The toughest battles are often the ones we fight silently

Please forgive me if this article seems a bit different. As I type this, I’m not feeling 100 per cent. I’m currently on antibiotics due to a sinus infection, and my allergies are acting up.

Initially, I was going to talk more about the Paralympics, but plans fell through, plus I’m feeling blah.

However, this whole thing made me think of another topic, which I don’t think I’ve discussed before.

In everyday life, things come up and change, often suddenly. It doesn’t matter if you’re physically disabled or not. It’s just a part of life.

However, if you are a person with a disability or have health issues, the unexpected can often happen and derail whatever plans you may have.

Sadly, over the years, I’ve lost several friends and even partners simply because there were times where my health and my disability were too much for them to handle. At least, that’s what they told me. There were times when I had to cancel plans with them either due to health issues and not being able to book transportation to movies or other events. I even recall a few occasions where the other person left because I was late. More accurately, Para Transpo was late picking up.

As a person with a disability, there are several things that I need to consider when I make plans with people, even if we’re hanging out at my place. I won’t go into full details, but one ongoing concern is time.

As I’ve mentioned, I have 24/7 care, but each shift is typically eight hours. The breakdown is 8 a.m. till 4 p.m., 4 p.m. till midnight, and midnight till 8 a.m. Unless I make special arrangements, I need to be home for shift change. After shift change, I’m free to go out or do whatever, but I need to make sure that I’m home in time for the shift change.

This can be a big problem if I attend an event at a club or in other event spaces. I should also mention that this is also an ongoing issue for all users of Para Transpo. The latest pick-up that can be booked is midnight, with New Year’s Eve being an exception. I believe it’s 12:30 or 1 a.m.

Regardless, it’s still very early if you’re at a bar or somewhere similar.

At this point, I haven’t even covered the part about health reasons. That could involve breathing problems, stomach issues, and at times, my mental health. If even one of those things isn’t doing well, I’ll more than likely need to cancel.

The keyword here is need.

I don’t want to cancel. I love my friends. The ones that are my close friends now are very understanding, and all that. Also, I miss the ones that I haven’t seen during the pandemic.

Needless to say, when I do cancel plans, it’s because I need to due to circumstances beyond my control.

Another part that I want to mention is long-term illnesses and diseases.

Far too often, I’ve heard stories regarding people with Cancer, MS, and other long-term illnesses being abandoned by friends and even family.

In most cases that I’ve heard, one of these two things happens.

A person gets diagnosed. In the beginning, they’re terrified. A bunch of their friends rally around them and promise always to be there. As time rolls on, some forget to check in either because they’re busy or don’t want to be around a sick person.

The other story that I often hear about is that a person gets diagnosed. The person chooses not to tell anyone, including family, out of fear of losing them. Months and years go by, with them battling in silence.

Of course, there are exceptions where friends and family do support them and look after the person. In my case, I don’t hear that story nearly often enough.

Now, I understand that life gets busy at times between work, family, and everything else. The world is crazy, and let’s be honest, scary place at times. Now that I mention it, that’s even more of a reason to be there for our friends and loved ones.

We all have our battles and struggles in life. For some, even getting out of bed is a struggle.

This week, my message to you all is to be more understanding towards each other. Come to think of it. I know that I’ve said that before. During these challenging times, I feel that it’s a message worth repeating.

Before I go this week, let me ask you all a question. Of course, it’s entirely up to you if you wish to answer.

If you or a loved one suddenly became disabled or diagnosed with a severe medical condition, what would you do?

I apologize for the grim question, but I think it’s a question we should all ask ourselves.

Please take care and look out for each other.