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handicap parking


Guest tearose
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Guest tearose

I need to know what to say next time!!!!! I want to be prepared. Please help me think this through for me and others with invisible disabilities.

I went for a little outing to the post office and since I'm just getting over a "pots spell" I knew I'd be better off using a handicap spot and in recent months I've been using my seat cane.

As I was getting into my car, a woman shouted at me.

"That is not for Parking" she yelled at me.

I said loudly, "yes it is"!

She yelled back "it's handicap parking, are you handicapped?"

I raised my voice, now the woman was walking away from me and towards the posts office..."Yes, I am, I am even using my tag!"

"You don't look handicapped" she grinned and shouted and entered the post office.

I was so mad and now my heart monitor was beeping at 168!

My son said "mom can you let it go?"

I said "NO, I will be worse if I don't go and confront her". I walked back to the post office. I said "Who do you think you are? You are so judgmental. How dare you judge people! Who do you think you are?" She appeared only slightly uncomfortable... I needed to have more stinging words to say back!

Any suggestions? I'm so mad! How dare she or anyone judge others!

I was thinking about saying "Obviously you have a rudeness disability!"

I need a real "sharp" response, still upset, tearose

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tearose,

glad to see that you're feeling well enough to venture outside. i have had a few of these incidents myself, and they're truly enfuriating. i have had people shove their way in front of me to steal a cab, after i had been waiting for 1/2 hr in the freezing cold, and one woman yell at me for not saying please when i asked her for help as i was about to pass out! there are lots of people out there with no compassion (although fortunately there are lots of caring people too.) i have told people they are rude, but you're right, it would be much more satisfying to have a one-liner ready. so i'm anxiously awaiting for some creative ideas from the group!

if anyone questions your handicapped parking permit, how about something like, "not that anyone has asked for your opinion, but maybe i have a medical problem that you can't see, like a brain tumor. have a nice day." that way you're not actually saying you have a brain tumor...

rita

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Hi Tearose,

I am sorry that you had such a bad experience. I had a similar experience last week and W was talking to my therapist about it yesterday. She suggested that I don't waste my energy trying to "educate" people who have bad manners or bad social skills. She said to avoid those situations as much as possible and change the time of my shopping or outing. As you, when I go out of the house I want to enjoy myself and I don't want people to spoil those minutes. She also warned me that some people may be challenged if we try to show them that they are wrong and they may become more violent toward us. She said that one of them could be waiting for me outside the store, etc.. I don't want to frighten you but here some people have been killed for honking at someone who cut them off in the traffic.

My therapist also says that I have to be careful about my emotions not to trigger any episodes. I can tell you that it is much more humliating to wake up after a faint when I was agressive at someone. Also, bystanders are much less interested in helping you if you were agressive.

Some people are furious that we are taking a handicap spot when we don't look sick but others like to beat on the weak. Some are also jealous that we have a "privilege" that they don't and they don't even care if we are sick or not. They would just like to have that spot. I wonder if they would like to have the disorder that come with the handicap permit?

Ernie

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Oh, Tearose what a horrible experience. I have read posts in the past about this happening and I am horrified to think that people can be so uncaring. I have tried to imagine what I would do in the same situation. I think I would probably be in shock and just go about my business without saying anything....but would still let it affect me internally. So shouting does help for the release but I know for me it would mean an instant flare.

I think Ernie's post is correct that trying to educate ignorant people like this person clearly is a drain. I hope you are relaxing with a good book and cup of tea this afternoon.

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Wow geneva.

I would have lost it myself. I had a similar experience a couple of years ago. I got out of my car which I parked in a handicapped spot (HR was hitting 170+ at the time) and this "gentleman" yelled at me

"You sure don't seem physically handicapped."

Looking into this idiot's face it only took me a second to reply

"That's funny. You sure seem mentally handicapped. How come there isn't a special parking space for you?"

Momma always said "Stupid is as stupid does.". Sure wish people would find more important causes to pour their energy into. Best,

Dan

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I am so sorry that happened to you. I can't tell you how many times people have pushed ahead of me in my wheelchair with my 84 year old Gran pushing me.

Maybe a good response would have been Oh did you want this for yourself because I can;t think of any other reason why you would say something like that and I certainly don't see that you are handicapped.

