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Gordon's D-Zone Arcive (2006-2014)

Saturday, November 01, 2008

God forbid ... becoming disabled!

It has been a difficult three weeks. My mobile broke down which meant I had to make do with a file on my computer to list appointments and I was working with an older mobile which wasn’t that accessible to me. Thankfully, the issue was resolved in a few weeks but I felt lost and out of control. Yes, I need my mobile which is also my digital personal assistant I guess. Too bad it doesn’t help me if I go abroad… that would be nice – sort of.

Enough said on that ... Well, these weeks were also full of experiences that made me think about how easy it is to prejudge people on the fact they have impairments or rather what a negative perception about our life non-disabled people have. I get the impression on talking to people who have never had the ‘honour’ of meeting a disabled person that we are putting on a brave face and that, in truth, we lead tragic lives. And sometimes, other assumptions emerge unintentionally.

On Oct 13, for instance, on a discussion programme I was invited to as a representative of the National Commission Persons with Disability, the presenter appealed to the TV audience at home to reflect, on this:

“disability can affect us all and God forbid you have an accident or something and become disabled…How would you feel?” (or something along those lines)

I had to say something… I mean, this implied that my life as it is was unbearable. And at that moment it felt that way! (This includes the heat produced by the studio lights – you could sunbathe under them…)

There’s no denying that acquiring an impairment when you’re older, especially if through accident or disease, is not exactly a nice experience. But then, life must go on. Yes, I may feel nostalgic about the time I could walk and run all over the place but as my mobility impairment progressed with the onset of a visual impairment in my late 20s, I had to adapt and move on. Indeed, my current problems remain tied to the fact I am still finding problems accessing places with my wheelchair and the patronising attitude of my society.

So, I think that the only sentence I would start with the words “God forbid…” is perhaps “God forbid that I lose hope in the achievement of an inclusive society”. And, in light of the American elections, I might add another – “God forbid the American people make the wrong choice (again)…”