Handicap Parking and My Invisible Illness

 

I have an invisible illness. To look at me you would see a short, fat, middle-aged grandmother. Sometimes I walk with a cane, but most of the times I don’t need it. I have a handicapped parking tag hanging on the mirror of my car. I park in handicapped spots. However, I get nasty looks when I get out of my car because I look normal.

I am not “normal”, I have Fibromyalgia. This is a connective tissue disorder. The health professionals’ don’t know what causes it, or how to cure it. There is no blood work that says, yes, you have it or, no, you don’t. It is diagnosed by a list of symptoms and a series of pressure points on the body.
They symptoms of Fibromyalgia are many and varied. What affects one sufferer may not affect another. In my case it is chronic fatigue and chronic pain. The fatigue can be overwhelming. Some days, just thinking about getting out of my bed or my chair is more than I can deal with. Doing everyday activities like washing my hair may not be possible because I can’t hold my arms up long enough to lather in the shampoo much less have any remaining strength to rinse it out.

Chronic pain is another major symptom of this disease. It is not like any pain I have ever had. My muscles hurt. My joints hurt. My skin hurts. It hurts to have the lightest touch. Being hugged can be torture. Shaking hands feels like a vise. This is where the pressure point diagnoses comes in. There are eighteen pressure points on your body. A doctor who is familiar with the illness knows how hard and where to press. If he gets a reaction on eleven of the eighteen, it is considered a diagnosis. The day I went in because of the pain, I had a response to all eighteen pressure points.

Other symptoms that go with the illness do not in and of themselves mean you have Fibro. They can be indicators of other illnesses or mean nothing at all. I have a tendency to drop small items such as keys. I have also dropped large items because I thought I had a good grip on them and didn’t. This is not always constant and some days are better than others.

It can also alter your vision. Some days it is hard to focus and other days I have clarity of vision I haven’t had in years. Some days I can walk as I did ten years ago, and some days it is all I can do to make my legs work. Some days I can eat whatever I want. Some days my stomach is in an uproar and getting any distance from a toilet is not an option.

How does this affect my everyday life? In some ways, it has been extremely negative. I have well-meaning friends and family tell me about the latest miracle cure. They also give me unsolicited advice such as if you would only . . . fill in the blank . . . you would feel better. On the other hand, there is this wonderful new doctor, treatment or vitamin that will surely cure me. They are offended when I don’t jump at the latest offering or advice, but what they don’t understand is that I have looked at all the suggestions they are offering me, and I found them lacking, quackery or just plain dangerous.
I can no longer work, even part-time. The fatigue and pain would put me to bed. I know, because I tried working part-time. At the end of the first two weeks, I was in tears. At the end of the second two weeks, I was in the bed for most of the next five months.

My love life is not what I want it to be. It is difficult for my husband to make love to me knowing that his slightest touch can be painful. This might work if you are married to a sadist, but most husbands don’t want to hurt their wives. The fatigue also plays havoc with my love life. I get tired quickly.
I have three beautiful grandchildren. I have not bonded with the youngest two as well as I have with the oldest. Because of the fatigue and tendency to drop objects I didn’t hold them as much as I did the first one.All of this led to a tremendous amount of guilt and anger. These have to be dealt with in order to move on with your life.
Grieve.
Grieve for the abilities you have lost.
Grieve for the uncontrollable changes in your life.
Grieve for the plans you had that will not come to pass.
Grieve for the you, you could have been.
Get angry.

Find someone who will listen without judging. Who will let you blow off steam. If cussing makes you feel better, use every foul word you ever heard and make up new ones. Get it out of your system. Dealing with the guilt and the anger are not going to happen overnight, and once you deal with it doesn’t mean it will be gone forever. You will have periods where they will come back. Don’t be alarmed or get depressed, well maybe for a little while you can be depressed, but deal with them in the way you know works for you. The only exception here is substance abuse. It is very tempting to drink, smoke pot, do pills or eat yourself into a stupor to make it all go away. However, this are only temporary fixes, and adds to your problems. It is not what you would tell your children or your friends to do. So, don’t you. (End of sermon)

All is not lost. I have been able to make positives out of the negatives. I now work from home as a freelance writer. It has been a slow journey, but I am making progress. I have written a few articles and been paid for them. I was a regular book reviewer for Romantic Times Bookclub Magazine, and had to stop as I had a short story published. I am developing an online reputation as a writer doing research columns, writing book reviews and teaching classes online.

My husband and I are learning to adapt to the illness and have a mutually satisfying love life. My children and grandchildren are learning to cope and know that they are loved in spite of what I can no longer do. We are learning how to adapt the activities we love to do as a family so I can take part and everyone can have a good time.

My friends and family are learning to look carefully at treatments and doctors not just for me, but for themselves too.

Now, if I could just get people in parking lots to quit giving me dirty looks when a “normal” looking woman gets out of a car parked in a handicapped spot.

Submitted by guest writer Deborah Brent

©2016butyoudontlooksick.com
  • Heather

    What you are finding in this thread are people who truly need disabled parking are speaking out on their own behalf. That they are fed up with the lack of understanding of their needs. That too many people use disabled parking for convenience which blocks someone in a wheelchair or using a walker.

