I am sure there is some politically correct reason why a person with disability should not use the world “normal”; actually probably about 10 reasons. But, yesterday, I was in a group where I felt ‘normal’ and it was great.
I went to a support group for a neurological condition. Because of confidentiality, I can’t write about the actual events but I can explain what I felt. I had gone to this Neurological Organization because I seemed to have a lot of similar symptoms that their diagnosis did. I explained that I was still far from a definite diagnosis and that what I had was something neurological and they invited me to the support meeting.
If you are gay or lesbian, you may remember the rush of the first couple times you were “out” and met and talked to gays and lesbians. There was that rush of feeling because you realized that all the things which made you feel different from other people and the things people questioned you about yourself, and the things you could never seem to explain adequately here, around other gays and lesbians were just....normal. At a gay/lesbian dinner no one goes; “Are you SURE you are attracted to women? Maybe you just haven’t met the right guy.” Because, of course you are attracted to the same sex, who wouldn’t want to be? And instead of being the person who was different looking in, you were now in a group that was showing you what was possible: “Want children, no problem. I have two from AI, myself.”; “We went on a lesbian/gay cruise; it was great; k.d. lang performed as entertainment.”
Well yesterday, for a couple of hours, I was in a room where everything medical that makes normal people uncomfortable about me was totally normal. Even the fact that it wasn’t a meeting room with big armchairs but a big space for different types of wheelchairs; it was a room where nothing I could do medically would be considered odd, or unusual, or threatening. I took some medication during the meeting; no one even took a second glance. When people talked about a particular symptom or experience, I would look up and just from the look on my face and the meeting of our eyes, we knew we had the same symptom. Where in the rest of my days I try to explain what is going on or what I am feeling, we jumped right over that to “What did you do for it?” They told ME I was tired (which I was), they said they could see the signs. I found out that the reason I could have the same attack/prolonged medical problems as someone else and not be admitted to hospital was because they had a label; a diagnosis and I did not (suck!). But the encouragment was the meeting saying to me in various ways, 'you're one of us.'
I think sometimes, whether it is your anime obsession, your sci-fi obsession, your knitting obsession, your scrap-booking obsession; whatever it is that strongly defines an aspect of who you are and how you view the world (For example, if most of your quotes during the day; “Never give up, never surrender”, come from Science Fiction Films, maybe you should go to a Sci-Con convention?) it is nice to be around people who simply “get it.” Where you never have to spend all your time translating what you mean and can move right into the dirty jokes (do knitters have dirty jokes, I hope they do).
Anyway, they voted unanimously that I could come back so until I get a firm, final and definite diagnosis, there is a place I can go.
In other unrelated news, I now have an electric hospital bed for my ‘can’t get out of bed’ and ‘I am choking on my own saliva’ days. My first response was, “Which of these buttons does the back massage?” And since one of the guys who put in the bed also worked for Search and Rescue, we traded nasty rescue stories (I am now convinced that no one should ever, ever go outside, at least not in the ‘real’ outback – after a few stories which include the phrase “shards of bone” you get convinced pretty quick). Anyway, back to bed, I have to see if I can raise my back and feet up enough to squish me like happens in the slapstick films. It is good to see I still have that scientific enquiring mind.
1 day ago