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Accomodations for disabled and why law protects them

Updated on September 15, 2009

slight accomodation please

Most of the kindest people I have ever met have popped into my life after I became mobility impaired. Disabled is ok, it sounds better than handicapped but if somone says it, I can usually manage a smile now, though it took a while to get used to the idea that I need a small accommodation now and again. Such as when I'm sitting in a wheel chair and someone tries to walk right over me as if I weren't there. Reaching stuff in the super market is tough sometimes. Even reaching elevator buttons may be difficult if the floor is high enough.

Opening doors is hard from a wheelchair. Cars have been known to back over wheelchairs and their occupants. There is risk from falling objects inside, as other shoppers try to work around you to get their desired objects from higher shelves. Sometimes they even drop objects on the head of the wheelchair occupant who has requested a retrieval.

At home the annoyiing sound of the television is almost not worth the bother of turning it on. A commercial comes on and the sound can be heard a block away. Since I am hard of hearing on one side, it is difficult to find the most optimal setting that won't scare the neighbors out of bed.

Low self-esteem is one of my quirks. I never got used to the notion that others might be willing to help out when required and if the word please is used. Super markets are easy. Moms are the most helpful of all living creatures. i assume it is because of all those kids making demands 24/7.

I even had one follow me home and unload all the groceries for me than take me and her two children out to dinner. she offered to come every week but my present aide would kill me. she is very proprietary about who unloads the groceries.

I have to laugh at the dude who jumped in front of me at Chipotle Grill. A young woman took up my cause for which he replied from his high horse-"we are all disabled in one way or another." I was thinking real hard for an answer but nothing quick came to mind except he does have a point.

He got ahead of me as the young woman glared, but I won out as she saw that I got all the condiments, napkins, a full drinking cup, and sat at my Table protectively while we ate. The in a hurry gentlemen, possibly had to get back to work for a deadline, while I had no such time restraints, at least not that day.

"So what's wrong with you?" she asked, in her most diplomatic fashion. Ok; I'm gonna tell her, says I. Brain damage, a more or less continually running nose, broken twice. Both legs fractured at different times and one knee transplanted but infected and since removed. Back broken three places, chronic kidney infection with one kidney almost half the size of the other. Deafness, right ear and blindness almost total in right eye. Complete lack of depth perception. Jungle rot that seems to worsen in warm weather which is really gross without the special medication applied once or twice daily. A healed broken, collar bone on the left side. A broken, mangled but healed ring finger on the right hand. Chronic depression and anxiety. top three vertebrae in the neck are fused. I am disabled. But there is a lot that is right with me too.

There really isn't much of an advantage to being disabled. The little old ladies who walk up and say : Get out of that chair and walk! I know you can do it! are amusing but I'm not convinced it will work. There is more time to observe life, however, and that is something.

We may act like we are not poor but we are. Special diets, vitamins, and medications, wound dressings and other implements that make life possible, if not comfortable are not always paid 100% and some are not paid at all. The ramp to replace my steps cost $5000., of which the VA pays $1500.00(when I can afford to have it done.) Medication co-pays are about $200.00 a month. A specialist is a $50.00 co-pay..

There are many who cannot afford health care at all. So I'm not complaining. There are some older people in my neighborhood who are home bound, which means they cannot go out for any reason. Food, oxygen, all the basic necessities of living are delivered by truck.

There are thousands of young people maimed terribly by bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan who cannot walk and worse. when I see people carrying signs against health care reform, these returning soldiers are the people that will be affected by whatever decisions come out of Washington that will impact their lives for decades to come.

Will they be resented for the cost of their healthcare? Will impediments be placed in their way so they may not compete with peers who have all their limbs, their hearing, or their sight? Will they face hostility as I do sometimes when I am able to drive and pull into an empty disabled parking spot? What are they thinking? Why are they angry when they have adequate mobility and two working arms?

Will they be stared at, ignored, or denied an accomodation such as a bagger in a grocery store, a ramp to get up a high curb, or a bathroom that cannot be accessed by .wheelchair? Sometimes even a level sidewalk may make a disabled persons whole day.

Will someone listen when you say, " I am brain damaged, not stupid or crazy, nor do i pose a threat to you or anyone else." Will you help; me with this or that concept? I have observed some people positively glow after performing an act of kindness for a disabled person. I get more from this than the actual act such as the jar I dropped and broke at a store recently.

"Are you all right!!?? exclaimed a Mexican gentleman., "Esta Bien?" as he pushed me out what he perceived as harms way. "uno momento, por favor." Just a minuter please, as he raced to the aisle and returned with a new jar to replace the one I had broken. Bien, gracias amigo, great,-thanks my friend, I said. De nada, You are welcome, he breathed and smiled as he rushed to catch up with his wife and family who were all smiles. Papa ayuder hombre, exclaimed a small lad who, in those brief seconds, had learned a valuable, life long lesson.

I watched them head out to the parking lot. Yes, papa had helped this man more than he would ever know.





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