PWD — more than meets the eye

If you’re anything like me, you’re probably tired of hearing about the “C” word, and I’m not talking about cancer. This week, I’m taking a much-needed break from mentioning the “C” word.

Recently, I received a new piece of medical equipment. I received a portable stand for my ventilator and humidifier. This is, so I’m able to be hooked up to my humidifier during the day. Typically, I just use my portable vent without a humidifier during the day and when I go out. However, during the winter months, I have a more challenging time getting junk out of my lungs due to dryness and also, let’s face it, I’m not going out right now.

Because of that “C” word.

Last mention of it this week, I promise.

Whenever I get something cool or fancy, I like to show it off on my social media pages. However, when it comes to medical equipment, I very rarely mention it or post pics.

Why is that?

As I’ve talked about here in the past, society has an incredibly messed up view and opinion of people with disabilities as well as those with rare or severe medical problems. For whatever reason, many tend to focus on the disease or disability instead of the actual person. I, of course, have encountered this many times and still do regularly.

For me, I would much rather be perceived as a person first. After all, that is what I am. I may look like a cyborg to some, but I’m, in fact, 100 per cent human.

Perhaps this may sound vain, but I like to look good as much as possible. For me, this means making sure my face is clean, shaved etc. The added part is making sure that I’m positioned well in my wheelchair or that none of my ventilator tubing or wires are sticking out.

For a physically disabled person who relies on others to get them up in the morning, this can be challenging.

Over the years, I’ve had several caregivers that didn’t understand my need to look good, or they just didn’t care. There have been times where I’ve gone out and had dried snot on my face or sleep in my eyes. I realize that it sometimes happens to able-bodied people as well, but probably not regularly. I’ve also seen it happen to other PWD and sometimes to seniors, particularly in long-term care homes. Some PWD or seniors may not be aware or perhaps may not be able to communicate effectively. It shouldn’t mean that they don’t deserve to feel human.

No matter where you live or how you live, we all deserve to look and feel our best, regardless of our situation.

No matter what I do or what I wear, people will always stare at me because of the simple fact that I’m in a wheelchair. I can’t control that. However, I can control certain aspects of my appearance and the message I’m putting out there.

I’ve always believed that if people are going to stare at me, why not give them something good to stare at?

That may sound vain to some people, and perhaps it is on a certain level. Consider this though, when many people already perceive you as different solely based on your disability, don’t you owe it to yourself to do things that make you feel (and look) good?

Perhaps, just perhaps they may see more than just another person with a disability. They may see you.