I've often heard people mention that people in wheelchairs are ignored, or that people don't make eye contact with them. In fact, because I've read this so many times I try and make a conscious effort to look someone in a wheelchair in the eye while I try to help them to the best of my ability in whatever way I can.
This has been an interesting year for me. I have found myself wearing a corset, a couple of bone stimulators and a cam walker (a boot from my foot to my knee.)
I haven't had the situation with people ignoring me, in fact, I have had the opposite and every where I go I get questioned. What did you do, what is that thing, what does it do, is it helping, how do you deal with the heat....until I pretty much feel like I have given every stranger within a 50 mile radius my life story.
As I have gotten sicker my life has become much smaller and as you can imagine, I don't even want to tell the people I like about my health for fear of unasked for suggestions or opinions. Telling my personal information to people that I don't even know just makes me feel uncomfortable.
Can you imagine every time I tell someone "I have rheumatoid arthritis and I had an ankle fusion" the look of confusion or horror. God forbid I mention this is my second surgery, they look at me like I have two heads.
I guess I just don't understand why my wearing a boot gives anyone the invitation to question me, even if they are just curious or trying to be nice.
My health is not my choice, this wearing of the boot isn't something that happen because I was having fun skiing and broke a bone, or I tripped over something and sprained my ankle. This wearing of a boot is because I'm in the fight of my life to get some kind of control over my health and I feel like I deserve some privacy to just live my life, even if it includes two very odd looking bone stimulators.
I've always been about education and getting the word out about RA but now that I have worn a very obvious medical device for a few years (on more than off) I just want to blend into the background.
I am so much more than the boot I wear and if you find that you want to start up a conversation could you please remember that I have a right to privacy and sometimes I just want to be someone other than the girl fighting RA or the one that has had 2 surgeries and is scheduling another one for January.
Published On: August 09, 2011