Saturday, August 13, 2011

the Sidewalk Ambassador

Dear Sirs and Madams,

I assure you, I see every stare, every sideways glance, and every double take. The fellow walking down the sidewalk on his cellphone stopping dead to stare at me as I get out of my van and walk around it to pull out my wheelchair and wheel myself up onto the sidewalk. The college girls who hurry past me and then take furtive glances back as they wonder what's wrong with me. The mother who looks at me with sympathy and a small dose of "thank goodness that's not me" as she herds her children across the street while mine wait patiently for me to maneuver to the crosswalk.

As Sidewalk Ambassador, I am happy to answer your every question, from my diagnosis and symptoms to my medications, therapies, and prospective longevity. My children can amuse you with their ability, at the ages of five and six, to pronounce the rather long name of my diagnosis and to demonstrate their ability to push my wheelchair for me when my arms give out. We are eternally pleased to interrupt our errands to discuss my health and my children just adore it when someone asks if my disease is progressive, or terminal; because of course children that young won't figure out what those words mean. Likewise if there's a cure. I don my badge of disability with pride and live to serve your curiosity.

Remind me, where can I send my letter of resignation?


  1. I'd be happy with a small vacation from it all. Wouldn't that be lovely? A few pain free days, disabled free days, normal days...yup..I am dreaming but it is wonderful to dream and hope that maybe, just maybe, we can find a cure for all of this stuff.

  2. Again youve managed to put my exact thoughts into words! Just know your not alone xx

  3. Yesterday the teller at the bank asked why I was limping, but she was really nice about it, so I answered politely (and honestly) that my left leg was messed up. But really, why do people need to know this stuff? It's invasive and rude. Did no one ever teach them that it's not polite to ask people why they're crippled?

    I'm waiting for someone to give me crap about parking in a handicapped spot. I have two responses ready:

    "I'm sorry my incurable disease isn't debilitating enough for you, but I assure you it was enough for the state of Connecticut, so you can get off my case."

    Or, if they say I'm not disabled: "Really? What good news! I shall have to tell ALL of my doctors! It's a miracle!"

  4. HUGS! I have people ask me about why I use my canes all the time. The first time I got the "Is it terminal?" question in front of my kids, I was in such shock that all I could think to respond was, "Why would you ask that in front of my children?" I think the woman was genuinely horrified with herself. I hate that I have to have an answer at the ready in case anyone should ask. These days it's usually, "I have a form of arthritis that's life altering, not life threatening."