Tag Archives: handicapped not invisible

Please see me…

cardboard-wheelchair-668x288

Since the late 90’s, my M.S. had progressed to the point that I needed a power chair.   Needing a wheel chair does not define a person.

Experiencing people’s reaction to me in a chair has been a study in human behavior.  While eating out with my family recently, I went to get a refill of my drink and a woman asked me “How can you be so happy?” I was baffled and asked her what she meant. “Well, you’re in a wheelchair, so how can you be happy?” I was absolutely flabbergasted.  I think of these encounters as opportunities to educate so I explained the chair simply took the place of my legs. I am happy by choice.

On another occasion I was waiting for my ride after work in a doctor’s office. Many people going in and out would ignore me, even after I said hello. I felt invisible. One day I forgot to take off my stethoscope and EVERYONE responded to my greetings!

Did being a doctor or nurse make me more approachable or somehow less handicapped?  In crowded stores I am often bumped into or tripped over, again giving me the feeling of being invisible. Experimenting, I wore my stethoscope the next time I went shopping and not only was I not bumped into but people were would ask me if I needed any help! Many people either smiled or nodded at me as I shopped.

Was it possible that looking like a professional somehow altered people’s perception of me from being a disabled person to being “one of them”?  Was a stethoscope like a magic wand that suddenly made me visible?

My question is what perceptions do you have when seeing someone in a chair;  or of a different skin color, nationality or religion?

Article written by Laura Conant, freelance writer for Calumet Park

Comments Off on Please see me…

Filed under Calumet Park Cemetery, Calumet Park Cemetery in Merrillville Indiana, Calumet Park Funeral Chapel in Merrillville Indiana, Calumet Park Funeral Chapel of Hobart and Portage, Calumet Park Funeral Home, feature stories, Rendina Funeral Home, veterans at calumet Park cemetery, Veterans benefits