Listening to the song “Things That Make You Go Hmmm” by C+c Music Factory got my wheels turning. There are times when I wonder what in the world people are thinking.
I have Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) and mobility issues. That means I use a cane at times and have a handicapped placard for my car. These lead to encounters where I am left shaking my head, usually because others do not look or think before speaking or acting.
The other day, there was a car illegally parked in the handicapped-accessible space in front of my apartment building. Someone was sitting in the car, so I honked and pointed to my placard. He moved his car after giving me a dirty look. He even watched me get out of my car, as if to make sure I was disabled. Sadly, this happens often.
I also wonder about people who see my cane and then cut in front of me. It causes me to try to quickly change course, which is not always easy. My other favorite is when I am holding my cane in one hand and something else in the other — and someone tries to hand me something. When I look questionably at them, they often just shrug.
I once had an appointment at a mall store and arrived early. The salesperson suggested I walk around the crowded mall to pass the time. He looked at me funny when I asked if I could sit in the store and wait. Navigating mall traffic with a cane is difficult. I found a place to wait in the store until it was time for my appointment. Am I the only one who dislikes walking around the mall?
These are some of the times when I wonder about people. I realize that when I am simply standing and not using my cane, it is difficult to see my disability. But that does not mean that it doesn’t exist. I don’t feel like CMT is an invisible illness, but I realize that it is not always apparent to others.
Have you encountered situations like these? I could use these encounters to educate people about CMT, and sometimes I do. But I also feel that I should not always have to explain why I do the things I do. Maybe I should not let the little things bother me.
Note: Charcot-Marie-Tooth News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Charcot-Marie-Tooth News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Charcot-Marie-Tooth.