Warning: The following post contains startling information such as women poop. So for those men who would rather not know that, Too Bad. Chicks poop.
Today, I am coming out of the proverbial handicap bathroom as a disabled person. This is hard for me. Harder than talking about religion or politics. This is a mental root canal.
Shortly after I moved back home to help my mother with the care of my grandma, I got violently sick. It was Christmas Day and I was basking in my thoughts of double time and a half at work when I suddenly threw up all over my keyboard while talking to a customer on the phone. I went to the bathroom as quickly as I could (No, this isn’t the pooping part.) and ended up spending the rest of my work day sitting on the bathroom floor. Just an observation, no matter how you get on the floor of a public bathroom the day will just go down hill from there.
I didn’t know it then, but that was the end of my remission. When I was sixteen I was diagnosed with a form of rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. Both are auto immune forms of arthritis. Which means my immune system attacks my body and could kill me if not treated and controlled. You probably noted that it was serious business when I said remission, a word that is usually used for other such fun things like cancer.
So, I am now one of THOSE people. One that the politicians fight over, a drain on the system. In the three years it took before the government approved my Social Security Disability payments and Medicare, I was a woman in my thirties living off my mother. We were stretched to the limit since she had been laid off and only had her retirement. I swallowed the elephant pill of my pride and applied for food stamps. Getting that EBT card was incredibly freeing even though every time I used it I tried to hide what it was from the cashier. I’d feel guilty if I paid money for entertainment. I was afraid that if anyone saw me out having a good time they would think I was OK when I knew I was not.
I upgraded the walker, which I relied on sometimes, from a metal and tennis ball number to one with wheels and a seat. My therapist directed me to get out of my house for something than doctors appointments. So I went out to restaurants and ate. Without the ability to exercise and limited funds for healthy foods, I gained eighty pounds. I didn’t recognize my life.
About a year ago, I decided I needed to stop trying to regain the life I led and make a new one for myself from the salvaged bits of my previous life. I started writing screenplays again. I went back to LA to pitch my scripts while sitting in my walker and kept writing. I explained I can’t sit in a writers room all day due to my condition and I kept writing.
I write in my Panera office a lot but I have one major problem with it. When I go into the bathroom, there is always a woman in the handicap stall. I sit in my walker outside of it looking at the two empty regular stalls wishing I could use those. Eventually, the toilet will flush and she will come out, sometimes with a mumbled apology. I shuffle in leaning on my walker and get hit in the nose with the fragrance of post poo. It makes me grumpy. Why they gotta poop in the only stall I can use!? I can poop in it ’cause I don’t have a choice, but not you. One time I came out of the stall to see a woman in a wheelchair waiting. She was shocked the woman blocking her from her stall actually needed it. I knew exactly where she was coming from.
For those of you asking did she just write this painful and entirely too personal blog to tell people not to poop in the handicap stall. Yes, I dd.
If you need more to take away then that, I give you the following advise. If you see a sixteen year old suddenly collapse one day saying he’s in so much pain he can’t get up. Give him the benefit of the doubt by helping him instead of watching as he claws his way along the floor.