If You Use Handicap Parking Without A Disability, You Deserve To Get Towed

If You Use Handicap Parking Without A Disability, You Deserve To Get Towed

And no, being lazy does not qualify as a disability.

Riding around in the parking lot of Walmart is a frustrating thing. I get more annoyed by the minute. My parents and I ride around the entire lot, 15 whole minutes spent just going around in circles. The time that could be spent shopping for what we need is spent just in the parking lot.

All I see are people, who walk perfectly, parking in the handicap parking spots.

And it isn't just me who goes through this. This happens way more times than it should. Disabled people everywhere have to spend half their time out just riding around the parking lot.

We have to look for a parking spot far from wherever we are going just because people who don't have disabilities want to park closer to the door in the handicap spots.

Those spots are supposed to be for people with a disability that hinders their mobility. That means people who use wheelchairs, crutches, walkers or some other device that allows them to move around.

There are also people with conditions that aren't visible. Conditions like heart disease, lung disease, shingles and other conditions that make walking long distances a big problem. These people all need the handicap spot because it is the closest to their destination.

Being lazy is not a valid excuse for people to use the handicap parking.

It's simple — if you can walk without any assistance and for long distances, then use the regular parking spot. And, just because you may be running late to wherever you are going, it is still not a valid excuse to use those spots.

I've seen many people just use the parking spot as a place to wait while their passenger goes inside the store and shops. The fact that people feel they can take a parking spot away from someone who really needs it to just sit in their cars and wait is beyond insensitive.

I've also seen people misusing their handicap placard. They may have a spouse, child, mom, dad or some other loved one who does have the placard because they have a legitimate disability.

The trouble is the placard gets used even when the person with disabilities is not in the car.

I am in a wheelchair, which means I have a handicap placard. Since I don't drive on my own yet, my parents drive me around in my van. That means they have the handicap placard all the time.

But, do you think they use it when I am not in the car? No, they do not. They do the responsible thing and park in a regular spot.

The rules are simple.

People who feel that they need to park in the disabled parking need to go to their physicians and have them sign the appropriate documentation. Anyone who doesn't follow these rules and decide to take the parking spot, they definitely deserve for the cops to be called or to be towed.

The issue isn't that we want things "easy" for us; the handicap spot was built around our needs. The spots have an extra space next to them with white diagonal lines on it. This spot gives us extra room to get situated in any way we need to.

For me, my van has a ramp that I use to get in and out of the car with my wheelchair. If I don't have the extra space for my ramp, I literally cannot get in or out of my van.

Many people put their wheelchairs or walkers in the trunk of their cars. That means they need extra space so that their companions can get their wheelchairs and set them up so that they can get out of the car.

Again, it is very simple. If you can walk without needing help and for long distances, then there is no reason to take the handicap spot away from someone who really needs it.

Cover Image Credit: Pixnio

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Concussions Are Brain Injuries, So Stop Acting Like They're Not

Take it from somebody who knows.

I probably have a better authority on this than most. What prompted me to write this is my mother telling me that there was an article in the paper about concussions and that I might find it interesting to read. I was too busy falling asleep on the sofa at the moment she brought it up, but I did go back to it later.

It talked about everything I have been told ever since I had the worst concussion in 2013. Essentially that even though you might physically start to feel better, you are 100% not. Cognitive healing takes time, and some symptoms never really go away. I had been told all of this, my parents had been told all of this. Some of my teachers at the time were understanding, others were not.

In case you didn't know what a concussion is, here's this nifty little description:

I have had six-ish (its so bad, I'm not even sure anymore) documented concussions. Keyword: documented. It got to the point where if I hit my head I just wouldn't say anything. You wanna know why? I'll tell you.

Very often a concussion has a lot of symptoms that cannot be seen with the naked eye. Picture yourself being out of school for your senior year of high school, from the end of September through the beginning of January. You had to miss out on a whole semester because someone else was careless in gym class. (People that call basketball a non-contact sport are kidding themselves, by the way.)

You had taken over six years worth of Spanish classes but could not remember basic words. The spring semester starts so even though you still have symptoms but go back to school anyway.

You go back and find you have almost no one in your corner because everyone thought you were faking. You spent your free periods in the nurse's office because you were so tired and sick of the bullying you received for something that you wished had never happened.

I was not allowed to drive a car, and even if I was, I was afraid to. I was afraid to do anything that might risk another concussion. I was treated for years for concussions by the doctors that treat the Philadelphia Union team. They have some of the best doctors that I have ever met, and they are patient and understanding with concussion patients.

Those doctors sent me to see more doctors. I was treated by a Speech Therapist for my memory and recall(I think it was actually Occupational Therapy, but whatever), a Balance Therapist to help with balance and multitasking, and finally a Physical Therapist for whiplash. You could say I had my fill of that real quick.

I finally (because those six short months was an eternity) graduated high school and move onto the next chapter of my life. I went to college and learned first hand that I still had underlying symptoms.

I had never been the greatest math student but I could remember the structure of the formulas I had to use. Now not only could I not remember the basic structures, I could not remember what formulas went with what type of problem.

People would sit there and watch me try to solve a high-school level math problem and struggle all the way through it and more often than not come up with the wrong answer. I taught myself new study techniques, which helped me some. But it didn't help enough.

I had to make special accommodations with the school to take tests in quiet rooms by myself and have 'cheat sheets' for math and philosophy. I had to do this at least once a year, either from lingering symptoms or a new concussion.

You know that phrase, 'I wouldn't wish this pain on my worst enemy'? Well, that's how I feel about concussions. While I want people to understand what I went through, I do not want to watch another person suffer the way I did. I have to second guess my memories because I do not trust my brain to remember properly anymore. I have to write important things down multiple times in multiple places (a great study technique, by the way) just to remember them.

If I'm being honest, part of the reason I started writing for Odyssey is that I was afraid to let my brain sit idle for too long while I didn't have a job.

People do not think concussions pose a real problem, until it happens to them or someone they care for. When they experience first hand all of the mind numbing headaches and inability to concentrate, they develop compassion for people that have dealt with it already. When they see someone they love second guessing who they are because they cannot remember to develop empathy for those that have already suffered.

How about we stop waiting for someone to be changed by a concussion to believe the symptoms are real?

Cover Image Credit: media.defense.gov

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Living With Muscular Dystrophy As Told By The Simpsons

The Simpsons understand our struggles.

Living with a neuromuscular disease can be rough at times, but it has become a part of me that I’ve learned to love. If you are living with muscular dystrophy or a similar disease, you’ll understand all of these things.

When you’re waiting for your PCA to bring you food:

And they end up giving you way too much:

When you get a PCA that can’t cook:

When you get a PCA that’s a good cook:

When your PCA starts talking really loudly on the phone in the morning:

When someone drives your chair without asking:

When you’ve explained something to your PCA three times and they still don’t know how to do it:

When something gets stuck in your wheels:

When you realize you can do something by yourself without needing help:

When someone cute helps you out:

When none of your PCAs can come and you’re stuck with your family helping you:

When you try to teach people how to use your medical equipment:

When your chair breaks down right before you’re about to go out:

Living with MD can be hard but you know you wouldn’t want it any other way:

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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