Should we all walk about wearing sandwich board signs? ‘Hi, I’m Allan and I am disabled’!
As a SCI walker, where do I stand in the eyes of people who are in a chair ,or anybody else for that matter. It’s like we stand alone and are not really counted as someone living with a SCI. I’m someone who pushes myself, sometimes far to much, but the doctors told me I’d be in a chair by 40. So why do I push myself? Well, some of these places I love to go to wouldn’t be accessible in a chair. Like county rambles. Albeit slow ones. I want to see all these before, and if it happens. I don’t manage to do these things easily. I push myself and when my body is saying no more, my head tells me don’t let this beat you and I can do this. I had this same attitude when I was in hospital. I am able to take my mind to places a ‘normal’ person can’t. There are consequences though to pushing myself to my limits. The other side I don’t show on social media. The fact I spasm like mad after it and the pain is excruciating which then can affect my mood. I’m not a shouter but instead I just go very quiet. This is something my girlfriend had to get used to. I’m also very lucky she massages me which allows to me to function. I’ve seen the looks I get from people when I’m walking through a spinal centre and around other people who might be in chairs, but with exactly the same injury. I can see them thinking, ‘well I’m in a chair so I’m far worse than you’. This is simply not the case. It’s not about who worked harder. Its mainly about luck. I was lucky that I got some movement back and I work hard to continue that movement but trust me I’ve been there in a chair I’ve laid there for months in a bed not been able to move a thing. It’s hard having any disability in life and I’ve got good good friends who are in chairs. I’ve shit and pissed myself more times than I remember and this still happens. Just because I can walk, it doesn’t mean I’m not disabled and I don’t suffer. I drive a motability car and people keep saying they will take it off me because I can walk. Also, the looks I get when I park it in a disabled spot. The look of you shouldn’t park there. Do people really get punished for trying so hard to stay on their feet? Sometimes it does feel like that. I wasn’t allowed in a bar on New Year’s Eve and I saw the doorman look me up and down (he thought I was drunk), but then on probably realising his mistake and not wanting to admit it (probably embarrassed) he said I had a attitude problem. I didn’t, and walked away, but thinking about it I could have as the fact I should have stuck up for myself and my disability. It’s like the LGBT issues why should everyone have a label? Do I need tee shirt printing saying I have a SCI and I’m still disabled or shall we all walking about with signs so everyone knows exactly what you are?