Imagine being in a position where, through no fault of your own, your life is turned upside down. Imagine being told that you’ll be in a wheelchair from the age of 30. Imagine living with constant pain and being reliant on a range of painkillers to hopefully dull it enough get you through each day.
Thankfully for most of us, this will never happen. But for some it’s a harsh reality. Of those that experience this, some will accept their fate. Others will hang on to what independence they have as tightly as they can, for as long as they can. Yes, they may have to adjust their lifestyles – some things that were previously taken for granted become too painful to accomplish, other seemingly small tasks are now only undertaken after careful planning and often reluctantly with assistance – this is the daily struggle faced by the millions of people with degenerative disorders – they know they’ll never get better, but they refuse to go down without a fight.
It’s this fight that is made so much harder by the thoughtlessness, carelessness or just plain ignorance of the growing number of people in society that think rules don’t apply to them.
Someone trying to maintain their independence may not “look” disabled, but you don’t get blue badges from the side of cornflake packets – they are hard to come by and with good reason. By the same token, designated parking bays being used by holders of the aforementioned badges are also on the decline – it seems that not only are some councils hell bent on reducing the number of bays available near shops and other public places, but those that remain are increasingly occupied by vehicles without the relevant authority to be in the space. This does not just apply to public places – car parking facilities in residential areas are also being abused on a daily basis.
Complaining to the relevant authorities results in the usual fluffy responses which, when boiled down, amount to not having the inclination to do anything about it – after all, it’s not them in unbearable pain because some ignorant cretin has decided to park his (or her) soft top Audi in the designated disabled bay outside the block of flats, causing a genuinely disabled person to have to find parking some 150 yards away and then attempt to walk back, is it? A walk that was abandoned when the person in question could no longer stand. After a shopping trolley was located, (necessity is the mother of invention) the disabled person was manoeuvred into it whilst crying in pain and then had to be pushed past the Audi, into the block, up in the lift and then go through a humiliating and equally as painful process of disembarking from the makeshift conveyance. The alternatives were to crawl, or call an ambulance.
All because she does not want to give up her independence, the local authority doesn’t want to do anything about illegal parking and because some selfish, ignorant Audi owner has no respect for designated disabled spaces.
If you are one of these mindless morons that deliberately ignores the designated parking convention, I ask this: Have you family members whose very independence relies on their availability? How would you feel if they had to undergo the most excruciatingly painful and humiliating experiences because someone did what you do? Annoyed? Upset? Thoroughly ashamed? Guilty? All of these? I should hope so.
Whilst I’m not someone to wish harm, just remember, one day, it could be you needing that space and there might not be anyone about to help you into that trolley.