    If you believe misinformation about laws is being spread then link your state disabled parking permit application and correct the misinformation.

  • tamsets

    Initially, I joined this sight and this specific discussion believing that others with invisible illness would be encouraging one another. What I have learned through this thread is that there are far too many judgmental people out there that make assumptions about people they believe to be “faking” their illness and giving their opinions and spreading misinformation about the laws regarding handicapped parking. I DO NOT have to share my medical information with someone wanting to be parking enforcer judging and yelling at me if I do not use an assistive devise when I get out of my car. Some days are better than others and if I don’t need it I don’t take a handicapped spot, but I certainly do not deserve to be shamed or bullied when I do.

  • Carol Foggo-Klos

    No easy answer for this one. My mother can hardly walk, and get in or out of a car when I drive her around. Imagine our frustration when we couldn’t find an open handicapped parking space only to see some one easily get out of their car and walk a few steps to the front door from their handicapped space. Yes, that person may have been dealing with chronic pain, but seemed to be able to walk much better than my mother could. I helped a mother a few years ago struggle to get her wheel-chair bound child out of a van in a “regular” handicapped parking place because a car had parked in the van accessible space. Inconsiderate of the person who took the spot, just because they had a placard does not mean they have the right to park there. Please understand the frustration from both sides, saw a lot of venom from both.

  • Larry

    Try being wheelchair bound and not being able to get in/out your vehicle because the “van accessible” parking spaces are all taken by people complaining of chronic pain. Even though they can still walk and a regular handicap parking spaces are open just one stall farther away.

    Need versus convenience/ease, simple concept that many can’t grasp.

  • OldMaidWhovian

    Some really bitter people commenting on here. Here’s something to think about: Try having chronic pain and NO or very little HEALTH INSURANCE! Try living under the poverty level–too poor to afford Medicaid spend down, too much money to qualify for total medicaid. So you do WITHOUT MOST HEALTH CARE OPTIONS–including pain control options.

    Stop whining and start APPRECIATING that you all can AFFORD A DOCTOR AND MEDICATIONS. I also CAN’T AFFORD A CAR–and HAVE to WALK!

  • Heather

    If you can’t walk 200 feet without rest then Godspeed to you. You more than qualify and I wish you well.

    There’s just so many people, the vast majority of disabled placard holders, that can walk further than 200 feet. And it is those people who are cheating the system and blocking people like us who truly need to space.

  • Chris

    Actually that is exactly what im getting looked at for but mines the one that starts in the 30s

  • Chris

    Oh I didnt bother listing all my problems but no I can’t walk even 100 ft and actually that sounds about what im gettimg checked for in august its to do with my spine but either way we cant switch places thats the point I got approved because I meet the qualifications set by the government or whoever I dont need to meet anyone elses qualifications

  • Heather

    If you can walk over 200 feet without rest your don’t qualify. And if you want to swap illnesses/disease I would in a heartbeat. Look up Spinal Muscular Atrophy and tell me you still want to switch.

  • Chris

    Wow clearly I should have read the past comments. If I had the option of plugging u in a simulator hooked to me oh I would lol cause ur ignorant and clueless after 5 seconds youd hit the ground screaming 911 personally I really dgaf if you belive me or ur momma belives me. My highly qualified drs do so thats that but hey if ur jello over my parking spot ill gladly let u have it and my fibromyalgia……

  • Chris

    Amen I was diagnosed in 1999 and also had all 18 points just got my plaque last week .im only 36 ,&,110 lbs but the looks I get just make me mad

  • Heather
  • Jeri

    You don’t think drs are judgmental? Or sometimes: make mistakes, are wrong, are corrupt, ….

    Pain prescriptions is an easy to relate to area where some drs over-prescribe or outright lie to give patients what they want. Disabled parking is no different. In fact, over-prescribing disabled permits if far more prevalent than over-prescribing drugs. Simply because drug prescriptions are far more regulated.

    If you don’t think this is true, then your totally unaware of the true abuse and fraud within the disabled parking system.

  • Chris

    Thank you for that googled information but never the less it still the drs who decide and not people who are just judgmental….

  • Jeri

    The federal guidelines word it as such, “Cannot walk two hundred feet without stopping to rest”. Most states follow the federal guidelines due to reciprocal agreements. And yes, most Doctors do not know this. And it’s actually not the Doctors or the DMV that word the qualifications. They are state statues worded by and voted on by your state legislators.

  • Chris

    Actually thats no how the qualified drs or the dmv who made the applications word it… but hey u.must be more educated then them js

  • Jeri

    And by specific guidelines you do mean that your unable to walk 200 feet without rest. Not just sometimes, but always. Right?

  • jackie

    I am 50 yrs. old. I have bone on bone arthritis in my knee and bone spurs in my ankles. I have a handy cap parking sticker. someone slashed my tire because I did not look sick enough. He should have waited until after my shopping when I was practically crawling to my car after shopping , when I have used up all of my spoons. The Doctors fill out the handicap parking applications, by following the specific guidelines . I can’t believe the haters out there. If a doctor filled one out for you, use it.

