I find this ironic on top of Dani's wonderful, moving topic about CP and it's stigma, and how we deal with it.
I went to the store yesterday, I had a bit of a long list; the typical time to stock up for the month/I got paid type day. So I had a fair number of bags but nothing was to heavy, and I'd been smart and wore my big brace. I will never understand why the parking lot slopes down towards the store, given the heavy rains we get during monsoon season, but it means unless I get a front spot or take family with me (my son is excellet for this job!) it's a long push up-hill to the car. But my cart wasn't to heavy so I was able to muscle through, and the brace was definately a big plus.
The bags were easily unloaded into my car, and after I shut the door it was then I realized there wasn't a cart return place to be seen anywhere. But there was a sidewalk with a curb area infront of my car, and as I watched, the couple (close in age I would say) rolled their cart towards that island, and put the two front wheels up on the curb. The basket was out of the way, and wasn't going anywhere. I figured I'd follow suit, but by now I didn't have enough muscle to pop the front end of the cart up. I tried lifting, but again I was just to tired at this point. So I did something I'm not want to do, and I turned to ask a stranger for help.
I must stop for a second. I do not like being reminded of my disabled status, but asking for help with my family is becoming easy as it's almost always an every day thing. Case in point, my Mom didn't ask, she just helped me make my son's bed yesterday. I didn't argue, I was grateful and told her so as she watched me struggle to get a corner of the fitted sheet into place. So you can imagine I am loathe to ask a stranger for help, especially given I was alone this day. Now I always carry my big knife in my glovebox, and frequently because of state laws, I do open carry my pistol, but not today. But after growing put with a neurotic Mom about stranger danger, and being alone, and those roadside kiddnappings, etc, it sticks with you even into your adult life. I felt like I was making myself appear weak, and given I was alone, a victim. But what am I going to do? I needed some help.
So I turned to the couple and asked. "Excuse me, could I trouble one of you for some help with the cart, please?" Nothing. I cleared my throat and raised the volume of my voice, "Excuse me, sir, could I get a hand, please?" It was then I noticed the distinct lack of eye contact as they hurridly got into their car and practically slammed their doors. Once inside they seemed to take their time again, but continued to refuse to look strait ahead out their windshield at me. We weren't the only ones in the lot, there was one old man pushing his cart up the aisle, and another who'd just parked his truck. He'd gotten out two spaces over from them as I'd asked the second time. So I turned to him. (We have a high senior population in our city) and I posed the same question towards him, kicking the volume up a notch again. He just kept walking down the sidewalk towards the front of the building.
I was hurt. I had asked for help and no one had listened, no one heard me. I was sure the couple in the car had heard me, but just choose to ignore me. I wanted to cry I was so hurt and angery. I finally got around the front of the cart and took my frustration out on it and muscled it up onto the curb. My thumb felt jammed afterwards and my arm was going numb in spots what parts didn't feel blazing hot and smashed with a sledgehammer.
As I drove home I wondered what did people see when they looked at me? Why do more and more people choose not to help? Were they affraid I was some derranged psycotic that was going to try and hurt one of them there in the middle of the parking lot in the middle of the day? I would have loved to have been able to see into their mind, see what they were thinking and why. All it did was reinforce my negative feelings about society and why I now rarely leave the house. I have been described as "athletic" looking, though I don't see how. Yes my legs are in good shape, but my arms don't have the tone they used to. I know I'm carrying about 10 extra pounds, but it's well distributed about my body. I like my jeans and boots. Skinny jeans with calf hugging chunky heeled boots, or my slouchy engineer style flat boots. T-shirts, thermal henleys, sweaters, tank tops.... yesterday I wore a simple grey v-neck t-shirt over my pale blue skinny jeans, and my all time favorite blood-red leather jacket. My hair is a medium reddish-brown, but my bangs are bright white. I wear small rectangular glasses, though at the time I had my sunglasses on. I'm just trying to figure if I looked intimidating, or if like Dani's post commented ... society would rather not acknowledge those of us who suffer from CP.
Originally injured 10/26/2007 - Initial diagnosis; Tendonitis
Spent next year seeing specialist after specialist; Bone, Muscle, Hand, Neurologist, Chriopractor, Physical Therapist...
Went through a battery of tests, multiple MRI's
11/16/09 I was finally diagnosed CRPS - Stage 2
Permanently disabled, on Percoset.
February 2011 successful SCSU trial
No surgeon willing to do my SCSU Implant