MS and the Frequent Bouts of Disability

Mandy Crest Health Guide
  • Marriam-Webster OnLine defines the word disabled as: “incapacitated by illness or injury; also : physically or mentally impaired in a way that substantially limits activity especially in relation to employment or education”

    Am I disabled? Are you? The definition sounds fairly cut and dry, but when I try to apply it to my own life, things get a little fuzzy. 

    At this particular moment in time, there is no question about it. I am not disabled. I drove myself to work this morning. I worked for four hours, then drove myself home. I worked in my home office for several more hours, then prepared dinner. I also did a few minor chores around the house. Despite mild fatigue and an awkward gait, my activity was not “substantially limited in relation to employment.” I was entirely self-sufficient. But that was today.

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    Often, I am less than fully functional, but still wouldn't go so far as to call myself disabled. It's more like being “functionally challenged.” I get by with assistance. I need to be driven to work, and I need to rest when I come home. I need that handicapped parking space, a cane, and other assistive devices, but I manage the basics.

    Then there are the days when I am most definitely, undeniably, disabled. Unable to venture out into the world by myself and quite unable to work, I spend my time trying to find a comfortable spot to land. The amount of effort required to move about my own home is exhausting. That seems to fit the definition of disability.

    So, what am I? Disabled... partially disabled... occasionally disabled? I can't get a handle on the label, but do I need to? The label itself changes nothing except for the pre-conceived notions of other people. As Jake and I are fond of saying “it is what it is.”

    Right now I am unconcerned about the label society would place on me. When will it become important? When things get worse and I cross that blurry line. The label means everything as far as applying for ay kind of financial relief or challenging unfair treatment.

    Sometimes I refer to myself as disabled, sometimes I don't. Today I am not, but I reserve the right to reconsider next time MS gets the upper hand.

    Are you disabled or straddling the line, as I am? Share your insight with us!

Published On: July 22, 2008