  • Chris

    Some of what people

  • Crystal Story

    The requirements on the application are pretty specific and appear to be for pretty severe issues. I would like to know why so many Dr’s are filling out the paperwork for some of these people?

  • Michelle

    I actually have turned people in who I KNEW were abusing the system or parked in handicap parking w/o a permit. I suppose if it hit closer to home I would be more proactive, but as it is I’m pretty passionate about a few other things at the moment. :)

  • Ben

    Well all I can ask is for you to pay a little more attention to what you see in your own state. If you see the vast majority of disabled parkers walking over 200 feet unassisted you can be fairly certain most are abusing the system.

  • Michelle

    Most may be, but not necessarily unassisted which means they still qualify – at least in my state. I’m sure there are those who abuse the system and it’s great that you’re working to stop that.

  • Ben

    Oh believe me I’m advocating. I’ve been working with local, state, and federal level political representatives/senators and city engineers. It’s not so much a government corruption issue, it’s more of an entitled society issue. Disabled parking is mostly an honor system, unfortunately many people put their own convenience ahead of honoring the system. They all know the rules, they know they are either bending them or just plain breaking them.

    Lastly, I take it your answer to the question would be most people you see using handicap parking is walking more than 200 feet. And I would agree, most are.

  • Michelle

    I don’t watch every single person walk from the handicap parking and those I do, I don’t stare at them to see if they are wearing leg braces or something else -unless it’s blatantly apparent. If you think someone is breaking the law, call the cops. Otherwise, all you’re doing is spinning your wheels and wasting time complaining. Get out and lobby for harsher restrictions, if you think that’s the problem. If you think government corruption is the problem, do something about that – or, at least try.

  • Ben

    Yep your pretty much nailed the reasons: not being able to walk at all without a mobility aid, being blind, or not being able to walk 200 feet.

    So the least restrictive requirement is not being able to walk 200 feet. How many people do you see park in a disabled space then get out and walk over 200 feet? Be honest, what percent do you see do this?

  • Michelle

    If they have a handicapped parking permit, who are YOU to say they “shouldn’t be”? Are you their doctor? Don’t get angry at people trying to live their lives with extreme, debilitating pain, get angry at yourself for being so judgmental. You don’t have any idea what their lives are like. You are also incorrect about how one qualifies for a permit:

    1. A person who has severely limited mobility because of paralysis or the loss of use of some or all of the person’s legs or arms;
    2. A person who is affected by loss of vision or substantial loss of visual acuity or visual field beyond correction; or
    3. A person who has any other disability that prevents the person from walking without the use of an assistive device or that causes the person to be unable to walk more than 200 feet, including but not necessarily limited to:
    Chronic heart condition;
    Emphysema;
    Arthritis;
    Rheumatism; or
    Ulcerative colitis or related chronic bowel disorder (Formerly 801.235).

  • Ben

    Sophie, what does anything you said have to do with people using disabled parking that shouldn’t be?

  • Sophie

    “Lazy inconsiderate people?” Really? You are not only those things, but insensitive and cruel as well. Also clueless. And ignorant. You may never be stricken with an incurable disease that ravages your body, your finances, your mind, and indeed, your entire life while not appearing obvious to others, but fear not. One day, one way or another, you will reap the harvest of the vitriol and negativity you spew at people struggling to cope with something they never asked for and did nothing to deserve. When that day comes you’ll likely rail bitterly about the vile people who judge you as harshly as you have judged others. Enjoy your misery.

  • Ben

    Handicap parking spaces are not tools. They are intended for those who only have one spoon. Not for lazy inconsiderate people with 10 spoons that only want to spend one spoon on parking, at the expense of people with only one spoon, so they can run multiple errands or go on long shopping trips.

  • Alicia Zarycki

    I remind people that a handicapped parking space is a tool. I don’t always need my obvious tools that show my need for the parking space my placard allows me to use. However, the space is a tool in itself. I don’t have to lose spoons on walking the extra distance to other parking spaces much further away, after using up spoons by just shopping. I still have to drive home, bring in my shopping, and other everyday parts of life. I might even get to keep a spoon or two over the course of the day or the future days by saving the extra energy and pain that not using the handicapped parking spaces would require. Besides, my personal health diagnosis isn’t something that is for the public to know about unless I choose to share it.

  • Heather
  • Heather
  • Anna Christine Strait

    I get debilitating migraines…. where I am unable to move out of bed without risk of throwing up or passing out. However, I can manage to get to the store to get pain meds. Not because my pain has lessened or I have become accustomed to it, but because I move slow, wear a hat and the darkest sunglasses I can find. It takes me hours to simply get out the door. Once I am in the car, I drive slowly and take no fast turns, because passing out at the wheel is not something I feel like doing at any time. Once I get to the store, a person looking at me wouldn’t realize I had a jackhammer going off in my brain. I am walking slow, but no stranger would know that. Simply by looking at me standing in the store trying to read medication boxes through the pain haze in my brain, you wouldn’t know I was at a 9 pain level. I’ve had people accuse me of being hungover (or drunk), when I rarely drink. I’ve had people tell me they get headaches all the time, no big deal. I’ve lost jobs because I was having migraines too close together or for 4 days straight and had to call off work. You may try to say, if I am able to get out of bed then the pain isn’t debilitating. I have no choice, or rather a sucky choice. I can either go through the trip to the store when I first wake up in pain or I can let the migraine rage out of control, end up in pain for days and risk losing a job because I am out for a week. People with pain levels that high don’t always show it on the outside. We develop masks so our families don’t realize the pain we are in. We develop routines for things that have to be done, no matter the pain level for the day. Suggesting that someone who doesn’t know me should be able to tell I am in pain isn’t just rude, it is sanctimonious and reeks of assholishness.

