It all started when someone told my friend, “You’re so lucky to have a disabled permit. You must save so much on parking!” Understandably, she really let fly. But it got me thinking – I do love my disabled parking permit. And so the challenge was on. The benefits of having MS? Everyone’s different but here are my personal top ten.
- OK, the permit. Gotta love it. Even if NSW has reduced our eminently reasonable, unlimited parking limits to line up with Victoria’s draconian double-time-only policy. And even if, in the beginning, I felt the need to affect a pronounced limp when departing my car, and again on the re-approach, in case anyone was watching. But if you’re able-bodied, don’t try telling me I’m lucky. Just warning you.
- Getting lifts. Whether it’s 15 minutes to Cobargo for my talking points on solving the superannuation standoff or an hour to Merimbula for my thesis on the current crisis in the institution of democracy, I have a captive audience.
- Short-term memory loss. Insults, slights, my own social gaffes – gone, like a stagnant puddle on a summer’s day.
- My newfound Lady Muck status. At social gatherings, I get to sit in comfort while others run around fetching me coffee, cakes, peeled grapes, candied quail eggs…
- Freedom from expectations. No-one seems to expect anything at all of me anymore. And the other side of it: I achieve the smallest thing, and they’re all like, “Aw, did you do that? All by yourself?” Case in point: at lunch the other day, I stood up from my seat (probably to go to the toilet – see point 8). A triumphant cry from a fellow diner, “She’s up!” Yay. Gold star for me.
- The end of ear-strain. I don’t have to listen hard anymore, because since I got a walking stick people speak REALLY LOUDLY and veeerrryyy sloooowly.
- Occupational safety benefits. Little known fact: people with MS very rarely fall off roofs. Check the statistics.
- Weak bladder. You know those people who think that because you’re disabled you’re going to appreciate whatever attention you can get? I was once cornered at a party by a woman who seemed to think I’d be riveted by her thought processes in choosing the fabric for her new bathroom blinds. Happily, I was struck by the need to visit the loo. And on the way back, sadly, I was waylaid by another guest. Incontinence. No-one’s gonna argue with you.
- Short-term memory loss. Insults, slights, my own … oops.
- Instant red carpet. Try walking through a crowd with a stick, and watch the multitudes part before you, leaving a clear, uncluttered walkway. They’re worried you’re going to fall on them. Whatever. Hold your head up, smile beneficently, and swan on through.
Any I’ve missed? Fee free to add them below.