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    I am sick to death of people saying things to me that are just plain ignorant!
    I don't go out to pubs any more because I can't stand it when people, who are obviously trying to be kind, say stupid things to me.
    I get the infamous 'don't give up hope, you can walk again if you try' arrgggggg! Do they think I'm just lazy! One of the best ones was a when I had gone to a club and was beginning to enjoy seeing everyone again and just being me, when this guy I know comes up to me and says, 'I hate seeing you like this, I'd do anything to trade places'. It's like when you loose weight and feel good about yourself and someone says god you look awful and thin. There's nothing like kicking a gal while she's down!
    You see the thing that pisses me off the most is that I'm 2 1/2 years post and have been going to school doing my A levels for the past year and a half and people still treat me like I'm ill. I'm not ill I just have a few issues to deal with, nothing I can't handle!
    My Nana said to me the other day 'do you believe in god, because if you prayed every night maybe he'd give you more strength.' She's right I need strength to deal with all these stupid remarks!
    I feel so angry inside because of my injury but people make me wanna scream sometimes! I'm rude to people when they're like this but I can't help it. I think that once I go to university and no one knows who I was before my injury, that people will start treating me as 'me' not like someone who's ill that needs the softly softly approach.

    Great post.

    I actually like being around those who knew me pre-injury because they realize that at one time I could walk, run, dance and was very active.

    But, I certainly see where you're coming from. You're tired of sympathy and need to start living. Going to university will indeed accomplish that. It was the best thing I ever did. I became independent and confident. It really helped me a lot.

    ~See you at the SCIWire-used-to-be-paralyzed Reunion ~
    ~See you at the CareCure-used-to-be-paralyzed Reunion ~


      I think that is probably the toughest part for me. It seems like the majority of people automatically assume that I am sick just because I am in a wheelchair. Most don't realize that we do this every day.

      The ones I really get a kick out of are the people that assume I have some kind of brain injury just because I am in a chair. The thing that happens the most is when I go into a store and ask a question, and it never fails that they give the answer to my wife or whoever else is with me because they assume for whatever reason that I cannot understand. That's usually when we hit the door.


        extra napkins

        4 1/2 years after a C5/C6 injury. People can definitely be ignorant. I could give you hundreds of stories that made me grit my teeth at the time. There's the little old lady that held the door open for us, patted me on the shoulder in sympathy/pity as I went by, and claimed this was her "good deed for the day." (Where's a good leg spasm when you need it?)

        Sometimes, you just gotta laugh though. We went to Bob Evans for brunch one day. The hostess, a different little old lady, tried desperately to get us to sit in the back, even though it meant passing empty tables and weaving around a large party that had several tables pushed together. When we selected a table closer to the front, she pursed her lips in disapproval, shook her head with a sigh, and said, "I'll get extra napkins."

        I've thought a lot about different events like this. My theory is:
        Every day, you choose who you are. You choose how you act and react.

        If you interpret people's actions in the worst light and react that way, you'll become a mean, bitter person. Often, people's intentions are good, but they don't express it well. Before your injury, what would you have said to you if situations were reversed? Many people feel awkward around people in wheelchairs. He probably thought about it for a while, practiced it in his head, got all his courage together, and came over to say exactly the wrong thing at the wrong time. Although, if you look at his comment it was a very generous thing to say.

        I try to assume the best about people. The woman at Bob Evans was probably trying to save me from embarrassment, not worrying about French toast stuck to the ceiling.

        Point of the story:
        Assume the best and avoid little old women. Next time someone says the wrong thing, and there will be a next time, grit your teeth and think, "extra napkins."



          No kidding!

          That happens to me all the time. That's one thing I usually politely confront immediately. Funny thing is, some people will still have a hard time directing the conversation to me. It's truly amazing.

          ~See you at the SCIWire-used-to-be-paralyzed Reunion ~
          ~See you at the CareCure-used-to-be-paralyzed Reunion ~



            ever have someone speak loudly cuz they think you must be hard of hearing? That's happened to me only once but was really funny.

            ~See you at the SCIWire-used-to-be-paralyzed Reunion ~
            ~See you at the CareCure-used-to-be-paralyzed Reunion ~


              Every day, you choose who you are. You choose how you act and react.
              Well said!


              "We are not brave because we are free. We are free because we are brave." ~ Rich Ward (Stuck Mojo / Sick Speed)


                I agree that it is all in how you react. I'm sure I probably would have said something stupid before I was injured given a chance. I think most people do mean well.

                Jeff, a couple of months ago my wife's grandfather passed away. At the funeral, I saw a lot of people that I have not seen since my accident. One guy came up to me (it had been 3 years since I saw him) and bent over and got about 2 in. from my face and said "HHHOOOWWW AARREE YYOOUU "? I was laughing so hard that I did not have a good response because his wife was also giggling at him. The guy turned about 10 shades of red as well and now we have a good laugh about it.