  • KatyMarie

    Thank you for your education. Haven’t good night .

  • George

    Just pointing out if your pain is really that high, it will not be invisible. That’s like saying your level 8 pain is invisible when giving birth.

  • KatyMarie

    Wow, then I guess you know my pain. My body & my conditions better than I do. There really is no point in arguing with any of you. The fact is you will NEVER GET IT until god forbid, you yourself are subjected to an illness that changes your entire life. I truly hope you never have to experience that. As I commented on anothers argument, living with chronic pain is something I have to live with. Although my pain scale may seem unlikely to you, well you don’t know me, live with me, nor do you have to assist me. I have no choice but to live like this, yes I go to PT, do water therapy, all under the supervision of my therapist. I’m not allowed to go work out, or carry over 10lbs. I have to have someone with me most times I am out. I never asked for this, I certainly don’t appreciate nor need the judgements I get from those around me. Living with an invisible disabilities is hard enough. Having to put up with the stigmas that come with it, just adds to my stress, emotions and self esteem. Yes I have attempted suicide more than once. You think I want to live like this? Thank you so much for educating ME ON MY PAIN, ILLNESSES AND DIAGNOSIS! Truly you have made me a smarter person. Have a good day

  • George

    Pain scale numbers are very subjective. However, most scales will say 7-10 is severe and so disabling you cannot perform daily activities independently. For example, a pain level 8 is described by some scales as:
    “Pain so intense you can no longer think clearly at all, and have often undergone severe personality change if the pain has been present for a long time. Suicide is frequently contemplated and sometimes tried. Comparable to childbirth or a real bad migraine headache.”

    If your pain is truly at an 8, there would be visible signs. If you become accustomed, numbed, to the pain. Then it’s no longer a severe 8 but more like a moderate 4. Where 4 is defined as:
    “Strong, deep pain, like an average toothache, the initial pain from a bee sting, or minor trauma to part of the body, such as stubbing your toe real hard. So strong you notice the pain all the time and cannot completely adapt. This pain level can be simulated by pinching the fold of skin between the thumb and first finger with the other hand, using the fingernails, and squeezing real hard. Note how the simulated pain is initially piercing but becomes dull after that.”

  • KatyMarie

    I am glad you see it that way. However, having pain on a level 8 is normal for me, I don’t ALWAYS use my cane, I don’t always park in the handicapped spot either. Nonetheless, by MANY people’s “norms” I don’t look sick, I have even been accused of having my cane as a “prop”. I hear all too often, that but you’re so beautiful, young, you can’t be disabled. Why can’t I be? 2 1/2 years ago a woman who failed to stop at a stop sign took away my life, to this day she has no remorse, yet I have had to learn to live again. So maybe my comment isn’t what your talking about, but the looks and comments I get from people who see me I AM ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE WHO DOES NOT QUALIFY to them.

  • George

    Walking with a cane is not invisible. Having a pain level of 8 is severe debilitating pain. That level of pain is very visible. The people we are complaining about are people using disabled parking who have no visible limitation while walking farther than 200 feet. Which by definition does not qualify one for a disabled parking permit.

  • KatyMarie

    I’m 34, suffer from Fibromyalgia, CFS, Neuropathy, Narcolepsy, RLS, Ulcerative colitis, ALL OF WHICH YOU WOULD.never know by looking at me. Do I use a handicap spot everytime? No, but on days when the pain is high or I have a long day, you bet I do. People who either 1) Judge 2) refuse to educate themselves or 3) are just mean intentioned are the most ignorant. These illnesses have affected EVERY aspect of my life, my family’s life and friends. Not only do we have to comes to terms with loosing your former self/life, we also have to deal with the ignorance of people like yourself, and others who are just mean. I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy, but there are times when I wish for one day those who are so quick to judge people with Invisible disabilities for you to be in my shoes on any day. My good days my pain levels are an 8, fatigue, memory loss all day everyday day. On my worst days I have been in so much pain that I couldn’t even make it to the bathroom, I have someone who helps me, but there goes my dignity. So until you or ANY OF YOU who judge us walk in our shoes or someone you love dearly suffers from an invisible disabilities please educate yourself before you reign judgement and open your mouths. The hatred from so many of you breaks my heart. Just because you don’t “see or understand” something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
    There are people who abuse the system, and YES IT ANGERS ME AS WELL, but not everyone abuses the system, and believe me walking with a cane at 34 is not glamorous. So please stop the judgement, the stigmas and PLEASE STOP THE HATE. to all those who suffer ((gentle hugs)) & butterfly kisses, the rest of you will be in my prayers so that you might find understanding & tolerate in your hearts to seek more education of the things you don’t understand. Judgement is a very negative trait to express.