My other thought was maybe the reason she said something is becuse she knows someone who is handicapped and gets mad at people who take those spots. you could say to her well how would you feel if I had said something like that when you were with someone you knew who was using the handicapped space.

Not very strong but lets you say something without getting overheated yourself and making your heart race even more.

People amaze me.

Jim always says to say well would you like to see me faint! That would scare em!

Stacey :-)

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People like this are probably not educable. They have a chip on their shoulder and/or they are not quite sane. I agree that, although confrontation feels like the right thing to do--and I would probably respond the way you did out of anger and frustration, Ernie is so right. You have to be careful--for your own safety--in confrontations with a stranger.

One idea that came to mind would be to keep a short handout about dysautonomia explaining how disabling it is, in your car that you could quietly hand to someone who makes such a comment, and tell them thanks for the opportunity to improve public knowledge of this condition. You know, the reality is, though, that until someone experiences it, he or she would have a hard time imagining just how disabled someone with POTS can be. How many of us have heard from friends--"you look great!" as if to say--"you MUST be well now!"

Katherine

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Just to add--I agree Stacey. I think some people get mad if they see someone they think is taking a handicapped spot from someone they know needs one. I get mad when I see someone take a handicapped spot and they don't have the license plate/tag (not enough to yell at someone tho). When I was pregnant and also when Giuliana was an infant, I only shopped at one grocery store--one that has special parking up close for pregnant women and parents with infants. One time I was about to park in the spot, and this 40-ish man with no children pulled in! I was so mad. (But, maybe he had an invisible illness too.) So, yes, Stacey I also agree--people are amazing.

Katherine

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Wow. People can be so insensitive! There are HUNDREDS of illnesses that are invisible. My father has had bouts of congestive heart failure--which doesn't make him look all that handicapped. In fact, his only outward signs are the same ones I GET! Short of breath, excessive sweating, dizziness and a high heart rate. Go figure?!

Part of me, though, really likes Dan's reply :D Or my own, which is something like "You should hope and pray that you never come down with what I have."

Nina :P Grrrrrr

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tearose...

i am going to play devil's advocate here...and say, as my best friend says...always opt for graciousness. i think that when we let people get to us like that and confront them we just 'let them win'.

i am NOT saying that i don't vent like heck when i get home and that i am able to let things slide off of my back. in fact, i get way too emotional about stuff, and i would have gone nuts too. i kind of want to get one of those inflatable bobo dolls to beat up after such a confrontation! people constantly say that stupid stuff to me about how good i look, etc.

i guess what i am saying is that if i get angry and insensitive back to someone, i feel like i just stoop to their level. like katherine said, they may not be educatable (is that a word?), but that is the route i would take...i don't have a handicapped sticker so i can't give specific replies. but, saying "you don't look mentally handicapped..." that just stereotypes someone who is mentally ill in the same way that we don't want to be stereotyped.

i think having the DINET cards on hand would be a great thing. that way you used the 'negative' incident as a way to send 'positive' ripples into the world. or, simply to say, something light, like, 'yes, make-up does wonders.' or 'i may look okay, but i don't feel okay.' or 'i'm glad i look better than i feel.' that is more humorous than nasty.

i know that i can't change the world in huge ways. but i try to use this illness as an opportunity. i know that before i got sick...I was ignorant. i didn't know what it meant to really suffer or be sick. i was always compassionate...but it wasn't on the level that i understand now. what if it was me who thought those thoughts? although, i have to admit, i would never say that to someone!

yes, people surprise me all the time. and i can be hateful...i am not a saint. but to their face...i'm going for graciousness. or educating them if the opportunity is there.

of course, i am saying this in a moment of calm. maybe on the day after i saw the GI doc or the PT...well, my words might be a LOT different!

i wish i didn't let things get to me like they do. NOBODY can know what it means to walk in anyone else's shoes...we only walk in our own...we can't know anyone else's suffering...so i hate it when people act like they can!

okay, well, i hope i didn't offend. i am sounding a bit soap-boxy and i am not sure i should even post now! but after all of this typing...i will. i hope you will not take it to minimize your anger or pain. i don't mean it that way. i would have been totally upset! i just wanted to post a different perspective.

okay, off of my soap-box.

later alligator!

i AM glad to hear you got to go somewhere! yeah! i hope you keep coming out of the potshole!

emily

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Hi, Tearose. Boy, what a crappy thing to have happen today ... and just when you were starting to feel like you could face the world again. People can behave just so hideously sometimes! It's very aggravating and upsetting ... like others, I hold onto that stuff too and have such trouble letting go. I'll replay an encounter over and over in my head for hours, wishing I'd said this or that, regretting that I'm not faster on my toes and a quicker wit. Uch.

