Say hello to my little friend

We have a tenuous relationship. I’m glad to have him around but he’s the type of friend who tags along but isn’t someone you really get along with. Yes, he’s my disability placard.

Oh look, you can see my horrendous license picture that I got a week after getting all my hair chopped off.

I have a very weird relationship with the disability placard. Sure, it makes my parking a whole lot easier and I don’t have to pay for meters, plus, you know, the whole “less walking so I can breathe” thing. But having a disability placard has a complex array of emotions attached to it.

Cancer fatigue and lung damage are very real disabilities, but they are hidden. Most days, I would have no problem walking between the far reaches of my office’s parking lot. On days like today, where the cold rain makes me whole chest hurt and makes it difficult to get enough air, its a much harder.

I won’t park in the little parking lot right next to my office with two handicapped spots – instead I park in the main parking lot 5 minutes away. If I get to my office first, of course I have first dibs on the disabled spot, I know that. I also know the people using those spots are not in wheelchairs or otherwise any more unable to walk than me. I will not take those two handicapped spots in the close parking lot because, in my infinite ability to reason myself out of anything, I think that my disabilities are somehow “less” than anyone else’s. After all, I’m a relatively healthy 23 year old. Sure, I had cancer but I don’t need crutches, I am not in pain, and I don’t need to sit down every 10 steps. Of course I’m not that bad off. I mean, I get dizzy spells every once in awhile but so does everyone, right? Right? Stop giving me that look!

I also imagine that people are judging me when they see me get out of or into my car in a handicapped spot. While I have been parking there for almost a month, I still look around to make sure that my colleagues don’t see me leave my car. I imagine dirty looks everywhere I go.

My access to the placard is for a year – though extensions are possible.  I am going to try hard not to feel guilty about it.

Posted in Personal Stuff
6 comments on “Say hello to my little friend
  1. roselvr says:

    Hard to read from the cell but wanted to send you a cyber hug. I dyed my hair a golden blond & it turned out a horrible reddish grey. Of course it was when I had to have my license renewed. Anyway; I learned that they will allow you to reuse your old photo; I didn’t have to take a new one. Thought I would mention it; you may be able to go in & ask if they’ll reissue yours with your old photo. I’m not in the same state as you; but I don’t doubt more then just my state does it. NJ is pretty anal with DMV; I was surprised they even allowed it.

    • aemorse says:

      My old photo (which was pretty awful but at least I could say it was because I was 16 and hadn’t learned eyebrow-maintenance yet) was taken in Georgia and the DMV won’t keep the same photo across state lines. Grr. Of course it didn’t occur to me that I needed a Mass license until *after* I got my hair lopped off. And that wasn’t even the attractive pixie cut style it’s started to grow into, but the so-short-I-looked-like-a-skinhead look. Next year I’ll probably go in and pitch a fit to get it retaken, but they can be pretty awful. One person on my Hodgkin’s forum also moved and they tried to make her take off her scarf for her photo. She had to really elevate the issue in order to be allowed to keep it on.

      • Roselvr says:

        Stop in DMV & ask if you can have it redone & it will allow you to plan for it if they do. Ask at what point will they give you a hard time. If they want it done sooner; consider wearing a wig if you have it; because if that state is like NJ; you’re stuck with the photo a few years.

        Now that I’ve read the entry; I can say that you should park where you need to park on any given day. Yes; people may give you nasty looks but you were given the tag for a reason. You would not believe how many people practically stand in the spot when I pull into one. I’ve had people tell me that it’s for handicapped people & did I have a tag- well just because I choose not to drive with it hanging; they’ve already started judging me. Some days I’ll have it in my hand as I’m getting ready to pull in because I hate dealing with it when the windows are open.

        They see me pull in; I look very healthy & I am. Walking into a store I may limp (or barely walk) but I guarantee you; that by the time I leave that store; no one will question whether I needed the spot. I have a bad back btw. I used to only park when I was in pain but the pain never goes away because I’m under medicated. I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen people who run in & run back out; yet park there.

        It’s really sad that the spots have been abused & those of us that really need them have to feel bad about actually using it.


  2. max sorokin says:

    Hi Allie, use the parking spot kiddo. You need it, so use it and the hell with any weird looks anyone gives you. If you can conserve some energy for therest of your day, it will be a good tool to use. Stay strong.

  3. amy says:

    so you’re parking behind spingold (of course i recognized the picture)- if you feel guilty about parking at bernstein marcus– park at admissions– I believe there might be 3 handicap spots there (don’t quote me on that) and it’s closer to your office– and not uphill. Especially since the weather is going to get worse soonish, you really should save your energy. And I highly doubt you getting out of the car is the oddest thing anyone is going to see there in a given day!

    miss u

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