  • Heather

    I’m encouraged that you seem to be understanding the issues better Michelle, which is all I’m asking. No need to police the handicap spaces. Understanding the issues and spreading that understanding will be very helpful.

  • Michelle

    No, I don’t believe everyone is using a hidden prosthetic or brace and I’m sure there are some people who are using the permit illegally and I don’t condone that. However, I’m not going to police everyone’s use of handicapped spaces just like I’m not going to police everyone who smokes (which is more dangerous to public health, btw) to make sure they are the designated number of feet away from public buildings.
    If there are a lot of fraudulent handicap parking permits being issued, it needs to be stopped for sure. If you think someone is using a hpp illegally, call the police and turn them in.
    Take care.

  • Heather

    If they are fraudulently using disabled parking than it is our business.

    Yes, someone could be wearing a hidden prosthetic or brace. Are you claiming everyone you see walking farther than 200 feet has a prosthetic? Also, keep in mind that some states, like Florida, don’t allow people with prosthesis to qualify for handicap parking if the prosthesis significantly restores their ability to walk i.e. (there no longer severely limited – they can easily walk more than 200 feet with a prosthesis).

    Lastly, It’s not obvious at all that their doctor signed the form. It’s not even obvious if the placard is theirs or someone else’s. Not to mention, just like prescription drugs, even if a doctor has signed the form, that doesn’t necessarily mean they actually need or qualify for a handicap parking permit.

  • Michelle

    I don’t actually watch everyone who parks in a handicapped parking spot and I imagine some people wear braces under their pants, so it’s not plain to see they aren’t walking on their OWN – UNASSISTED. If someone has a handicap parking permit, it’s not my business to ask why they got it. Obviously, their doctor signed the form. It’s not my business & not yours, either.

  • Heather

    Correct, which means they on their own power without aid cannot walk 200 feet. So I’ll ask you the same question Ben asked you in an above post. What percent of people do you see parking in handicap parking that get out of their car and walk UNASSISTED over 200 feet?

  • Michelle

    “Cannot walk 200 feet UNASSISTED”. That’s what it says here in Oregon, anyway.

  • Heather

    In almost all states there are two main ways of getting a permit: Severely limited walking or blindness. Sure there are many various conditions that can cause severely limited walking, but all states define severely limited walking in the same way, “cannot walk 200 feet”.

    I’m curious, how do you define severely limited walking?

  • Michelle

    That’s not the only way to get a permit. Maybe you should do some research before calling people ignorant and showing YOUR ignorance.

  • Heather

    Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to determine if someone can walk 200 feet without rest. I’m astonished at how ignorant some people are.

  • Heather

    Are you seriously claiming that someone who cannot walk 10 feet would have no visual indication that their walking ability is severely limited?

  • Anna Christine Strait

    What you don’t seem to be getting is that pain does severely limit mobility. A person with RA or fibromyalgia may not always have the same level of stiffness, or pain. But on days when they are hurting, the ability to walk 10 feet (not even mentioning 100) may no longer be within their capabilities. And no it isn’t visible. I don’t always carry my cane into the store, especially if I can get a parking space close to the door, because It is a hassle to hold while driving a mobility cart. I don’t have a handicapped placard because I am stubborn. I am only 30 and refuse, mainly because of the societal stigma you are spouting. I can walk…. the pain may be atrocious on any given day, but I can walk, therefore I will. No matter that by the time I get home the only thing I will be capable of doing is going to bed. That because I chose to be stubborn sometimes the groceries don’t get brought in the house… which really sucks if I miss bringing in something that has to be refrigerated. That I don’t get to have dinner, because I stopped by the store on my way home from work, then passed out as soon as I got home. So thank you, for continuing spewing unintelligent, uninformed propaganda. It really helps.

  • Heather

    Then your doing the right thing. But keep in mind, when you can’t walk 200 feet it will be very visible you are struggling. This is the entire point of the people you are claiming are negative. When in fact, they/we are crusaders fighting to ensure disabled parking is available for those who truly cannot walk 200 feet. People claiming they have no visible limitation and can walk 200 feet but still need disabled parking are the ones we are being negative towards. Because they are the ones taking disabled spaces from people who truly NEED them.

    Hopefully you are on board with this crusade.

  • KatyMarie

    In which case I qualify. I don’t have to justify my conditions to you or anyone else. When my mobility is fine I don’t use my handicapped parking, nor do I use the van accessible. I wish you all a good day. This thread is extremely negative and I wish to no longer engage. Again to everyone out there suffering from any disability ((gentle hugs)) . Goodnight

  • Heather

    If anyone is being ignorant here it is you KatyMarie. No where have I said invisible disabilities aren’t real or that people with invisible disabilities should not seek proper treatment. My cause and education of you evolves around the true legal qualifications for disabled parking. Which only includes people with SEVERELY limited mobility. People who CANNOT walk even 200 feet.

