Here’s a sneak preview of next month’s Vogue cover. Jokes. It definitely isn’t fashionable is it? I don’t like to share pics of me having treatment usually but something struck me yesterday when for the 1000th time I got the death stares as I parked up in a disabled spot and managed to get out of the car without falling over. I could tell what they were thinking, exactly what every other narrow minded person thinks when they see a ‘disabled’ person with no visible disability, ‘There’s nothing wrong with her’, or ‘The cheek of her parking there!’, or ‘She must have borrowed someone’s blue badge how disgraceful’.
I wish I could carry a big sign around my neck to explain my condition to people so I didn’t have to put up with those looks of disgust but frankly there wouldn’t be a sign big enough that I could carry and to be perfectly honest, its none of your God Damn Business. So this is my attempt to show the reality of arthritis.
Not an old lady with a walking stick, not someone’s grandmother needing help opening a jar... but a young woman strapped up to machines in hospital. THIS is the reality of arthritis for some people. It’s not always visible unless you are in this position being fed meds through a drip. This is what we have to go through time and time again, not only in hospital with the help of kind nurses, but in our own homes as we self medicate with injections and tablets and hot and cold packs every day of our lives.
If you have ever frowned upon someone you think has no visible sign of disability using a parking space or getting special privileges in an airport (always remember the time I got wheelchair assistance to my flight and the gasps when I miraculously got out of my wheelchair and walked onto the plane), it’s OK. To be honest, it takes something like this illness to happen to you or a loved one to understand and appreciate that not all disabilities are easily seen. I suppose I have always wondered what is wrong with a person when they get ‘special privileges’ for no apparent reason, although I can’t see how parking a bit nearer to the shop door is really that much of a privilege anyway. Are these people jealous because they are so lazy they want to park 2 feet nearer to their destination? Or are they so bored with their own lives they are constantly on the lookout for someone to argue with?
Next time you see someone who claims to be ill and has a disability, disregard your cynical thoughts for a moment and remember this photo. Perhaps that person has been strapped up to machines the day before or had to take a load of tablets that morning or has had the most awful night sleep because they are in so much pain. They might not look like it now but arthritis and other conditions don’t affect you all the time. The pain and symptoms can come and go. Walking around a supermarket might induce that severe pain we go through so why deny someone the chance to take a few less painful steps back to their car by parking a bit closer to the door.
Open your minds cynical people, don’t be disgraced by something you know nothing about I beg of you. Meanwhile, I’m still waiting for the call from Vogue....