Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Well, today was my turn to be on the receiving end of the ignorance of living with invisible disease. It wasn't fun.

I had my weekly Instillation appointment down at my doctor's office this morning at 11AM. So my Mom drives me, and we head out an hour before the appointment as that's how far I have to go. I know, many of you go much further. It's a huge hospital and the parking lot is always crazy so finding a parking space is never easy but we managed to get one way down on the bottom level. Off we go to the elevator that will take us to the tunnel that takes you into the hospital and the professional building.

So we get on the elevator, go up to our floor and the doors open. And standing right there in front of the elevator, so close there was barely any way for me to get off, was a woman with her GIGANTIC baby stroller. I mean, some of those things should require a license plate! She was in conversation with another woman who also had a huge stroller and was with her husband and two children. So she actually had the double stroller. Both were in the way of me getting off the elevator!

Now, mind you, I'm not going after mothers here and am not making a generalization about all, but there is a segment of mothers who push those giant strollers around stores, the hospital, and many public places and just expect everyone to get out of their way. This has happened to me many times. I have also encountered very polite and courteous Mom's who do their level best to accommodate those around them. But today was the case of, I have a baby in a stroller and everyone had better get out of my way. The doors opened and she WOULD NOT MOVE; I waited a moment and tried to take a step forward - nothing. She wasn't going to move no matter what.

Now, if I was a better person, I guess I would have let it go. But I felt this was rude no matter who was trying to get off the elevator, but I was in pain, I have balance issues from my Epilepsy and it's very easy to trip and there's this huge stroller right in my way and I have to "skinny" my way past it. So as I did so, I made a remark. I said "would it hurt you to move over a little bit?" and kept walking.

Well, the woman blocking my way got on the elevator, but her friend that she was talking to was going into the hospital as well and from behind me I hear "that was SO RUDE!" This woman is with her husband and two kids in the double stroller. I turned around, looked at her and said "Yes, SHE was rude!" 

So then I get "She has a BABY" as if that's the excuse for behaving any way you want! What, a baby in a stroller means you get to do whatever you want and everyone else should just get out of your way! I turned again and said, "yes, well, that may be, but I have several disabilities, one of which can cause me to lose my balance, she was too close and I could have fallen on her baby!"

So then this woman is following me down the hall, spewing all kinds of stuff like "you have a mental problem"; "you are so rude"; "there is something wrong with you!" I forget what I said to her, but I attempted to say something to her but all I got back was "I'm glad you're not one of my clients; you're crazy". I told her I was glad I wasn't one of her clients too! Even nastier was when she pulled her husband and children aside and would not go over to the elevator bank up to the professional building since that's where I was going too and I heard her tell her child "we're waiting, that woman is icky!"

This woman made an assumption. She assumed that since I was dressed nicely, standing on my own two feet that I was a perfectly healthy individual and that I must just be rude and hate mothers or something. I know she thought that I was the one who should "make way" for her and her friend and their humongous strollers. Well, if I was getting off that elevator in a wheel chair, I guarantee you, they would have moved aside. But because I appeared able bodied, I got crap for expecting someone to be courteous and give me room enough to exit the elevator.

I got upstairs and was upset enough to tell the nurse about it. She was very comforting and reassuring as she gave me my instillation and I took deep breaths to try to let it go. But there is a very happy ending to this story.

I finish up and head down to the lobby to meet my Mom so we can leave. I walk over to where she is sitting and as I do so, I realize the woman who attacked me is sitting across the room with her family! I quietly tell my Mom this story and two other women sitting nearby overheard me telling Mom what happened. Well, they were such lovely women. They asked if it would be OK to say something to me and I said of course. BOTH of them have invisible diseases and have been attacked like I was and we all chatted about what happened. Between my Mom and these lovely women, I was so comforted and made to feel that I did not deserve what happened. I was so touched by these two women talking to me and supporting me, that we exchanged hugs. Perfect strangers brought together by a common experience that we could all relate to. As I was hugging these women, my Mom, looked daggers over at the woman who had attacked me and said to her - "we ALL agree with my daughter!" My Mom was ready to take her on, let me tell you! She didn't but, boy even though I am 58, my Mom still wants to protect her kids! 

So what started out as an upsetting incident ended with me meeting two lovely women, strangers who I will probably never see again, yet they touched my life in a positive, supportive way, and I am grateful to them. 

So after experiencing the rudeness of one, the incident transformed into a much better one where I was the happy recipient of the kindness of strangers! It changed how I felt and all of us got teary eyed! 

To those lovely women I will probably never see again, you have my sincere gratitude for stepping in to support another patient like you suffering from invisible disease that others don't understand! THANK YOU for such kindness and support!

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