    It really is that simple, only time it isn’t, is when someone is trying to justify their disabled parking use when they don’t meet that simple criteria. They for whatever reason think that criteria doesn’t apply to them.

  • KatyMarie

    First please don’t speak to me as if I am an idiot. Second. What YOU SEEMLY DON’T UNDERSTAND IS THE IGNORANCE of what YOU are saying. My mobility is limited, not always, in which case I don’t always use my handicapped parking. But when I am having mobility issues, YES I DO USE IT AS IS MY RIGHT. I am done having pointless conversation with people who know nothing about my day to day life and have no idea what it is like to live a life I would never wish on anyone. I have been evaluated by MANY Dr’s ALL of whom are MORE QUALIFIED THAN YOU to make decisions about MY health and MY care. Please continue you’re campaign of ignorance and uneducated assumptions and judgements so that the stigmas of invisible disabilities continue. It’s people such as yourself that hurt people in need in the long run. It’s people like you who prevent people from seeking proper treatment.
    I will continue to advocate and speak for those who suffer from invisible disabilities, to drown out the hatred, judgemental voices from those such as yourself. Good day.

  • Heather

    What you seemingly don’t understand is what pain level or illness someone has doesn’t matter at all. The only thing that matters is that their mobility is severely impaired. If you have a pain level of 10 but still have no limitation why would you need disabled parking? Conversely, if you only had a pain level of 1 but your mobility is severely limited you would need disabled parking.

    I guess I would as you what is your definition of “severely limited mobility”?

  • KatyMarie

    Actually it is.. Yesterday I was at the store. I did not bring in my cane, An elderly woman dropped something and as a natural reaction I bent to pick it up for her, BAM there goes my back and it spasmed out of control to the point I was on the floor and could not get up. That’s the thing with an invisible illness, one minute you are fine, the next on the floor not able to get up and an ambulance on the way The woman I helped also used a cane and did not bring it into the store… We both laughed about it later, as she was kind enough to accompany me out to the ambulance. (I did not got to the hospital), but we both agreed leaving our canes in the car probably wasn’t the best idea. When I walked into that store I was walking fine, yet my pain level was still 7/8. How do I function with that level of pain?? I have NO OTHER CHOICE. So I am astonished that you are qualified to make that decision based on your ignorant comments.

  • Heather

    And I’m astonished that you cannot tell the difference between someone walking with an impairment and someone walking without an impairment. It’s really not that hard.

  • Sophie

    How would any of you know whether someone was “eligible” or “borderline eligible?” You are not doctors, and even if you were, you have not performed the medical examinations of these patients that enabled the physician to make that determination. I am astonished at the gall of you people.

  • George

    Here’s another – http://wn.ktvu.com/story/29010441/2-investigates-arrest-highlights-unusual-case-of-disabled-parking-abuse

    Abuse is rampant. I would think people with legitimate severe limitations would be all for cracking down on abusers. My guess, those holler to mind your own business know full well they are border line eligible at best.

  • Heather
  • Bastion

    Clearly you did not because your very first comment was not nice. Perhaps you need to take your own advice?

  • Julie T

    Cause that is clearly what I asked for.

  • Bastion

    Imagine a world where everyone only says something nice. Would that be good? Hmmmmmmm.

  • Julie T

    I can’t believe some of these comments below. If you can’t say something nice, stfu.

  • Heather

    The ADA doesn’t have anything to do with who qualifies for disabled parking. The ADA regulations address the physical attributes of disabled parking. Things like how many their need to be, the signage, the width of the spaces and access aisles, the slop/grade of the spaces, the surface material, etc.

    The federal government only has recommendations of who should qualify for disabled parking spaces. It’s the states that actually define the qualifications.

    I’m not attacking anyone, I’m simply pointing out what the rules and qualifications are. The only people that should feel attacked or bullied by that are ones that don’t meet the criteria.

  • tamsets

    If you have such an issue with those using handicapped parking who don’t appear disabled, then perhaps you should consider addressing those concerns to the federal government and the American’s With Disabilities Act. Attacking or bullying those that YOU feel don’t qualify is wrong.

  • Heather

    I agree you cannot see those conditions. However, if those conditions are severely limiting ones mobility, so much so that they cannot walk 200 feet without rest, there impaired mobility would be visible. Or are you saying if they can walk normally for 200 feet they should still qualify? If so, what should their limitation be, 1000 feet, 1 mile, 5 miles, 10 miles? Or do they not need to be limited in anyway?

  • Rhonda Worley-parsley

    People are issued permits for other reasons such as heart conditions or severe lung conditions…You cannot see those conditions.

  • Heather

    Some people do have a high pain tolerance, perhaps you are one. If the pain does not limit you, why would you need to park closer? If it does limit you, in what way does it?

  • paperdragon

    Well, I sprained my ankle last month, and only went to the doctor’s after my physiotherapist sent me to ER after seeing my foot four days later. It turned out my ligaments were torn. I hadn’t gone to the doctor because, as a person with FM, I live with pain every minute. There wasn’t much of a difference for me in pain scale when I ‘killed’ my foot so you even couldn’t see that in my face let alone my normal pain…

  • Rhonda Worley-parsley

    If a pain level is so obvious, then, pray tell, why does the pain specialist I see always, always, always ASK the patients their pain level?

