For the last couple of weeks Joe has had this 'bug' which has had him coughing to the point of near exhaustion. He's finally getting over it.
And I'm getting it.
I thought I'd gotten through it unscathed, but last night I felt that horrid 'tickle' at the back of the throat and now almost twenty four hours later, the cough is firmly in place.
I can only speak for myself here, because I've never talked to others with disabilities about this - however, I find colds and, heaven forfend, the flu - disrupt my life much more than my disability does. After four years my disability has almost stopped being disabling and become more like a lifestyle. I've learned how to adapt to my environment and, when possible, adapted teh environment to me. I go to work. I go to the movies. I go out for a beer. I do stuff. Typical stuff.
I think that when people say, 'I'd rather be dead than in a wheelchair,' they are thinking that all people who use wheelchair do is sit around in wheelchairs. And that's actually true. But we sit in them in theatres, in bars, in restaurants, in churches, in offices - in all the places that they are already sitting round in! The only difference is, I'm always guarenteed a seat because I bring mine with me. It isn't a life of 'suffering' at all, it's a life of adaption that rapidly becomes familiar.
Having a cold. Or, heaven forfend, the flu.
That impacts my life in a powerful way. It's uncomfortable. It's messy.
Even sitting hurts.
And yet, oddly, I've never heard anyone say, 'I'd rather be dead than have a cold.' Oh, yeah, you might think, but you get over colds, you get over the flu and then it's back to normal.
Well the same can be said for becoming a wheelchair user.
I think the same can be said for many types of disability.
I don't see people with Down Syndrome having Down Syndrome all the time.
I remember speaking to someone with Cerebral Palsy who said, 'I wish people would understand I don't experience Cerebral Palsy all the time. It's part of who I am, true, but it isn't a constant lived experience. I'm a woman all the time too, but I don't experience my feminity every moment of the day. Gender just is. Disability just is. Each come into focus throughout my day, every day, but neither is the focus of each and every day."
Having a cold.
Having, heaven forfend, the flu.
Becomes a focus.
Like it is for me now. And if this post is completely off the mark - remember, I'm sick.