Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Joe Joins Up!!

I had an odd conversation with Joe today.

As background: Our doctor recommended that Joe get a blue badge for parking as Joe has increasing problems with his knees and feet. He is now often seen limping along. Joe won't park in disabled parking, even with my blue badge, if I'm not there. He says that it's improper and illegal to do so, therefore he doesn't. The doctor hearing this paused to first pick his chin off the desk and then get the pen from where it fell to the floor. Then he set about the process of getting Joe his very own blue badge.

When I got in the car today at work, there was his very own blue badge proudly displayed on the dash. I proclaimed how good it was to be a two placard family. It does actually make things a lot easier for us. Now we are both authorised to park nearer the entrance, meaning that Joe won't have to limp for quite as long as he does now.

I thought it might be interesting to write about the dual disability status that our lives share. Then I thought, this is MY BLOG about MY LIFE. I keep stuff about Joe out of it - unless it's relevant to a story and I have his prior approval. So I said:

"Hey, would you mind if I wrote about you having an only slightly visible disability on my blog?"

He looked at me as if I'd asked the strangest question, "No, of course not, why would I?"

Oh, yeah.

Joe gets it.

Disability just is.

So put another one in the census count of the disability community. We're good with it. And if you see a guy limping next to a guy rolling, that'd probably be us.


Anonymous said...

You gotta love a man with integrity! I hope this brings some ease to both of you hard working fellas.

Louna said...

Welcome to the club, Joe! Enjoy your blue membership card.

Anonymous said...

I love Joe's integrity, and I love the grace and ease with which he accepted his blue badge even more.

People age. It happens if you're lucky. Bodies start to give out. We are all headed toward disability. And the disability we witness today may be ours tomorrow...


Nathan Dawthorne said...

"If you see a guy limping next to a guy rolling, that'd probably be us."
This image made me smile.

Anonymous said...

Like it!
This opens up the question of to whom are blue badges allocated- I don't see myself as disabled so I generally don't use the blue badge parking options unless I am with my partner, to whom the badge was issued. But my friend who is also a carer pointed out to me that the conditions say that you can use the blue badge when you are on an errand to do with the disability (altho thinking about it, I've never checked out what the rules say!) so I use it if I nip in to the doctors to pick up a prescription and then outside the pharmacy. Because medication and emergency medication are central to my partners disabling condition. But there are other situations that I will admit under 'anon' identity. I've used the blue badge to park outside yoga class when I have cut it fine to get there on time when I have been at home doing chores for the household that my partner cannot do, or more accurately, would get exhausted if she did them. On the one hand, this is clearly connected with how disability shapes our life as a household. On the other hand, this is, as I understand it, abusing the terms of the blue badge scheme.
Me and my partner see the yoga as something that sustains the household through sustaining me and me in the carer role. I guess that's why I feel ok to use it outside yoga class, like outside the pharmacy, but not when I go on my own to shopping or to visit my parents.
The tricky bit is that disability affects all of our life and all of the household. So I wonder, wonder, what do people think about the notion of the blue badge being allocated to the household that experiences the disability?

Anonymous said...

I think the rules around the permit varies from province to province (or state to state). Be sure to read the rules that come with yours. EX: in our province we are not to drive with the permit on our rear view mirror - many do - but it says we are not to. Be sure to check - respectful to all.

Anonymous said...

17 October 2012 18:33

Okay, I'll bite. That badge is for your partner's well- being, not yours. By using it, you are an able-bodied person helping yourself to a space that you do not merit.

When I take my mother grocery shopping, we use her badge because she needs that extra assistance. When I go shopping without her--even if it's for her groceries--I NEVER use that badge. I would be thoroughly ashamed to do so. And my mother would be ashamed of me as well, I might add!

I am rather in awe at your ability to justify using your partner's badge because YOU are late for YOUR yoga class! That is plain and simple abuse of the badge. As well as a fairly outrageous sense of entitlement at work.

Hmph! Sue

Anonymous said...

Anon at Yoga... Wow, your post concerned me. I am glad you are able to go to Yoga and glad it helps you in your role in life. But to find that you are owed something because of your providing assistance to your partner sits wrong with me. I hope you are happy in your role and have a dynamic in which you are equals. But worry that you'd feel essentially that the broader disability community owes you something... a parking place that someone who NEEDS it could otherwise use... because you are cleaning your house and running late to yoga. If that is one of your roles in your partnership, that you will clean the house, then I hope its one you truly are okay with, not feeling martyred by (sorry if that's overly dramatic). If though you find that your "carer" role overshadows your relationship there may be other sources of support and assistance out there to help restore the balance of your relationship. People who NEED accessible parking, people who have FOUGHT for accessibility and access, people who would otherwise not be able to get into the places that so many of us take for granted... these are the people who deserve these parking places. If people who are in a hurry or helped someone with a disability at home or at work now find they have a right to take over these spots, wow that takes so much effort spent by self-advocates and others to level the playing field and attacks and destroys it, says now the carers have the power and people with disabilities again are second-class citizens. Not cool. The next time you think about using an accessible spot please consider the people who will not be able to get to their location because you are in their spot. People won't be waiting outside of yoga for you to come out and give the spot back, we will go home and not be part of that activity, that day. I am sure you don't intend that as an outcome and do sincerely hope that if you are feeling you are doing too much at home or the scale is tipped an unfair direction at home that you and your partner can find someone outside assistance so that your relationship can be balanced.

wheeliecrone said...

Running late is not a disability. Just. Not.

Anonymous said...

I’m the one with the blue badge outside the yoga class.
Thanks for your feedback. I hear what you are saying.
I don’t see any feedback about the idea of experience of disability being located beyond individuals. I will keep thinking about it.
I don’t park in accessible parking bays. Where we live, the blue badge allows you to park for up to two hours in places where waiting is allowed and parking is not. It’s not parking space allocated for people with blue badges. That’s where I park outside yoga.

Ettina said...

My Dad is in a bit of a similar situation to Joe (minus the disabled partner). He has some sort of joint condition that doctors can't figure out, and it makes certain joints periodically swell and cause pain. The most common is his knee.

At his previous workplace, he was given permission to park close to the door (his designated spot was quite far away) on those days when he had difficulty walking.