#Littlest had one of his annual radiology exams today. Good news, for the most part, but the radiologist did recommend we talk to orthopedics about his spine and hips–which we were planning on per neurosurgery from the hospital stay in Dec., we see neuro next week and will get the referral date then. He was SO GOOD this visit. Totally chill through the awkward and invasive exam, he had two amazing male attendants/techs who kept him totally comfortable. Dr. Myracle (no lie, that’s his name) feels like an old friend, so Littlest just puts up the iPad and gets down to business watching the screens and learning from Dr. M.

We had parked a ways out because ALL of the handicap places were filled, and none of the General/Guest parking lots had spaces, so I parked in an employee lot handicap spot and hiked. It was fine on the way in, but on the way out we got caught in the pouring rain. Littlest was totally warm and dry, but I had dripping hair and mascara running down my face.

The situation with the handicap spaces always seems to bring out the worst in people. It’s one of those things I’ve had people badmouth me for using (esp when Littlest was smaller and they couldn’t see “obvious” disability, though a trach is pretty dang obvious), and still others tell me I could park in an empty spot even when Littlest isn’t with me (argh, that’s s huge pet peeve, do not use a handicap placard unless it’s YOURS. They’re easy to get. Get your own!). It got me thinking about something I have been mulling over for weeks,  in regards to disability and the way society views it.

I’m pretty sure everyone knows what happened with our President Elect and the reporter with a neuromuscular disorder. I’m not going to rehash history. But I am going to speak about the issue that is part of our story: living with disability and the daily discrimination we face.

As the mom of a child who has both intellectual disability and physical disabilities, the argument that the President Elect “wasn’t mocking the disabled reporter because DTs hand movements weren’t mirroring the hands of the reporter” is absolutely infuriating. I can get he wasn’t specifically mocking the reporter. But let’s look at this from the perspective of ALL disabilities.

He may have not been mocking the exact movements of the individual with the neuromuscular disorder, but his hand motions mock any one of a dozen conditions which result in the child or adult stimming with their hands (flapping, holding their hands near their shoulders, or clenching their fists together intentionally or because of spastic muscles). His motions were without question using disability as a point of ridicule.

It’s mind boggling that people are arguing this when his biggest fan Ann Coulter wrote: “he was doing a standard r****d.” (Asterisks added because the word is so beyond offensive.) If you want to read her words google her name and “standard r****d” but type the R word in full.

In mocking a physical disability but using mental/neuro disability recognizable voice and hand movements, he essentially relegated all disabilities to the box of “mentally disabled and not worth my time.” This is outrageous because there are a host of physical impairments which do not affect the mental capacity of the individual. Some mental disabilities don’t affect physical to any great extent. Judging ANYONE as less-than because of any type of disability is outside the bounds of acceptable behavior.

As I left our children’s hospital this afternoon and saw all those handicap spots still full, it made me sad that this topic is just one of many that affect the vast numbers of disabled in our country. It’s at the very heart of the issue. It underlines the need for healthcare, for broader coverage, for pre-existing conditions to be covered. That if we aren’t going to step up and fight for fair and equal treatment in words and actions, we cannot hope to achieve it in medical care.

The rain reminded me that God sometimes brings good things to those who don’t deserve it. “…For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. – Matthew 5:45”

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