“Be Cool. We Are!” An intriguing theme for Indiana’s Disability Awareness Month. I do encourage you to take a look at this message, shared by individuals with varying struggles. Governor Holcomb kicked off the month with support, and I appreciate the words he shared. What does it mean to be “cool”? To be “comfortable in your own skin,” he suggests.
As we face disability, either through experience or observation, it inevitably causes us to feel uncomfortable. As I have gone from starting to use a cane fifteen years ago to gradually using other methods of physical support, I have gradually learned to be comfortable in my own skin, so to speak. I first felt that my cane flashed neon lights, then that a walker screamed of weakness. But as a person facing disability, I have certainly learned the importance of helping others like me feel less awkward. A smile and positive words can work wonders. My cane didn’t glow, my walker didn’t scream, and my wheelchair was just fine.
Some disabilities appear outwardly, others are less obvious. When they appear more obvious, I appreciate the Governor’s Council’s advice: “Be Cool. We Are.” Sounds like a good plan! And for those with disabilities that are more hidden (but just as real), this theme may give reason to contemplate… what hidden limitations are faced by those around me? Whatever they may be, I’ll try to be cool.
This morning, as I went through normal bits of routine, I couldn’t help but notice a few very obvious snippets of life here that I was very thankful for! Why does that bit of thanks deserve an exclamation point? Well, as you may recall, my “invisible” disability is sometimes very obvious, as MS impedes my dexterity, to put it mildly. So here I’ll share some thankful things that are very real to me.
5 helpful things I’m very thankful for:
- Chair in the shower – I’m not sure why it took so long for me to figure this out, but last year, my husband and I realized that a shower wasn’t invigorating me, but was exhausting me. After a time or two when I dropped down to the floor, we decided that sitting while showering was worth a try. Boy, did this help!
- Bars in the shower – We’ve had these for almost a decade now, and I appreciate this so much!
- Handles around the porcelain “throne” – It is so helpful to have a handhold when sitting on or getting up from the toilet. Not fun to talk about, but even less fun to struggle with when you’re stuck.
- Rocker light switches – I’m so thankful that our light switches are all this type, so I can hit it with an elbow or palm of my hand, rather than having to hook a toggle switch. For those who have traditional switches, changing to this type is a simple, inexpensive way to add accessibility to a room.
- Small ramp near garden – Most of our doors out of our house are at ground level, but our back door has a small step. This was a tiny bit frustrating, but T.R. found a tiny ramp we could order to help fix this stumbling spot. Cool stuff!