortable with. Soon after I was diagnosed with a thyroid goiter and then less than a year later, after a family tragedy, I fell into a deep depression.
During the next 5 years I gained, and then lost 80 lbs. I hated myself and stopped really living. I felt like my old self inside, but my mirror mocked me. I tried to watch what I ate, and I tried to exercise but my weight kept creeping up. My doctor told me I wasn’t working hard enough. I could feel the stares from the strangers on the street and the pity from my friends. It took me 3 years to realize that the anti-depressants (perhaps with a side order of thyroid issues) might be the problem. It took me another 1 year to convince myself that they were definitely the problem. It wasn’t until I lost the weight that I convinced my psychiatrist. I’m still not sure my family doctor believes me.
I saw this article in my local newspaper and it made me think. This is an issue that I am very conflicted about. I haven’t really come to an absolute decision about this- it’s a really complicated issue.
The humanitarian in me instantly thinks that everyone should have equal access to everything. In an ideal world this would most certainly be the case. I sympathize with Mike who says: “You can’t live a spontaneous life, especially in the winter.” While I do not know what it’s like to be confined to a wheelchair I do understand the concept of having to plan out activities or change plans due to accessibility or disability. I agree that businesses should be wheelchair accessible, and have no problem with disability parking. But when it comes down to it, making everything accessible to everyone is just not realistic.
One thing I really don’t like about asthma is nighttime symptoms. I’m pretty lucky that my asthma is not primarily active at night, but sometimes it keeps me up.
One of the scariest feelings in the world is waking up gasping for air. It usually starts with a dream in which I can’t breathe and then I wake up having an attack. After a few of these episodes I started to be extra careful about making sure I’m symptom free before I go to bed.
Sometimes I still end up awake in the middle of the night waiting to feel better. It’s incredibly lonely. It’s times like this where the isolation of chronic illness really hits me. With my partner lying next to me, and all my friends asleep, I feel very alone.
I don’t think most people realise that having a chronic illness isn’t convenient. It doesn’t subside when you need to sleep, or on your vacation, or when that report is due. It wouldn’t be so maddening if you could turn it off for an hour. It’s kind of like living with a perpetual infant (without the babysitter).
All I can do is make sure I’m stable before I go to bed and keep my reruns of “Friends” close at hand. For now, I’m going to try and get some sleep.