|Photo description: A drawing of a smiling face wearing a nurses hat.|
We were in the Calgary airport waiting for our flight. We had a bit of time so I spent it wandering around the various shops looking at stuff and generally having a nice time of it. I'd made friends with my manual chair again and was enjoying the physicality of pushing myself around. I typically use my power chair at home and have travelled a lot recently with it in a rented adapted van, so I hadn't used my manual for anything other than around the home or around the room travel.
I'd finished looking around and went to join Joe who was sitting, alone, at the end of a long bank of chairs. I put my brakes on and he said, "You won't believe what happened," he then thought better of it and said, "yeah, you will."
I was curious now and asked him what was up, I could tell he was steamed.
"I was walking by one of the booths in the middle of the hallway and one of the women called me over. She asked if I was with the man in the wheelchair pushing himself around. I told her that I was. She then asked me how you ended up in the wheelchair, what your diagnosis was." I could see as he told the story that he was getting angry again in the telling. "I told her that was private information and none of her business. She started to say something but I walked away from her. Can you imagine that, she asked me, about you and expected that I'd tell her. A collusion of two non-disabled people discussing a disabled person. I was supposed to be part of that!"
This is the first time something like this has happened to Joe. It happens to me fairly regularly, people feeling they have the right to information about my health and my disability and getting offended when I don't answer their questions. The auto-superiority of the privileged to privileged information is astonishing.
I remembered the time (Susan, Belinda do you remember?) when we were having tea with friends and a woman asked me about my diagnosis and I told her that was private information, she responded with, "It's OK, I'm a nurse." From that moment that phrase or variants of it have become part of the Dave and Joe lexicon. We are aware, of course, that most nurses are wonderful, compassionate people with a great set of boundaries, but that experience was one that really stuck with us, so, it became part of how we express ourselves.
I said to Joe, "Well ... maybe ..."
He finished, "... she's a nurse! Of course!"
People must have wondered what we found so funny.
A sense of humour folks, a sense of humour. If you are going to make it having a disability or loving someone who does, a sense of humour is necessary.
Take that as fact.
We heard it from a nurse!