Recently my blogs have been receiving comments from people who define themselves as ‘sick’ as well as my usual band of not-so-nice fans, and it is interesting the insults they feel impelled to give me. None of the insults upset me and more likely amuse me as they often demonstrate the prejudices they have for real disabled people in the way claim they have.
They firstly frame the total experience of disability in terms of their limited understanding of impairments and so regard a severe impairment as something like not being able to walk from the bedroom to the bathroom without falling over. This just puzzles me to why they do not use a wheelchair, because oh the humiliation. I would be so very interest to see that faces of these people who were confronted by real disabled people, who could not speak, had severe learning difficulties or were totally immobile or all three. And how they would look in the face of a working real disabled person and say one of their many sob stories.
I have been called lucky I have a obvious impairment, like I have care, lucky I feel I can work and just luck I am not sick, without asking me anything about my situation. I had sickness wished upon me as well as abusive ATOS assessments and ofcourse cuts in my care. And these are the secret army of activists who know claim they represent all disabled people.
I will keep writing my stuff and the wonderful yet unimaginative insults can just keep comes as it just proves to me how dangerous these people are for real disabled people.
If you like what I say, have a look at my website at www.simonstevens.com or follow me on twitter, @simonstevens74
One thought on “The insults from the sick”
Simon, people whose walking difficulty is caused by eg breathlessness or muscle weakness often find pushing a manual wheelchair just as difficult as walking with an aid. And as you know, electric wheelchairs are expensive and not quickly funded. (But yes, there are people who think walking is better than rolling, even when using a wheelchair would increase their mobility and quality of life. Adjusting to acquired or progressive impairment takes time).
I've been disabled since birth and active in the disability rights movement for 20 odd years. I know a high-level quad on a vent who works full time. I know an AAC user with CP who was admitted to the bar. I know two Deafblind people who work in Disabled Persons Organisations. I know many people with learning difficulties, from mild to severe, and people who were dumped in old-age nursing homes after brain injuries in their 20s. Several times a week, I share a pool with a quadruple amputee. This is my world, and has been for a long, long time.
“Chronic illness” covers a lot of ground. Some people can work full-time with little difficulty. Some people can only work part-time, or flexibly. Some have impairments that vary unpredictably from day to day, or week to week, or month to month. Some are affected cognitively as well as physically. Some people are bed-bound for years – one friend was excited when her health improved enough for her to sit in her electric wheelchair for half an hour each day, and go into her front garden. In no universe is that *not* significant impairment.
And yes, I would also consider (say) someone whose lung function on a good day is twice as bad as mine was during an asthma attack that put me in hospital to have a significant impairment – even before I added their repeated hospitalizations, muscle weakness and limited mobility etc into the equation.
I don't wish sickness on you – or more to the point, I hope your chronic illnesses stay as manageable as they are now. I *also* hope you get to know some people who have been less lucky, and are significantly impaired by their chronic illness.
I don't wish abusive ATOS assessments on anyone – but it's theoretically possible you'll get one in the transition from DLA to PIP.
And I want *everyone* to have the care they need. Regardless of which LGA they live in, or what their impairment is. Right now, that's not happening.