  • Heather

    Where did you obtain your medical degree Sophie? And in what country/state/province are you currently licensed to practice medicine? How else would you know how to determine from looking at a stranger whether or not they have any sort of impairment or not? Brilliance works both ways!

  • Sophie

    Where did you obtain your medical degree Heather? And in what country/state/province are you currently licensed to practice medicine? How else would you know how to determine from looking at a stranger whether or not they have any sort of impairment or not? Brilliant.

  • Rhonda Worley-parsley

    There was a time when I could walk without a visible limitation, but needed mobility devices due to a spine condition and the fact that without warning, my legs would go numb. I could be walking just fine and then fall–as in the fall down a flight of stairs, the fall in the back yard, the fall while washing dishes, etc. All which resulted in broken bones.

  • Rhonda Worley-parsley

    For one, before my arthritis resulted in “bone on bone” kness with a torn ACl, meniscus, and every other structure torn, I could walk once I “warmed up” the various joints. I could follow the high school band as a parent chaperone. I could walk around the football field…but, if I sat down for 30 minutes, I had to go through the warming up period which was a bitch–but few people saw me walk until I was “warmed up.”

  • Amy C

    I can understand that. I do try to give people the benefit of the doubt when they do look sick. I use my placard only on days I feel like screaming just to walk (I havery a list of nerve, muscle and joint issues caused by an injury and surgery). I always hav a slight limp (even on “good” days), but people still make remarks or give dirty looks. It is hard when there are so many issues people deal with. I wish we could all have a magic wand and be free of our restrictions all together!

  • Heather

    Hi Amy C, yes it is very difficult and frustrating when I can’t find a parking spot to unload my power chair. Knowing full well many of the people who took a space I need walk with no apparent difficulty.

  • Amy C

    Im sorry to hear that. It must be very difficult and frustrating for you.

  • Heather

    I don’t have an illness, I have a genetic neuromuscular disease.

  • Amy C

    do you have an illness Heather?

  • Heather

    Ok, I’ll ask you the same question. Describe to me how it feels to have severely limited mobility while having a normal gait (no visible sign of limitation). Seems all you folks can do is list illnesses and then cry. If you want to change opinions about people using disabled parking while having no visual impairment you’ll have to do more. Until then I and others will continue to assume your supporting fraudsters.

  • Becca

    You obviously know nothing about lupus, fibromyalgia, arthritis, AS or any other invisible illness! I would not wish it on my worst enemy, I pray that you never know firsthand. Since you don’t know what it feels like, stfu!!!

  • Heather

    Then why did you even bother to reply to my original post? If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen!

  • Julie T

    Who do you think you are? I don’t have to tell you anything you sarcastic and rude twat. Jesus.

  • Heather

    Oh please do tell me how it personally feels to walk with no limitation and still have a mobility disability? I really would like to know. Or if you are in someway limited, please describe the limitation. And don’t give me some vague reason like you can’t walk far. Be specific in describing your limitation and how it remains “invisible”. If you can do that, perhaps maybe you will influence my opinion.

    Try again.

  • Julie T

    Emotional reasoning? No, it is based on personal experience, which you clearly do not share.

  • Heather

    You clearly have no facts or logic to back up your misinformed claims. Do you really think your emotional reasoning in anyway makes your opinion true? I have no problem with you judging my opinion but if you want to influence it you’ll have to give me a sounder reason.

  • Julie T

    You are clearly not a chronic pain patient, therefore stfu.

  • Heather

    Pain itself is invisible. However, I one’s pain level is so acute that it severely limits their ability to walk, the function of walking would be visibly impaired. If this were not true one could still walk around with a sprained ankle or broken leg and visually walk normally. But as you and everyone else knows, the invisible pain they feel dramatically impacts how they visual walk.

    The only time pain would not visual impact your ability to walk is when the pain is not acute enough to impair you walking. Clearly, if your walking normally your walking is not impaired.

    Everyone gets judged and everyone judges. Even you judge people. The only difference is your judgment says it’s ok to use handicap parking with no visual walking impairment. If you don’t call that a judgement, what is it?

  • Julie T

    Pain is invisible. Just because someone isn’t using a cane, doesn’t mean that if they parked way back they would be ok. It could be just the opposite. It is best not to judge others.

  • Heather

    If a placard user has no apparent walking limitation there’s a strong likely hood they are fraudulently using the placard.

    Fraud is everywhere, here’s just one example:
    http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2015/04/23/scammers-earn-big-bucks-by-selling-disabled-parking-placards/

    There are many other ways to fraudulently obtain or use a placard. About the only way you can be pretty sure the placard is valid is if the user is using a mobility aid like a wheelchair, scooter or walker. Because no one fraudulently using a placard wants to go through the hassle of dragging around and using a mobility aid.

