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Taking care of yourself when no one else will

Updated: Mar 7, 2023

An elderly woman using a walker to take a walk in a park
An elderly woman using a walker to take a walk in a park

Often when people are trying to work with me they don’t take into account my disabilities. It can be both frustrating and dangerous for me, especially with my TBI and other unwelcome companions.

I had a great example of this last month. I’m working with a hospital on a disability program. The weather was not going to be bad, but dangerous for anyone to be outside for any prolonged period. Since I take public transport to where I am going, leaving my place would mean braving wind chills as cold as -15.

I got an email from the hospital rep saying they may cancel the meeting due to the weather. I was immediately grateful and sent them a message letting them know that I appreciated them taking into account the people like me who would not be able to attend in such dangerous weather conditions.

However, later that evening I got another email saying that they were going to hold the meeting or else they would lose funding for the program they were trying to implement. Although I understand the need for funding I was also disappointed that I would not be able to attend an important meeting and give my perspective because of ableist attitudes around transportation and the weather.

I can’t just hop in a car and drive safely to my destination like other able-bodied people! When you are working with someone with any kind of disability you need to take into account what they can and can’t do and what is safe for them to do! Be aware of these kinds of attitudes and always decide to keep yourself safe rather than trying to keep up with people who don’t understand your disability and its limitations.

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