I have Cerebral Palsy, ( for those of you that don't know) and I recently had a Baclofen pump placed on July 22nd, 2015.
To begin this post, let me give you the background infromation. I am currently using crutches to walk and wearing an abdominal binder brace. The brace is due to my most recent surgery and is not something I will wear forever, just until I heal. I am currently walking slower due to the surgery as well.
So my brother and I are leaving our small town Dairy Queen. My brother goes through to hold the door as I slowly walk through and tells me to take my time as this middle age man approached. The man insisted that he hold both doors for me. That is fine and I am appreciative. Here's where things go wrong:
Man: "What happened to her?" (Looks at my brother)
Brother: looks at me.
Me: "I had surgery." ( easier than explaining the CP then the surgery)
Man: (looks at my brother) "I'll pray for her."
First, thanks sir, for your prayers. Second, does anyone else see the problem? No? Here, I'll help.
1. Nothing has "happened" to me.
Honestly, nothing has. I was born with CP, it didn't just happen. Second, you're assuming that something has happened because I am not walking or moving like society has dubbed "normal". Stop.
2. It's really none of your business
I'm not trying to be rude but, it's true. I do not feel like I should have to explain to a stranger what I deal with as far as my health. I don't ask people why they wear glasses, I assume they need them and move on. You don't get to know. My family and friends know. Just as I don't know about Your personal health you don't get to know mine.
3. It's rude
What if I went through a traumatic accident and didn't want to talk about that. Or, what if I only had a couple of weeks to live, I can assure you, I wouldn't want to answer the question then.
4. My crutches don't make me deaf or non-verbal
Come on society, why are we still assuming that people with disabilities can't do things? Direct your question at me if you have to know what "happened". Speak to me. Yes, I realize that there are people that cannot answer for themselves but, don't assume that right away. Give them a chance. Acknowledge me as a human being if you are going to question my ability status.
Ok, I am aware that some people are curious or "not sure what to say" (my personal favorite excuse people make for the reason that this question is asked.) but that doesn't make it ok for you to ask. Also, if you do feel the need to ask please stick with "What happened?" And not "What's wrong?" Just please avoid this situation. When people ask the latter, it really stirs up a fire.
I was walking across Walmart parking lot in the same day. This man had to wait for me to cross the lane slowly. We had motioned for him to go ahead, as we knew it would take me forever to cross. He insisted that I go ahead. After I crossed, I turned to thank him, he rolled down his window and said "You are doing great! Keep it up."
Now, I am not saying it's not ok to ask people about their disability, because I do think it's important for people to be educated. I just think you should avoid asking complete strangers about their ability status.
Oh, and by the way, I'm doing fine since surgery.