Today my CNA referred to me as handicapped. I was offended! I thought, You’re gonna tell me that bc I sit in a wheelchair I’m handicapped? After further thought I’m like, oh hang on, there’s a little more to it than just being in a wheelchair. There are weeks when I can’t get up. There are days when keeping my food down is a joke and coordinating thoughts is nothing but tiring. Yes, I have in home nurses and aides. There are quite a few limitations but in my mind I don’t think of myself as handicapped. I think disabled, but not handicapped.
Honestly, the two words are about the same in definition. It’s the stigma of handicapped that gets under my skin. There is no dignity w that word. It feels like a stripping of abilities and value. Saying I’m disabled only recognizes limitations but handicapped says to me that I have lost my ability to count in society.
Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I think too much. I just know the two words feel different when used.
In another shock, my other CNA asked me how I can be expected to have faith in God the same as a person not sitting in a wheelchair. (crickets) Dear CNAs, Y’all realize my life isn’t over, right? You do realize there are people who have it worse?
Losing a body part is not the same as losing yourself. And despite depression or hating my life from time to time, I still have a bit of fire in me that won’t allow me to give up! Sometimes I lose sight of things but mostly I remember that I have hope. I have a future!
My final thought is this. Sitting in a wheelchair hasn’t weakened me, nor has it made me stronger. It just is. It’s a page turned not an ending.