Posts Tagged ‘disabled’
Prenatal testing encourages abortions? I don’t know, Rick Santorum, I think you’re a bit off the mark on this one. I think, first and foremost, it gives parents-to-be the opportunity to know what they are up against when their baby comes if he or she does have a disability. It gives them the opportunity to plan financially and prepare themselves emotionally for all that is going to be required of them to give the baby the best life they can provide.
And second, I think that by saying prenatal testing encourages abortions, Santorum is showing us his true feelings toward people with disabilities. I believe him when he says he is 100% anti-abortion. But to suggest that when a parent finds out their child will be disabled that they should for some reason want to terminate the pregnancy, well, that tells me something about Santorum’s mindset, to tell you the truth.
Liberals who consider themselves “pro-choice” are not “anti-life”. They are not going around looking for a reason to have an abortion. That seems to be what Santorum is trying to suggest here. But it doesn’t add up.
In a recent post I made reference to “support groups” amongst people with any given disability, and how I hardly ever met anyone with my disability, spina bifida. Interestingly, I have been fortunate to make connections with some really interesting people this year already, including a cousin of mine who I did not know I had until a few years ago. Even since learning of his existence, I haven’t seen much of him because he lives in another state. I added him to my Facebook friends list and occasionally commented on his posts, but really didn’t get to know him. But then recently I was flipping through some pictures of him on his page, and I found one which showed clearly that he was in a wheelchair. I did not know him to be in a wheelchair, and nobody ever told me anything had happened to him. So I asked him. And he told me he, like me, has spina bifida at the L-2 level.
Naturally this shocked me that he had spina bifida. Why hadn’t anyone in my family told me this? It would have been nice to know that I had another person to talk to about it. Turns out he himself did not know he had spina bifida until he was 21 when he started having medical problems. He’s had his ups and downs and has had times when he could still walk with braces, but he does use a wheelchair.
We both had doctors who told us (or in my case a doctor who told my parents) that our case would be much worse than it turned out to be. It is encouraging, and horrifying at the same time when you see how wrong doctors can be. But they’re only human. One doctor said my life would not be worth living, and a doctor told my cousin that he’d be paralyzed from the waist down by now but his paralysis is really just large areas of numbness in his bottom half.
Ever since finding this out about him, it has been great exchanging war stories – how we both struggled with math just as the doctors said we would (though I think I was much more hopeless in this category than he was). But mostly we have discussed medical problems. Songs of our scars, ghosts of operations past. And he told me that he will be having an operation in the future which will put him in his wheelchair for several months. I let him know about how I “did my time” when I was in a body cast or had a broken leg at different times as a teenager. Made some suggestions on how to make the time go by and avoid letting your spirit hit the bottom of the barrel.
As I wrote LONG ago in this blog, many people (including John Mellencamp) have spina bifida but can walk. But I never knew of a case where someone did not know they had the disorder until adulthood. It’s been nice hearing about yet another of the various experiences people have had with spina bifida, and I have been happy to be able to give my cousin advice. I look forward to continuing our correspondence because I am sure we both have something to offer each other.
I received this video by email the other day (Thanks Mom) and it is a perfect example of why the spirit is much more important than the body that we are born into.
The video is of a man born with no arms or legs but a good reminder to anyone who’s ever said “I can’t” before. He is also an example to the world on how to be untouchable in your determination to persevere.
Give it a look HERE
Well, unfortunately the appalling case of Brian Sterner did not teach us anything about how to treat each other, especially those who need their fellow man most to look after them.
Click HERE to read the story of Ed Rivera, a man with cerebral palsy, who has the mental capacity of a two-year-old, who was left on a bus in freezing temperatures over night. What’s worse, the driver admitted to knowing that she was leaving him there! Now who’s got the mental capacity of a two-year-old?
But hey, she left him there so she would not be late for church. Hmm. You know, this reminds me of something I recently read in a book about meditation. In a chapter which focused on religious meditation, the author discussed the relation between faith/prayer and good works/deeds. I forget the wording exactly but the point was that if one is deeply engrossed in meditating on God, and during this meditation he is disturbed by the sound of a fellow man in need of help, he stops the meditation and helps the man.
