How to spot a fake disabled person…(REMIX)

This holiday season, many have family visiting, whether from out of state, out of town, or closer to home. For this reason, I am reposting a previous blog to help ignite a fiery conversation discussing the topic below. This blog is about an issue talking about fake disabled people and how to deal with these fraudulent phonies with mock maladies. This conversation should spread across the globe as an understanding of the facts needs to be distributed with dinner table discussion or however your family communicates. I hope everyone has a beautiful and safe holiday season, and please come back and continue reading my blog series about my one-thousand-mile move from Ohio to Florida.

How to spot a fake disabled person…(REMIX)

If you are reading this post to find out the clues I can teach you so that you can spot the person faking a disability, then keep reading. For example, you saw a guy park in a handicapped space and walk inside unassisted, so you want to call him out. You might have observed a woman use a wheelchair one day and a cane a few days later, and you want to bust her. The truth is that you should LEAVE THEM THE HELL ALONE!

People with disabilities can have physical challenges that are not visible and cause struggles you could not even imagine. But unfortunately, sometimes, they get attacked by a self-entitled morality vigilante that assaults them verbally or worse. I have heard of these onslaughts as demeaning notes left on a car windshield or a vicious verbal violation that left my friend Lisa in tears for hours. This abuse was after she felt exceptionally jubilant because her illness had Lisa bedridden the previous four days, and she was finally in a bipedal propulsion position.

Just because you see a co-worker using a wheelchair one day and a cane the next only shows that disabilities change daily. The pain level or physical abilities could be high one day and drop like the stock market in a recession the next day. Likewise, when you see some guy park in a handicapped spot and walk into the building with no mobility aid, he could have a heart condition, breathing issues, or any other invisible ailment. These hidden symptoms can be as many and varied as types of fish in a lake, meaning: LEAVE THEM ALONE!

My friend Jim told me he let those fakers know he sees them and takes pictures to put them on blast by posting them on the internet. I quickly asked him what an individual with a disability looks like, and I stopped him without giving him a chance to respond. I explained how he might have good intentions but would probably ruin someone’s day because of his nonsense narking. Someone cannot easily spot a person with a disability in a crowd, like a guy wearing a fluorescent ball cap. Some of us with disabilities stand out because of our medical devices, like walkers, wheelchairs, or oxygen masks. However, many have unseeable disabilities that need your love and support, not criticism and condemnation.

The ignorance of society and how self-entitled people treat others so poorly makes me sad. So to all those individuals who do not have enough in their lives, making them want to criticize others, I say STOP! Live your life to the fullest and let others do the same because what you think you see is not what you actually see. If your life is that empty, find a hobby and spend every bit of your time controlling every aspect of the said hobby. Most importantly, since you know nothing about strangers’ lives, allow them the peace to live their lives as well. Everyone should make this a topic of conversation with friends and family, as the truth needs to be shared.

Control your life and leave others to control theirs.

Flexing the truth…

My next destination after being released from the hospital was a rehabilitation center approximately eight minutes away. The doctor sent me there because I was weak and had moved very little in my fourteen-day stay, causing my strength to dwindle significantly. They explained I would live at the rehab residence for two weeks and receive continual physical therapy. I should have stopped the plans when I later discovered the physical therapy would only be twice a week for an hour each session, but I thought I knew better.

Bill from the kitchen staff brought me a surf and turf dinner with lobster, New York strip steak, green beans, and freshly baked bread, or so I hoped. Unfortunately, this two-star hospital actually brought me a chicken casserole, a dinner roll, and a jelly roll for dessert. Upon taking my second bite, the driver, Jan, arrived to take me to the rehab ranch, reminding me while she stood hovering that there was no need to rush. I quickly threw the food down my gullet like I was back in Marine Corps boot camp while the staff assembled my stuff for my speedy split.

Although I like to be independent and self-sufficient daily, Jan needed speed to get me out to the van. So, before leaving, she pushed me to the nurses’ station to get my discharge papers, and we completed any last-minute orders. Then, rolling out the hospital door, we pulled up to a side load, professionally painted rolling advertisement for this rehab residence. Oddly, they strapped me down sideways in the accessible van, whereas I have always faced forward. As a result, I felt like I was riding side-saddle on a horse as it walked along; I stared to the right, not seeing where we headed or had been.

It was still daylight at 7:07 p.m. when we arrived at a square nondescript building that looked like my high school. Jan pushed me through the double doors, and everything looked like a school after hours, with hard surface floors and generic art on the walls. Yet, it was a relatively clean environment with the smell of an antique store and the faint aroma, as if they had cleaned twelve hours ago. Next, we walked past the kitchen, where everything looked like old stainless steel beaten down from years of heavy use.

When Jan wheeled me to my room, to an untrained eye, it looked accessible, yet to me, the tiny room was only accessible with significant help. Truth be told, I do not know how they got away with these awful amenities that were absolutely an accident waiting to happen. All the surroundings in my room looked dilapidated, and even the baseboard was coming out from the wall. Likewise, the paint on the walls looked old, dingy, and like it would come off the wall any day. Yet, the staff was amiable and offered me sugary snacks at 8 p.m. I try to eat healthily, so I graciously declined.

The following day, I awoke bright and early at 7 a.m. and heard the sounds of breakfast service as plates clinked together. I got up and dressed as the smell of bacon cooking and voices conversing filled the air and made me excited about a meal served at a table. Unfortunately, I moved slower than a herd of turtles stampeding through peanut butter, making getting dressed tricky. Luckily, there was someone to help me. However, when I entered the eating area, what I saw frightened me to the core, as it looked more like a nursing home than a rehab center.

There were plenty of older people with walkers, wheelchairs, crutches, and canes around the tables, which I expected. However, I could hear Susie; the orderly, tell Gretchen, the patient, that she could not stand and Bob, the orderly, tell Carrie, the patient, that she could not eat someone else’s food. I also saw Janine, the orderly spoon-feeding Gwyneth, the patient, as I sat and waited for my food. I sat across the table from an older woman named Dolly, who told me her life story and how she could not leave until they found her a place to live. This building did not say a place of rehabilitation, but screamed as if they crossed a nursing home and a mental hospital. Simply stated, I did not feel it was the right fit.

After eating my morning meal, I had to figure out who to ask about leaving because I felt uncomfortable in this place. As I opened the door to go, Lisa, the physical therapist assigned to me, was there, and I requested to see the decision-maker. Ms. Kaufman showed up so that I could plead my case and ask for a discharge, and after a handful of questions, she consented. Although I was happy that they allowed me to leave, I was a little fearful of the nightmares of what could have been.

The VA must have better options for rehab.