How old would you be, if you had no idea how old you really were?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Handicapped or Inconvenienced ?

At the left is what I think most "handicapped" stickers should look like.

I've got a handicapped sticker. I got it after my heart surgery. And I did use it some after that surgery and for a while after my below the knee amputation. After that it has been stuffed away in a hard to reach compartment of my van.

Especially after the amputation I was happy to use the sticker. For a couple of weeks I was in a wheel chair and then spent some time on crutches. But I really never liked thinking of myself as "handicapped." One ought to be careful about accepting that sort of a label. I was afraid that it would slow down my recovery and make me older sooner.

Having only one foot and dealing with a prosthesis is sometimes a real pain in the lower regions. Any shoes I buy have to fit on to this non yielding plastic foot. That means lots of pretty cool dress shoes don't work. Walking more than three of four miles is sometimes pretty uncomfortable. Most pants have to go on before the prosthesis and I can't wear cowboy boots.

But, I can travel anywhere I want. I can negotiate bathrooms and showers and locker rooms. I can walk through airports and stand in line when I need to. When I first tried to swim laps I had to learn to swim in a straight line with only one swim fin. When I get the chance I can play a competitive game of racquet ball (with my peers). Basically I can do whatever I want. (I can't play the piano now, but I never could play the piano.)

So why would I call myself "Handicapped?" I'll settle for "Inconvenienced"

No comments: