Multiple sclerosis, Struggles


One of the first things I did once I got out of the hospital (besides eat real – read: fast – food) was get a temporary handicapped parking tag.

At that point, I still was having trouble walking and we thought that it would come in handy. Considering I was only able to go about 10 yards at a time before crying uncle, we were wise to do so. Even the smallest trip zapped me of energy. And we all know I’m not going to swallow my pride and get on an electric cart.

Three months later, and my tag is about to expire. So I’m faced with a dilemma. I can walk more than 10 yards now. My cane stays in my car, just in case, but I haven’t used it for weeks.

The tag and the cane are security blankets at this point, there if I need them and giving little Linus me a sense of comfort. But do I NEED them need them?

With mere days left to get the tag renewed, I wonder if I am tempting fate to let it lapse. Sure, it’s come in handy, especially with the busy shopping season upon us. I’m essentially guaranteed a good spot.

But then, I was never one of those people to spend 5 minutes looking for the closest space possible. (I may, however, be the type of empowered woman to ram your convertible all Towanda style if you cross me.)

Over the course of these past three months, I’m sure plenty of people have seen me get out of my car without a hitch and effortlessly walk. And they must wonder why this relatively young, able-bodied person has a handicapped tag. I know I’ve wondered the same before, about others.

And I want to tell them that I don’t always manage so well. That I only have so many spoons. That I can be fine one minute and not-so fine the next. That sometimes going 30 more feet really is too much to ask. That my body is as unpredictable as Kayne West on live TV – it could do anything, and it will probably be embarrassing.

That tag, as much as I don’t want it and the stigma surrounding it, is probably something I need to keep around. Capable as I think I am, it doesn’t hurt to get a little extra help now and again.

9 thoughts on “Handi-capable”

  1. Jen I say renew the tag you want to have it just in case. And yes there will always be crazy people who are ignorant and rude. Take care of u first besides…… U have better insurance haha

  2. Mine is about to expire at the end of the month, and I’ll let it expire. However, I have an appointment January 5th with my neurologist where I’ll request another. Since you have to get the doctor to sign it anyway I didn’t see any point in bugging the doctor just to have it for those 5 extra days.

    I say renew it. The truth is, we need it. Having it, if we’re lucky, sometimes makes us feel like we don’t need it. That’s whole point, it’s making up for our disability. If I tried to walk across a long parking lot and back with bags, I’m sure I realized how much I need it. I have a hard time bringing water in from the car to my house! Once I said to a friend of mine, “Maybe I don’t really need this.” He said, “Oh, you need it.”

    By the way, I prefer the term “handi-crippled”. 🙂

  3. Get the tags!

    I went and got hanging placards and license plates. The placards for hubby’s truck or any other vehicle I might get a ride in… and of course plates for my car. I toyed with the decision for a while but ultimately decided it was wise to go ahead.

    On my good days, I park like a “normal” person… if someone is with me. Like you say, I can walk into the store perfectly fine but after walking around shopping for an hour or so, there is no guarantee I can make it the 200 miles to the back of the parking lot to get my car. If someone else is with me, at least they could go get the car while I sit on the proverbial curb.

    I think it’s best to have our safety nets in place ready to go. And if strangers want to grimace and wonder, so be it. I promise if they were walking in our shoes, they’d do the same….

  4. My ran out this summer and I need to see the doc to get it renewed. I think you should save your energy if you can. I have also had the guilt when getting out of my car because I “look normal”. But, they don’t know how I feel/hurt when I walk. I am waiting for the day when someone does say something. I’ve thought about carrying a MRI snapshot in my wallet!

  5. You definitely should get it renewed. I’ve seen you go from being quite energized in the morning to looking like you needed a good nap at the end of a long work day. There is no reason for you to walk to the hinterlands and waste the precious energy you have. You have much better things to do with your energy!

  6. Shoot, honey, I pulled my Achilles tendon two years ago and sometimes it still just means I have to take the elevator one flight up. Judgmental asshats are just that – do what you need to do to stay healthy.

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