Anyone else feel like they are being judged every time they use their blue badge or an accessible toilet? Seriously, the only time I feel free from scrutiny is when I have a wheelchair or at least a crutch or two. MS is mostly invisible. You look fine therefore you are fine. I was approached by a very polite old lady the other day while leaving my car in a blue badge space – ‘Oh, excuse me dear, I don’t know if you’re aware, but this is disabled parking, I don’t want you to get a ticket’. A rather nice way of accusing me of being a fraud I thought, much better than the grumpy old sod who banged on my window before I’d even had a chance to find my badge. ‘Where’s your blue badge?’ he yelled, whilst waving his fist like a cartoon villain, to which I calmly replied by removing my blue badge from the glove compartment and placing it firmly on the dashboard. In your face you stupid old git. I am yet to be approached in this way when using a disabled toilet, but it will happen.
Here’s the thing, disabled toilets are my saviour. I may not usually need the space that they afford but I sure as hell need the accessibility. I’m sure a lot of MSers can relate to this – Think we can stand up in a queue for several minutes (or even seconds) without a) wetting ourselves or b) collapsing into a heap on the floor when our legs give in? Think again. But how many of us actually look like we have this problem? And does this problem even exist in the minds of ‘normal’ people who have never had the need to even consider such issues? So every time I bypass a queue for the ladies I do so with a feeling of dread, waiting for the snide remarks to come and tightly clutching my ‘Because I have MS, I need to use the toilet urgently’ card in my hand. But if I ever need to explain myself I’ll have to do so after I’ve been to the loo, otherwise we’re asking for trouble.
First published 18 August 2016