Myasthenics adjusting to reduced physical abilities must make lifestyle adaptations. To ensure the continuation of my tertiary studies, I’ve acquired disabled parking on campus.
Applying for the placard dented my pride. I struggled for months before finally admitting to needing disabled parking. I could no longer walk the distance from the public parking area to class. It exhausted me early in the morning, meaning I could not concentrate on my studies and was unable to walk back to my car after classes without a dropped foot or a droopy eye. Eventually, I needed to nap in my parked car before being physically able to drive home.
I realized I needed help. Many people believe accessible parking is only for people in wheelchairs. My struggle is an invisible illness, but I could not keep living as I was. So, I applied for disabled parking.
The application required medical certificates and an explanation of how exactly I would benefit from said parking. Perhaps the explanation would surprise many who have judged me for using that accommodation. You would think my student card granting access to accessible parking would be enough proof that I am allowed to use the spaces, but alas, here I am writing this column.
I’ve used accessible parking for almost two years now, and the stares have yet to subside. I get everything from dirty looks to cheeky comments so hurtful that I cry on campus. I am brought to tears for swallowing my pride and asking for help. I am judged for admitting what the genetic lottery has taken from me and trying to overcome it. The ironic part is that I study on a medical campus; a place I thought would have high empathy and understanding levels. Sadly, I was wrong.
There are so many struggles pounded into life with myasthenia gravis, but it is the social misunderstandings like this that make me acutely aware of how different my reality is from the rest of the world. I realize my perceptions have changed, both of myself and of the world I live in. That in itself is alienating.
However, it is most important to remember classmates who stand up for me because they do not tolerate injustice, and the lecturers who support me through my health issues with no less respect for me than my peers.
There are people who see you. There are people cheering for you. Never stop fighting — life is beautiful.
Myasthenia Gravis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.