Medical Problems, Personal Coping

People often look at medical issues from medical standpoints and it is easy for people to look over the personal side, the disability side, and the patient’s side.

Mackenzie Visnansky, Columnist

It can be easy to miss the patient’s point of view. It is challenging to think about it in their mindset. Oftentimes people can be left out of events, because they physically can not stand up without shoes, and places like Makutu’s Island, Pump it Up, and Jump Street don’t allow shoes. Even with a handicap plaque, everyday things can be extremely hard on the injured as well as their family.

My mom suffers from severe feet issues, where her bones are like toothpicks and are constantly breaking. Her feet have led to many other things like an inverted pelvis, a J shaped spine, neuromas (tumors), as well as countless other things. She has missed out on so many things because of these issues, and she is only 34 years old. Being this young and not being able to walk half the time without crutches, is extremely taxing, especially when it happens on a day-to-day basis. She can’t go to Disneyland for a day without having to be off of her feet for weeks, let alone hike a mountain with her family on a lazy Saturday afternoon. Life becomes different when that’s your everyday. My mom said, “The mindset you have to put yourself in is truly that you can’t compare yourself to others. What they are going to be able to accomplish, you may not ever be able to simply because of your disability.”

Everyday Things, Everyday Pain

For an average person, running to Fry’s isn’t hard. Yet, for people with disabilities, it can be a dreaded event, leaving them in pain for days. Again, my mom can’t stand without shoes, and even with shoes, her feet are constantly swollen and constantly hindering her.

“I have a family, I can’t just do nothing. If I didn’t run… errands things wouldn’t get done. You have to set aside the pain until you have a second alone to deal with [it],” my mom described.

Nothing is easy when you have a disability, and nothing can be done at the drop of a hat. So much of the time it’s the little things that no one thinks of, like when you have friends over and everyone stands around the kitchen table. For so many people that is fine and not a big deal, but when you can barely stand up, that can be torture. Many people often think that if something is uncomfortable, you will speak up, but the truth is that it is embarrassing. I know that you wouldn’t think it would be embarrassing, but you can’t understand what’s it like until you have a disability. It doesn’t matter how easy it is to you; to many other people even those small things can be too much to bear.

Personal Experiences, Personal Strength

When my family went on vacation over fall break, there were many things we could not do as a family. On one cruise our family took together, on the ship itself, many things were accessible to my mom. Off the boat, we were stopped, because she could not hike: her toes would break if she tried and being near a waterfall would be too hazardous. We had to do things where her feet wouldn’t be put in danger. It doesn’t always just limit the person, it oftentimes affects the family, too. My family had to refrain from many activities, because she couldn’t do it; however, that doesn’t mean she doesn’t try: she tries as hard as she can, even if that means crying all through yoga to give her body strength. She tries everyday. She doesn’t stop, because it hurts. She stops at night after everyone’s asleep, where she can let out the pain.

People can look at the outside and think everything’s fine. They don’t know the pain on the inside. There are always two sides to a person’s story, the medical side and the personal side. People don’t speak up, because it’s embarrassing and – not to mention – it’s not the only thing about them. They want to focus on other things, and there are so many others. The bottom line is that people with disabilities struggle. It doesn’t matter if it’s going to through the drive through or hiking South Mountain: it’s hard on them emotionally and physically.