I don't know what I would have done in your circumstance ... Probably nothing to her face and just stewed for hours. I don't like the idea of answering an insult with an insult--tempting as it may be and as incredibly clever as the ones posted here are. If you can't send peaceful energy out in the world, don't send any out at all. I also agree that sadly you would risk physical backlash or more verbal sparring that could be even more upsetting. (And Emily's comment about stereotyping is on the money, I think.)

Hang in there Tearose; try not to let this person's insensitivity haunt you too much. I hope that a good restful sleep tonight will help you move past this tomorrow. Take care,

Merrill

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aaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh....perfect....

i LOVE how merrill put that....'peaceful energy'...that is sort of what i was trying to get at with the 'good ripples' thing...but merrill said it much better.

i stew over things for hours on end too...i hate that compulsive side of me. and i wish i would have handled things differently...i know it is 'toxic' to do this, but have yet, even with all of the meditation i have tried to learn, to let it go...

tearose...i know you are very insighful and take a lot of time to process things. i know you will find what works the best for you...honestly, you always say things on this site with such grace and humor...i bet you can beat us all once the lightbulb goes off in your head! you'll have one of those, "that's what i should have said" moments...and then, you'll be ready and waiting for that next person to even dare to say something nasty to you! :P

emily

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Unfortunately, I really don't have any good advise to give as to what to say. The only thing I can say is that some people have no idea what with is like with our limitations. I also use a handicapped parking spot, and like so many others, I really do need it. I use a cane to walk and sometimes still wonder if I can make it back to the car on some shopping trips. Yet some people, I have noticed mostly women here, still talk "behind" my back. Speaking loud enough to be heard, I often hear " look at her, she doesn't need that spot, it is for people in wheel chairs!" My only responce is to walk on. I know I need the spot and so does my doctor. As far as I'm concered those are the only people who matter. I do get annoyed and sometimes hurt by the things people say, but I have learned that there are just some people out there how just don't get it. In our area, there is a 50-50 chance of needing a handicap spot and getting one. Personally, the people who hurt the most are people who still use handicap stickers even though they get around just fine. I have heard people actually say they have one "just to get the good spot". :P

Go figure.

Blackwolf

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Guest tearose

Hi friends, thanks for all your brainstorming. As you all can see, some would let it go and some want to have a response. After chillin' and thinking through it, I realize that it was such a major insult to me because I never am unkind or raise my voice to a stranger! Hey, one of my gifts is compassion and I owe it to myself and others to use it...but, I was human and did loose my composure...here's what I feel now...

If someone asks kindly about my condition and is motivated by concern, I think it is best to respond kindly. I don't have to share/educate anyone, but if the person really wants to understand, then I will try to find simple clear words to explain.

However, if someone starts yelling across the parking lot , I hope to be able to smile and shake my head and turn away. BUT, if I am going to be sick over it and this person is unrelenting, I think the firmly and gently spoken choice responses are going to be of this sort:

"Not all physical disabilities are visible". or,

"Would you like this parking spot? you can have it and my disabliity!" or,

"Thank you for caring".

I think I need to keep something like these in the back of my mind and then I can move on.

Two issues worth further discussion that came up here.

Naturally, nothing is worth getting hurt over and we always should be careful.

I have a problem with going out when I can "avoid" people who are small minded. They are always out there and when I feel like going out I should not have to spend time or energy thinking about avoiding them. Am I alone believing this?

keeping an open mind...tearose

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Guest Mary from OH

What a lousy thing to happen! I would have been angry too! And probably thought of a million things to say later too!!