Just a little tip for the bus driver.
I knew that titled would get ya. Anyway, if you don’t know, Quickie is one of the most popular brand names in wheelchairs, and they are rather expensive. In fact, I have found that it is hard to get Medical Assistance to cover one. But I got one. I guess they were feeling generous, as it is nearly Christmas. So I am back in business. Not a second too soon either. One of my wheels was just about ready to come off, and it was just a pile a garbage in general. Anyway I feel healthier already.
I spent last night reminiscing about the 8 years or so that I spent with my old wheelchair, with the song “Two of Us” by the Beatles as a backdrop.
“Two of us riding nowhere spending someone’s hard-earned pay” (Okay my wheelchair always hated that line because it felt like the song was pointing out that the only reason I had it was through Medical Assistance which was funded by tax payers. I reassured my wheelchair by reminding it that I am a tax-payer too.)
“Two of us Sunday driving, not arriving on our way back home”
“You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead.”
I am not going to miss my old wheelchair. It will be recycled post haste.
I love this ad that Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare is running. The theme is “Pity. It’s 100% Curable.” I think the ad hits the subject from the right angle.
I love it because I went to Gillette myself as a very young child with spina bifida and it was at that stage in my life when it was most crucial that I found out for myself that yes I had a disability and no there was no changing it, and that the only thing that needed adjusting was the way I saw myself and the way I worked with what I had. Of course I did not think of it in those words exactly, when I was five. But you get the idea.
And this ad works on more than one level really. It addresses the pity that the disabled child might feel for himself, and it also speaks to the fact that once that child cures his self-pity, he can start showing the world around him that there is absolutely no reason to pity him, nor is there, in fact, any room or time for pity. He’s got a life to start living.
Why It Takes More Than A Disabled War Veteran and the Mother of a Child With a Disability To Win My Vote
I have encountered fellow citizens of the U.S. who were shocked that I would not be voting for John McCain/Sarah Palin in this year’s election. Astounded, really.
“Don’t you think Sarah Palin, as a mother of a disabled kid, and John McCain, as a disabled War Veteran, would do everything they can for disabled people?”
I have endless respect for McCain’s sacrifice in War, and I know from listening to my mother talk about raising me what Palin must go through to get her child what he needs to live the life she wants for him. So this is a valid question. Sure Palin is the mother of a child with Down Syndrome. But I don’t know what she would do as a leader. I mean if my own mother were in the White House, I have a good idea of the laws that she would want changed and I would trust her judgement. But I don’t know enough about Palin to know if I trust the things that she would have pushed for as VP. And nobody can know what’s best for all the different kinds of disabled people. So you have to vote for the overall best choice you have available. And I believe I did.
And besides that, any change that was made on behalf of disabled people would have to be voted on by the law-making bodies of our government, not just installed by Palin OR McCain. I know that is how it works under Bush/Cheney but we are back to reality now. In that respect I know that disabled people are just as well off under Obama as we would have been with Palin or McCain.
I told the person that asked me this that sometimes it is better if people that have a little distance from the issue make the decision. And what I meant was that if we want this to be a fair and balanced country, the laws and “changes” need to be made by people without self-interest in the issues.
And speaking of self-interest, despite an earlier posting in which I noted that Obama was the only candidate that mentioned disabled people on his Web site, I know that there are issues that are infinitely more important to this country than whether I get accessibility to certain buildings, etc. Such as the issue of whether I get to keep getting my health care for free while others don’t have health care at all. Such as whether my president is going to stop or continue isolating us from the rest of the world. Whether he is going to take the time to read the CIA reports about potential attacks. Whether my president is going to make education a priority for everyone. Whether he is going to tax the people who have the money to spare (the facts don’t lie, if you actually paid attention to what McCain and Obama were saying). The list goes on and on.
The point is that I am a citizen of this country and I care about the things that everyone else does. So it took more than two people with direct connections with disabilities to get my vote. That is why I voted for Obama.