Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Redefining Disability Project: Post # 18

http://rosebfischer.com/2014/07/01/redefining-disability-an-interactive-blogging-project/
When you see this picture, you know it's Tuesday and time to answer another question.

18. Have you experienced preferential treatment because of disabilities?

Yeah, I have...
  • I get to vote by absentee ballet, or the earlier than election day. I have been permanently excused from jury duty because the chairs cause me back pain. Not to mention I used to be a police officer and know 90% of the attorneys in town. 
  • We get audited by the IRS and State Tax people because of my medical deductions almost every two years and, get a bright, shiny star for my efforts in keeping my receipts and documentation.  
  • I have a nifty, blue placard that I can hang from my rear view mirror that let's me park close to the entrances of places. 
  • That placard even allowed me to get a specialized/vanity license plate on my car too. At no extra cost to me. All because of my and my husband's disability.
  • I'm allowed more time to do things in general. In fact I get tired of people telling me to take my time.
 Imagine that! Yes, I'm trying to be funny. Most disabled folks have the same thing.
All kidding aside...
  • I have strangers offer to get or carry things for me. Actually the baggers in the  stores don't count in this instance.
  • People hold the door open for me most places I go. This is both a courtesy and a royal pain because most of the time I have my cane hooked on my arm and am using the door to balance myself as I go through.
  • I've had strangers ask if I wanted to go ahead of them at the checkout line.
But then again, this is the south with more genteel folk too. Even when my disability was invisible to
their eyes, I got this sort of treatment too. But I have watched customer service geared people tend to be more helpful and understanding when I ask for help now that I'm visibly disabled.

I'll be the first one to admit, as a transplanted northerner, that things are different than I'm used to. It truly is a slowly pace, manner, and language here. But I love it and claim it as my own except when I travel north of the old Mason-Dixon line. You'd figure with as many snow-birds and transplants would dilute the standard south, but you'd be wrong especially with the aged population like me. The young whippersnappers may mimic their northern counterparts too much. But I digress.

Preferential treatment may come my way because of my disability or my advancing age. Is there much difference between the way you treat the disabled or any person you view in respect...not that all disabled people are respectful. Some are down right cantankerous. I rarely am.

I don't mean to preach here. Well, maybe I do because I'm a minister, but I've always believed in treating people like you want to be treated. If the roles were reversed, I would still offer to help others. In fact, I still do when I'm able. I also believe that life runs in concentric circles. What goes around comes around. If I ignore someone in need, there may be a time that I need something and am ignored.

A prime example, my husband's hospice services. I've had my ups and downs with this service since I started on this journey a year ago with my husband. I know most of the employees. I've married them, counseled them, and just been there for them for the past.

Well last weekend a group of employees volunteered to come to my home, and clean up and reorganize it for us. I had tears in my eyes when my husband's aide locked herself in the main bathroom with a pressure washer and blasted all the tile work clean. This was something that needed to be done. How the employees, who understood my husband's condition, used only Borax, vinegar, and dish soap to clean with so he didn't have any adverse affects. How I was watched and asked where would be the easiest places for me to reach and what was the hardest things for me to do. I was treated with respect. Not just because my husband was a client and dying, but because they honestly wanted to help.

We were not singled out for preferential treatment because I was disabled. Yes, my husband was their client, but I found out from my sister and my daughter that they do this all the time because they care. All they have to know is that there was a need. After a year of being in and out of my house, there was a definite need. This truly is a company which stands behind their slogan of "Enriching Lives."

Do I believe I'm entitled to preferential treatment? Nope. To me, I'm still capable of giving so much and will continue until I draw my last breath. Does that sound like a contradiction to what I said about what goes around comes around. Nope, but it is nice when it happens. I expect nothing and get everything, but I always remain hopeful.