I have been on the receiving end of the dirty looks knowing what they are thinking. I have heard the not so soft whispers of, “She doesn’t need a wheelchair. Look at her, she’s perfectly fine. She just doesn’t want to stand in line.” or “She’s totally faking it and just wants to board first. She looks perfectly fine.”
Yes, it’s true. I LOOK perfectly fine. I look like your typical healthy, vibrant, full of life 38 year old. And the truth is, I AM ALL OF THAT PLUS some…plus a brain tumor (and now possibly two) with a minimum of 14 symptoms I struggle with daily. From the outside I look “fine” but the inside is a very different story.
One of my symptoms is leg pain. Extreme leg pain. Somedays it’s difficult to walk. Standing for long periods of time most days is pretty much impossible without bursting into tears. So, unfortunately, with the long lines in customs, security, check in, boarding etc… during traveling, I often need a wheelchair. The days I don’t need one, I don’t take one. Walking is not a problem but the physical act of standing typically is. Not to mention that stress adds to it and I find traveling adds more stress so therefor, typically, my symptoms enhance and more medicine is needed.
Imagine being in my shoes. 38 and needing a wheelchair at times. It’s humiliating and hard to feel like an adequate wife and mom when it’s needed. It’s embarrassing enough without all of the looks and thoughts and words. Words that enter my ears and pierce my heart forever haunting my thoughts.
When you see someone who ‘needs’ a wheelchair, like a broken leg or foot, elderly, etc… those same thoughts and words are not expressed and many do what they can to assist. But when the person doesn’t ‘look’ like they need one I find people tend to go out of their way to NOT assist. I ask this: “PLEASE DON”T judge! The next time you see someone in a wheelchair and they don’t ‘look’ like they need one, understand that what they have going on is probably very severe. They probably are battling something you could never dream of and pray to never get. That the person who doesn’t ‘look’ like they need a wheelchair, probably needs it most.”
As a person who needs one from time to time, I assure you it’s not because of laziness. It eats a little at the core of my strength. It’s a sad reality and reminder of how strong I’m NOT anymore. It’s the wake-up that I am sick. It’s a reminder that many of dreams of growing old and healthy are going to be much harder to achieve and I pray for miracles daily.
The last thing I ask is: “PLEASE DON”T get mad at the person in the wheelchair when the porter decides to cut you in line. I assure you it’s not the person in the wheelchair who asks them to do so. Understand that they have a job and need to get back to another plane to help someone else who needs a little help.”
I, along with most others, would love to be able to stand in those tedious long lines with you. I would love to be able to hold my husbands hand, spending those few moments in time just being there with him and talking instead of holding the side of the wheelchair trying to mentally explain everyone’s doubts away. I would love to make casual conversation with the people in front of me or behind me instead of trying to avoid eye contact with everyone who thinks’I’m budding in line.’
The next time you see someone in a wheelchair and you don’t think they need one, try to be extra helpful. Smile at them. I assure you that most of the time, that person needs your smile. They need your prayers. They need your help. They need your assurance. They need your understanding. If you can’t see the reason, the reason is usually bigger and worse than you could possibly imagine.
This entry was posted in hero, inspirational, motivational, Uncategorized and tagged assistance, challenges, disabled, dreams, flights, flying, human kind, issues, life, motivation, patience, stress, truth, wheelchairs.