helen-louise (baratron) wrote,

crossposted to various chronic health communities

I had an altercation yesterday with an old woman who wanted my seat on the bus. It wasn't that I was unwilling to give up my seat to her so much as that I couldn't understand why she was asking a person with a walking stick to move when there were healthy-looking teenagers sitting in front of me. She was arguing that she hadn't asked them because they were older than me, which I couldn't understand because they clearly weren't, and so we were going round in circles arguing instead of dealing with the problem. What I *should* have done was stand up for her, then badger the healthy-looking teenagers into moving for me. But I was tired & in pain & my brain wasn't functioning well. So she went to sit further back in the bus, where I didn't want to sit because I didn't feel capable of dealing with the steps.

I'm sure she went away thinking how utterly unreasonable "that young girl" was, and I felt guilty for the rest of the day - still do, actually. I decided that I should make some cards to hand out to people explaining that Yes, I Do Have A Disability. I thought I could make them by hand, but then I realised that probably lots of people would find them useful. It could be done with a script where you go to a website and click the buttons saying what the issues you have are, and choose the picture you want to go at the top of the card. (I want help with finding free-to-use symbols for various disabilities.) You could decide whether you wanted to declare Specific Named Disabilities, or simply explain the symptoms you have. Also you could decide if you wanted it large print so people with bad eyesight could see it, or small print so the cards don't take up much room.

So I've asked a friend who's written an online card-generating program if he'd be interested in writing a version of it for me. And when I have spoons, I'll put together some designs for the cards. I'm thinking there would only be at most 5 different card designs. The headline would say "Yes, I do need a seat on the bus" / "Please may I use your toilet?" / "I have an invisible disability" / "I have a medical condition". The IBS and ulcerative colitis charities have cards about toilet use, but they look horrible. The medical condition card would be something you could give people if you were not able to communicate, telling them what to do (e.g. if you were having an asthma attack, anxiety attack, or autism spectrum overstimulation problem). These things *do* exist but they're really nasty-looking and hard to customise.

So. Would you be interested in a card like this, and if so, what would you want it to say?
Tags: disability, spoon management

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