14 May, 2013

Minority Report

I wrote this piece a few of years ago, and I edit and repost it yearly as a reminder to myself. If some of you choose to come along on my journey, that is just icing on the cake.

They say I am disabled. I'm not sure I have ever felt that way, but they insist that, in fact, I have three disabilities. What some fail to appreciate is that there is a difference between having disabilities and feeling disabled, and it is a very important distinction.

It is true that my left arm and hand hang limp without movement, without sensation, without even kinesthetic awareness of existence. It is equally true that my heart with each life-giving beat completes only about a third of its expected mission. Then there is my diaphragm. Only the right half works ... so I can only partially perform that magical pull of oxygen into my lungs. My lung capacity is estimated at about 40% of "normal," and I use supplemental oxygen 24 fours a day.

Because of this, they say I am disabled. Yet I have never really known disability, and although scarred, I have continued to thrive. My scars, however, are perhaps different than most. They are not the overly visible scars of many with disability, the kind of scars that seduce so much unsought attention. No one ever added obstacles to my path because ... well, just because, I guess. My scars were - and still are for the most part - usually unnoticed, but as odd as it may sound, I would sometimes welcome a bit of attention, positive attention anyway. Although they would surely welcome a healing touch, these scars - for the most part - just want to tell their stories to willing listeners.