                * who knows, people probably approach me before I was injured and treated me stupid, but I just did not notice then. or maybe I really do look stupid. he he.


                  comfort levels

                  I think it has a lot to do with people's comfort levels and how they react to anything out of the ordinary. I have good 'pre-injury' friends, who treat me the absolute same as before I was injured. At the same time, other people (ie: my father-in-law) treat me like I'm sick and stupid. My wheelchair is just way out of his comfort zone.
                  The comments won't ever stop-- there will always be some yahoo with some smart ass comment, or an old lady who gives you a sympathy rub (ARG!!). Just grin, bear it, and go home and laugh about how crazy some people make you!


                    I hate all the ingnorant comments- Like Jeff I prefer people to know I havent always been like this.
                    My personal favorite is the old people who knock on your car window and remind you that it is a handicapp space or sit back and watch until you get out of your car- I HATE WHEN PEOPLE WATCH....
                    Or when people watch you struggle to get a door open - either help or look away- dont just wonder "hmmm I wonder how she'll do this one?"
                    Old people are the worst for staring......Once an old woman said to my face "oh, they didn't used to let people like you out in public."
                    For the most part I just smile and be nice, but really some days.......


                      Tara, I hate being watched too. Yes old people are the worst!
                      Another thing I find absolutely obnoxious is when you struggle to do something, people watch with pained expressions on their faces, then when you've finally succeeded someone will come after you and finish it off, for example when you open and close a door behind you someone will go back just to check you've closed it properly.
                      I get the same taxi firm to school every day with the same guy. Its really strange because when I'm on my own he treats me like a normal human being, but as soon as I'm in company he comes out with, 'hellooooooooo trouble! Go on give us a smile!' as if suddenly I have turned into an 18 month old baby.
                      rtr - you're a better person than me! I wish I could laugh at all these comments, but I find myself running through them in my head and becoming more and more bitter. The worst comments have come from my mum's husband who has been so ignorant over the last 2 1/2 years.
                      'I now understand what life's like for you, I sat in your shower chair last night and saw life from your level'
                      Now there's a non sci that really understands!
                      Another thing that really highlights the fact the no AB can begin to understand how we are affected by an sci is that they think the worst thing for us is no longer being able to walk. And to be quite honest the fact that I can't walk comes to the bottom on the list of things I miss most/want to do first when a cure comes about. I don't think most AB who don't know a sci at close quarters knows about bladder/bowels lack of sexual function/sensation and definately don't know about AD, heat sensitivity, central pain and all the rest, and to be honest I'm glad it isn't common knowledge.
                      This is why I get so angry at the 'howwwwwww arrrrre yoooou' comments. Sometimes I feel like saying 'you couldn't even being to imagine'.


                        It´s a little different around where I live. Germans are more reserved in making comments than my fellow Americans. But they do stare. I´m sort of an enigma..being an American foreigner, and a chair driver. People like to try their english out on me and squint or smile when I tawk my New Yawk accented German.

                        I don´t know why, but none of the stares or questions ever bothers me, it just doesn´t seem to be worth it to me to spend any energy fighting AB ignorance. I just continue to be me. If someone helps me out, I say thanks. I said thanks before my injury when someone gave me a hand.

                        How I look may have changed, but who I am has not. If stupid stuff happens, I laugh at it as if I just got some free entertainment.
                        "So I have stayed as I am, without regret, seperated from the normal human condition." Guy Sajer


                          Ignorance - A Different Perspective

                          I am in a similar but also entirely different situation. I'm a C5/6 walking quad, 5 months post injury. I've been extremely fortunate in my recovery and I'm not complaining, but there is a flipside to this ignorance...

                          I'm constantly proclaimed "healed" by everyone that I see. They see me walking and assume everything is honky dory. They don't know of any bowel and bladder issues, sexual dysfunction, spasms, fatigue, etc. I generally just smile and nod because I am thankful, but this too is frustrating...


                            I know what you mean...

                            gvinton - I was in a car crash and was injuryed at C6/7 but another guy who was in it too is a C5/6 walking quad.
                            My mum's husband once said to me 'I saw Alan walking into a pub last night, he's doing so well isn't he. Its not fair'
                            And I thought yer I bet he doesn't see it like that, I bet he's thinking its not fair as well.


                              I also am constantly being proclaimed "healed"- and I'm 2 years out with the usual pain, spasticity, sensory/motor stuff of the (very lucky) walking quad. It was getting to me so much - it would always seem to happen on a really bad pain day - that I had to look at it differently to save my mind. I figured if enough people said I was healed or "all better" etc. then maybe it could happen! I think next time someone says it, I'll request that they place their hand on my forhead while making the proclamation - "healed" -that might work! Hey, you never know.
                              But my favorite was 2 people telling me that I looked better since I had the accident. Not making this up. It must have been all the rest.