Interesting, though. I have been thinking of asking one of my drs for a handicapped parking permit for awhile now, but have not yet gotten up the "courage" to do it. Some days I don't think I would use it, and others I feel like even with the closer parking, I can barely crawl into the store. I'm not sure what's stopping me.... I would encourage anyone else to get one, but for some reason I'm afraid. I guess I'm afraid they'll say no.

Sorry to have gotten off topic :o

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I felt awful asking my doc for one too, but then when he filled out the form and checked the box for perminent I felt worse. Though really it was just to make things easier on me, I don't have to reapply every year. I don't use it on 'good days' and within my family we call it the 'blue' tag or 'blue' parking and avoid the word handicap.

As for tearose' initial question ... hugs to you dear, I worry about this happening to me all the time.

Here's my thought ... keep in mind that everything people say or do reflects upon them ... not anything real about us. So why not just look them in the eye and say

'why do you ask'

stranger: 'you don't seem disabled ..'

'why did you want to know?'

stranger: My grandmother can't ever find parking and I hate when people abuse this reserved spots.

'I'm sorry about your grandmother, those things are really hard on me to.'

Point is to bring the conversation back to them ... why, what, why ... good bye scenorio. We don't need to be on the defense. Most people live in there own tiny world their thoughtless comments really have nothing to do with us.

Course when / if it does happen to me I'll likely forget my zen and reach into my shopping bag to pull out some produce and send it flying in their direction with a sarcastic line about 'and I have a good arm too!'

Salubrios!

EM

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Someone did that to my father who has 15% heart functionality left after his heart attack. I am 6'6 250 lbs and I gave that person a very stern look and they quickly moved on. :lol:

Being tall has its advantages, even though I would have never done anything violent.

Edited by Timbo
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I have a tag that I use all the time because it makes going places easier on me if I am having trouble that day or know that by the time I finish grocery shopping etc. I am going to have a rough time. I fainted in a parking lot and nobody stopped to help me, it was miserable. Thats when the doctor got me a tag.

I was really sick in the spring and my family was coming to help me the next day, but I was out of popsicles and managed to get to the grocery store to get some. I hardly had a voice. I parked my car in the spot and this man started yelling at me, despite me having the tag. So I said to him "I'm chronically ill, it's mine." and his jaw just kinda dropped because I sounded so horrible. Than when I got out of the car everything went black and I was able to come back before I hit the ground, holding onto the door. That really shut the man up and he was VERY embaressed by his behavior, especially since he did it in front of his child. Did I mention his wife was in the store shopping because he told me that was her duty and he hung out in the parking lot. Lovely.

Another one is I went to a concert and they only let people that had already paid a fortune to park in the garage OR if you have handicapped parking. I am young so it shocks people that I have the tag alot of the time. The man allowing people in told me I couldn't park there. I said "Sir, I have handicapped parking" he looked at me and said "But your not handicapped!" I looked him straigt in the eyes and said "Sir, unfortunatly I am" He was too afraid to ask anything else, and was a bit embarresed. I also told him if he questioned it, I did not mind waiting in my car for him to run a check on it. I got my parking right by the door and was told if I needed any assistance at anytime, they would be more than happy to help me.

I get nasty comments from people, people that ignore me sitting drinking gatorade with doors open because I am too weak to get groceries in and nobody in the store would help. Best to just ingnore those comments instead of sinking to the level of the people that make them. Eventhough the comments really do hurt.

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Hi Blackbirdsings,

It must have been a terrible experience to faint in a parking lot and have no help. I have fainted in parking lot and so far I have always had help. I am afraid that someday nobody will help me but I still continue to go out. Most of the time I park very close to the door and try not to be alone (I use an "escort")!

Ernie

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Hi Ernie, With being so sick for the past several months I have avoided going out on my own and been very selective about where I go, time of day etc. to try to make it easier. I was SO bruised from where I hit the door going down, not fun. Certainly up there on bad experiences. I find there are lots of mean people out there, that are heartless to us. On the other hand there are some really incredible folks that really help me out, and make going places easier for me. Even if its just carrying something for me, getting me a drink, making the place cooler etc. it really makes a difference. Especially when they realize its not like a cold or something that goes away in a few days. Unless something really happens, this is just how it is. The people that still stay generous are the keepers for sure!

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