Best Things About Being Disabled: Top Ten

Before I start this list, I would like everyone to know that I am not making fun of or minimizing the difficulties of being disabled. Anyone in their right mind, and most of us who aren’t; understand that living with a disability can be very difficult. I am disabled, so I have freedom to talk about this. Remember, laughter makes everything easier…except maybe eating with your mouth closed.

#10. Handicapped parking – Imagine trying to find a parking spot when someone takes the one you were about to get. Suddenly a handicap spot opens up and you can hang your placard, laugh your best villain laugh, and stick your tongue out at the driver who is now parked several cars behind you.

#9. People are nice (in general) – Our dog got out of the back yard and knocked over a little neighborhood girl (another reason cats are better). When the mom came over to yell at us and I came to the door in my wheelchair, she blushed and started explaining that she just wanted to make sure that the dog wasn’t mean and her kids didn’t need to fear it…silly kids. Now, I don’t recommend letting your dogs out to terrorize the neighborhood, but I do not think she would have had the same attitude if I had not been in a wheelchair. Ok, that one’s not too funny. Sorry.

#8. You can pull great April Fools Day pranks – I can carefully lie on the floor with ketchup all over me and totally get my husband/kids ha ha… Okay, so I don’t actually do that because it would be mean. To all you kids out there, April Fools Day is the best holiday of the year, but people should never pull pranks that cause others to worry or cry. (Although you can think about them and write about them on your blog).

#7. You have access to some of the coolest gadgets out there – My wheelchair is the deluxe model, (pink flames, full tilt, leg lift, can bring up to eye level/counter height, etc.) but you know what I like even more? My grabber. Even if you are not disabled, you should get one of these things. It can pick up small pieces of paper, things that weigh about 3 lbs, and can reach into small cracks that your hand could never fit in. I got one for free from the therapists (best thing about breaking my hip), but you can buy them online and probably in some stores. Here’s a link:

#6. Provides great writing material – If you enjoy writing, having a disability can provide some great ideas. I am working on my books The Art of Wetting Yourself, The Silence of the Hamstrings, I’ve Fallen and Can’t Reach My Grabber, and a few others. Look for them soon at a bookstore near you!

#5. Life slows down – Not only can you “stop to smell the roses”, but you can also make people walking behind you uncomfortable, notice the dust all over your house, pretend you are dancing under a strobe light by stopping every few feet to rest and changing your pose, and other fun things.

#4. Access to painkillers – Sure it would be better if you didn’t have the pain to begin with, but at least we can go to the pharmacy to pick them up instead of hanging around a high school parking lot. (Doing drugs in never funny and is illegal without a prescription for it. I just used that as #4 because I am running out of ideas).

#3. A whole new assortment of accessories – walker skins, cup holders for your wheelchair, bags to hook on to your assistive devices, etc. (I use a fanny-pack thing with 2 cup holders and a zipper pouch in the middle strapped on to my walker). Not only is it easier to find things than with a purse, it has cupholders…when are the purse manufacturers going to figure that one out?)

#2. Little children stare at you – Ok, I know it sounds like that would be a bad thing, but think of all the embarrassed parents. All the lectures going on about how kids shouldn’t stare at people who are different, etc. If you added it all up, I bet you would be as well-known as any movie star. (Too bad we don’t make money off people watching us).

#1. You have an opportunity to reach out to the world – Although sometimes (especially around a certain time each month) I am sure I get as depressed/angry/suicidal as anyone else, but if I am having a good day, I like to think that maybe I made a difference in someone’s life. Whether it is just by showing my kids that they can’t let life’s circumstances get them down (unless again, it is that time of the month) or helping someone realize that there is always someone worse off than you, so suck it up and quit complaining. Sometimes life throws you a curve and you just have to do what you can and to do what you love.

I hope I have not offended anyone with this post. I also really need to take my advice because I have it pretty great compared to a lot of people. If you have a disability or know someone who was just diagnosed with something, please also read Sometimes it is helpful to make people laugh and other times it is better just to let them cry, and to cry with them. Thanks.

12 responses to “Best Things About Being Disabled: Top Ten”

  1. Excellent post. I have known since my first day in kindergarten that all people are disabled, whether they qualify for a parking sticker or not!

    • I think the best thing to do is what you would do to anyone else. I guess one problem is that if the disabled person was newly injured or diagnosed, they might be self-conscious, and some disabled people are bitter, but I think that is the same with everyone regardless of their physical condition. I like people to look me in the eyes, and smile. If I am having a hard time reaching something or opening a door, I really appreciate help, but they had a segment on the t.v. show “what would you do” with a disabled woman being followed around by a “helpful” woman, which would definitely be annoying.

      I don’t think you ever need to pretend not to see someone, again regardless of disability. I also don’t mind if people ask me what my disability is although some disabled people might. The thing is that we are each individuals and will react differently, but if you just treat us like you would anyone else, you should be pretty safe.

  2. 11) Visual aids. This is a variation on your accessories. In your situation in particular, one look and people know upfront you have “issues.” Not so for those of us with (serious) chronic illnesses. Because of those visual aids, you’re probably not blown off right away as *being dramatic,* looking for sympathy, * a hypochrondriac, because, after all, “you look just fine….”

    Adding to the grabber, a back scratcher- those things are like another little hand, and are handy (har har) for all kinds of things!

    • Back scratcher is definitley a plus I should have mentioned. I do understand about the invisible elements of illnesses too. When I first diagnosed with MS I was “relapsing/remitting” and I would have visable symptoms for a while, weeks or months, and then I would appear normal and would be relatively outside symptom free. This year is the first I have have been in a wheelchair although I started using a walker last year. I also have a couple friends with fibermyalsia who experience the stigma you are talking about. It is very hard when you don’t feel fine, but everyone thinks you should act fine or that you are pain-free.

%d bloggers like this: