Letter to the editor I wrote: sometimes handicapped people look normal

I’m so f***ing tired of people being so quick to judge people who ‘look healthy’, without taking a moment to ponder the *numerous* painful diseases someone might have where a patient can look normal…

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Letter to the Editor:

Sometimes a person can look remarkably healthy, yet they suffer from a serious and chronic illness. We as a community should always choose compassion and understanding in our policies and judgements.

I’m writing in response to the Editorial published on August 4th, in regards to resident who wrote of the perceived increased in handicapped parking placards by those who are not handicapped within the Beverly Hills community.

While I can’t speak for everyone who has a handicap placard, I can say if you saw me on the street, you would think I was a completely healthy 40 year old woman. I look healthy, I sound healthy, and yet I suffer with horrendous medical problems, which cause debilitating chronic pain, including Multiple Sclerosis.

I do walk my dog, on the days I can, and I do get in out of cars seemingly with ease.

But every step I take–every moment I breathe of every day–is a moment of pain.

I have a lot of pride…perhaps it’s my Scottish heritage, perhaps it’s simply my ego that prefers to spend whatever moments I can of my life, even if it’s a moment with a stranger, enjoying perceived as a normal person, so I do hold my head high while in public. I don’t want people to feel sympathy for me. Everything that can be possibly done to help me, is being done by my doctors at Cedars-Sinai. I hold my head high.

Perhaps one day you will see me hop out of a car with my blue handicap placard. Maybe you will turn your face up and roll your eyes and judge me.

But make no mistake–I am not normal.

In order to get a handicap placard, a patient’s physician has to sign approval for one, including putting their California State Medical license number on the form.

I’ve been very ill for over ten years, I’ve meet hundreds of doctors, and I can say with absolutely certainty I haven’t met one physician who would sign off on a handicap placard if they didn’t genuinely believe the patient could benefit from it.

This doesn’t mean that there aren’t people who ‘borrow’ the placard from a friend, and perhaps there could be a way to better ensure the placards are being used by the correct people.

But we must be very careful not to judge people who look healthy on the surface, because you don’t know what struggles that person went through just to get out of the door.

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