Wednesday, June 30

You Got a License for That Thing?

"A Little Something From My Lighter Side..."

In 23 years of wheelchair-ing (I think I just made up a new word) through life, I've heard some interesting remarks regarding me and my chair, so I thought I'd share a few with you. Exciting, huh? You get to be disabled vicariously through me! WooHoo! Lucky you!

I guess I should start with the most popular, the ones that if I had a dollar for every time I heard them, I'd be blogging right now from a villa in Greece, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea... or in some brilliant but twisted geniuses la-bor-a-tory, having deviously experimental surgery to repair my spinal cord, so that I could then be a guest star on the Benny Hinn show!

1. You got a license for that thing?
Now, you'd think after more than 2 decades of hearing that pretty much weekly, I'd have some snarky reply, or just ignore people, but I just don't have it in me to let anyone down or make them think their quip is unoriginal, so I giggle as though I've never heard it, much less heard it 6 million times, and say something like, "Nope, and I don't have insurance either so watch out!"

2. Slow down or I'm gonna give you a speeding ticket!
I think I actually hear this more than the first one. Surprisingly, I don't even have to be rolling fast for someone to say it. Maybe I should comb my hair...perhaps the constant windblown mess is giving me the look of speed!

3. Wanna race for pink slips?
This is what people who've injured a leg and are temporarily using a wheelchair often say. It's their way of exhibiting camaraderie. You have to laugh because they're usually in a hospital issue clunker chair, as opposed to the $2500 glorified bicycle I roll in. (That's not even an electric or power chair! I avoid those because they'd encourage me to be lazy and I would probably be 6000 pounds.) Anyway, the old hospital loaner wheelchair against my sparkly turquoise, lightweight chair with purple wheels (yep, really) is like a scene from a 1950's drag strip, handicapped style! Which leads me to number 4...

4. I know how you feel.
This is another that I often hear from people who are temporarily wheelchair-bound. I smile and nod my head sympathetically, biting my tongue to keep from pointing out that 3 weeks and 23 years are a teeny bit different, but eh...ok. At least they've glimpsed what those of us who're lifetime wheelers experience, and I can appreciate that. They often ask me how long I will be in the chair, and when I say "forever" they usually flinch, then ask me what happened. This is when it gets fun because depending on how much caffeine I've had that day, the stories can get good. My favorites are when I say that I can't talk about it due to the terms of my probation... or when I nervously dart my eyes about, then begin to tell them of my secret life as a spy and how while I was scaling the walls of the Kremlin... but if I tell you more I'd have to kill you.

5. How do you go to the bathroom?

I roll there. C'mon people! Really? Is it polite conversation to ask people about their potty habits? Oy Vey!

6. Can you still have sex? (I'm being serious...I've been asked this by complete strangers.)
My standard reply is, "Is that a proposition?"

7. Did you get married before your accident?
This has got to be my favorite one...(not really, my sarcastic side has come out now) and I must explain that this question is almost always asked assuming I was married before, and that my long-suffering hubby was a saint for not high-tailing it to Georgia once he realized I was going to be damaged for life. And when I answer this one, saying that 'no' we met after my accident -- number 8 is sure to follow...

8. What a great guy! (Meaning my saint of a husband who married that poor little crippled girl.) They've obviously not spent the last 13 years with him! I am kidding here. He really is the sweetest guy I've ever known. He's long-suffering, putting up with my constant neurosis, creative whims, and flights of fancy moods. We started out as friends, and unbeknownst to me he had a crush and researched all about spinal cord injuries so he could understand more about my life. When I first introduced him to my son (who was 6 at the time) my sweet little one kicked him in the shin. In response, my now-husband said, "Do that again and you'll be sorry." My precious boy reared back to kick him, flung his tiny foot out, my big guy caught his ankle and made him plop solidly on his butt...they both broke out in laughter and have been going at each other in this manner for the past 13 years now. I'm so blessed to have him in my life, and I know it. I thank God daily for this big lug by my side.


Karen Mortensen said...

These are great. You should just have a FAQ paper you can hand out.
Sorry but I have to ask you this question. How was it being pregnant? Were you able to feel anything. I hope you don't mind me asking. Perhaps you could add this to your list.

Michele Chastain said...

Seriously Karen, I never mind questions like this...even if I kid around about it. In the end, I'd rather people ask and be in the know than wonder and make assumptions, know what I mean? :)
I have what is known as an "imcomplete" spinal cord injury. Initially I was paralyzed with no feeling from the chest down, but since my spinal cord was crushed but not cut completely, I regained the majority of sensation back, but can only voluntarily move down to about my hip area. So to answer your question, yes, I felt being preggers, and I had a c-section, for which they gave me an epidural and allowed me to be awake for his birth. :)
Being pregnant was scary and opened up a whole new set of questions from strangers (hahaha) -- many seemed shocked that here I was rolling around, a paraplegic, with a big pregnant tummy! :)

Karen Mortensen said...

Thanks for letting me know. I find this kind of thing interesting.
I guess you answered question # 6 too. Ha Ha.

Christy said...

I can't believe random strangers would ask you about #6 ... or #5! So, I'm a new follower, honestly don't remember how I got here (too many follow back stuff), but I am amazed at your posts and really love reading about them! and I love the story about your husband and son!

Overthinking Mama said...

I have wondered some of those above questions.. but unless i was good friends with someone... or out drunk with them.. i dont think i would have the balls to ask...

im a new follower too!! i love your blog!!

God Bless

Leanne said...

Oh, Michele! I just spent the past few minutes reading your blog to my husband, and we can't believe what you've heard! Holy cow... oy vey is right! You know, I think many people think the wheel chair has caused your brain to stop functioning ... you need to just had out business cards with your blog address on it and tell people, "Listen, if you really want to know what I'm thinking about your questions ... read it here!" Your honesty is awesome and I really just LOVE getting to know you through this blog! Fantastic post!!

Bringing Pretty Back said...

Love this! My best friends daughter has spina bifida ~ she is 17 now ... and oh!~ The stories! People kill me.

Angie said...

Great story! You are such an interesting and witty person!

Gina said...

You are one brave girl! I have an award for you on my blog today. You can pick it up here.

Lizzie Ann said...

This post made me laugh. My husband is a paraplegic (since 1992,motorcycle accident). He hears this stuff all the time. When I tell people we met after his accident they always say "wow. well good for you." seriously? He's just like you, he just happens to be my portable chair. (a little inside joke between us).

I'm a new follower from the award you got over at It's How She Rolls! :)

Leslie Limon said...

Oh my! And here I thought that the questions I get about having lived in Mexico for 10 years were bad!

Stoppin' by from the Lady Bloggers Tea Party Social! :)