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They Just Do Not Get It

May 04, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 127

I was diagnosed with Meniere's disease back in 1989. They had really no treatment plan back then. At that time they told me the severe vertigo would run for about 10 years, at the end of which it would have "eaten" (their words) all the hearing it would. This didn't sound too good as I was already completely deaf in my left ear.

Twenty-three years later: The severe vertigo is gone for the most part, but I still have balance issues that are getting worse by the day. I have been using a cane for more than a year (very helpful in keeping a relational point and catching myself from falling...quite often). I am past any medical help and have to deal with it.

The tinnitus that I suffer with has three different qualities (a ring, a chirping and a hum) that changes in volume constantly and is inescapable. It is interferes with my being able to understand and decode sounds (words). The constant ringing is enough to drive someone insane.

My hearing in my good ear is now at a profound hearing loss (has been for some time), which isolates me from the ones I love most of the time and is quite depressing.

If all this was not enough, I suffer from fatigue, distraction, poor memory, confusion, and disorientation. All are common complaints from those with Meniere's disease.

In addition to the above, I suffer from being asthmatic, borderline congestive heart failure and severe food allergies.

I have always been a loner and stay close to my love ones. I try to keep in the forefront of my mind to get out and be apart of life (from family to friends to community), but I find it a real effort.

Over the years my wife and I have had many occasions to communicate to friends and family what I am going through without any real success. Co-workers and church acquaintances look(ed) at me like I am wimp and that I am lazy; even been told that to my face. My wife keeps saying "they just do not get it".

In researching other disabling conditions through the internet, it became a common complaint of "they just do not get it". I saw it on chat boards, other blogs and websites. I saw it for blindness, the paralyzed, the deaf, back issues, nerve degeneration, neurological issues and much more.

I realized that I didn't "get it". Yes I suffer and under every definition for being disabled, I qualified, yet I still didn't get it. I don't understand back pain and how it affects everything I do, everyday of my life. I don't understand being blind, paralyzed or whatever that is beyond my suffering. I have never walked in their shoes, nor have they walked in mine.


I have compassion for those issues. I accept that those issues cause tremendous suffering and can prevent a person from working, any job. Our society though either does not have the compassion for accepting these disabling conditions or is more concern about money.

I am afraid it is the latter. The bad apples are creating an atmosphere of suspicion that people are looking for a free ride on the taxpayer's dime. This is atmosphere is aided by the belief that doctors can just give you a pill or do surgery and fix any issue (I really wish this was the case). Which means either you are not doing what the doctor told you or you are faking.

I think the disabled, or at least I, help this along to a certain extent. I find I need to keep a positive attitude to keep moving forward and cope with my issues. I never, I really do mean never, discuss all the issues I have, nor will I go into detail (details have a way of being less than dignified and usually gross) as it is too personal.

So how does the disabled community help our society to "get it"? Educate. Collectively we need to all be advocates for the disabled. Find good resources and get the word out. Then maybe we can start seeing our own society having compassion for the disabled.

Todd Sutherland,

Source: EzineArticles
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