  • Terri

    At 38, I’ve been living with AS (and related symptoms) for 15 years. I’m tall, slim, and look like an athlete…..but I’ve gotten really good at “faking it”. I park in the handicapped parking and get the dirty looks but nobody knows that every step feels like I’m walking on shards of glass and my spine feels like it will explode from the impact.

  • eyesonprize

    Wow, I just read down through some of the comments, and the spectrum of opinion on this is amazing! There is clearly a big difference amongst us here, all of whom seem to have some amount of illness, so it’s no wonder there is confusion, assumption, judging, etc, between those who are in good health and those of us who are not! I have the perspective of someone who graduated college before the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, apparently– don’t quote me on that, all I know is, for most of my life, as someone born with spina bifida, there was no such thing as ‘handicapped parking’, automatic doors, modified bathrooms, and the like– which, turns out, has not been entirely bad, because I learned a lot through that experience and, actually, am just thrilled to have handicapped parking available! This may seem rather pathetic, in a way, but it is nonetheless how I feel, and although I would not wish that experience on someone else, I now find myself feeling pretty blessed. One thing I do know is, when someone has health problems, one of the worst things they can do, to their own detriment, is to live in a mode of comparing how their own health stacks up against other people’s and then, based on their own analysis (i.e., assumptions), make all kinds of conclusions about how *someone else* *should* feel and whether or not the other person has a *right* to complain, are as bad off as they are, etc. No two people on this planet are exactly the same. Since the end of the post has in bold type “Now, if I could just get people in parking lots to quit giving me dirty looks…”, I would like to say that part of the problem, no offense, starts right there; it is to one’s own benefit to not assume what someone else is thinking, based solely on a ‘look’. While, yes, someone may be giving you ‘the evil eye’, they could also have any number of other things on their mind besides whether or not you deserve to be parking where you are. They could be feeling ill themselves! In my own opinion (emphasis on “my own”), it keeps one’s own mind in a more consistent state of peace to wait until one actually hears a negative comment, something that shows clearly what the other person is thinking, versus making a painful assumption about it. And, actually, a pleasant surprise is finding out that someone who is scowling is actually doing so because they have a heart for people who are disabled, and in one sense, may actually be a more caring person than the person that appears utterly clueless or doesn’t *look* like they’re being judgmental. For example, say someone is scowling because they have a sister who is disabled, and then they see someone pull into a parking space who, in their own mind, doesn’t appear to deserve to park there– not in comparison to someone like their sister anyway, not to them. So then they give the person parking a frown. In actuality, they aren’t such a bad person, because in their own way their heart is taking up for people like their sister. Are they ignorant to the plight of others who are *not* like their sister? Yes. But are they necessarily jerks. No. Just ignorant. And yet, yes, they may never learn. In their own minds, it was so painful to watch the suffering of their sister that no one else could possibly ever suffer as much as their sister. See what I mean? Unless someone actually *says* something, it is better, for one’s own well-being, in my opinion, not to assume the worst…Now, if someone does says something presumptuous, that is entirely different. On the other hand, here again, this is an opportunity– if (*if*) you feel up to it at the moment–, to educate the other person. Do they deserve that? Do you owe them that? No. Is there a guarantee they will become enlightened at that moment. Possibly not. Nonetheless, it is an opportunity that may plant a little thought that will help them learn, in time. If there is anything I have learned that has been, ironically, both disappointing and liberating, it is that the world does not revolve around me. It can be tempting to assume that someone is being judgmental based on the look on their face, but it only ends up being unhealthy for oneself, in the end. Having a disability, if you live long enough, is a marathon, so to speak, not a sprint. At the risk of sounding pompous, try to just take a breath. There is no one on this earth, no One, no human being, who will ever truly understand your internal struggle. We’re not designed that way. If all of the intricacies of the rules about handicap tags are settled, that will still be the case, which to me, is the bigger challenge– and it takes energy, precious energy, just to deal with that. Try to take things one day at a time. For myself, I don’t know where I would be without my faith. But try not to let other people’s facial expressions dictate your level of frustration. This is a marathon…– Blessings…:-)

  • Sophie

    Interesting how these cretins grab onto one small piece of a comment to attack and focus on that, thusly diverting your attention to defending/explaining that, which is a typical tactic of the sociopath when they know they are wrong. These miscreants are no more than trolls; they deliberately haunt sites such and make their negative comments in order to feed off peoples’ distress. It’s their lifeblood, like psychic vampires. Their lives are small and miserable, so they must constantly strive to make others feel bad so that they can feel better about themselves. Dont bother with explanations or even further responses, Nonny. You cannot reason with the irrational.

  • Jasmin

    Sorry, didn’t mean to offend. Just assumed we had something in common we could discuss. But I see your defenses are high so I’ll just drop it.

  • Nonny

    This isn’t a pissing contest, Jasmin. Why on earth does it matter to you what meds I take?

  • Jasmin

    Ok, now you have peaked my interest. What type of pain medication do you take? What dosage and how often?

    Myself, I take a 20mg controlled release tablet of oxycodone twice daily. Once in the morning and once in the evening.

  • Nonny

    Jasmin, of course the number of pills a person takes each day has little relation to their ability to walk. What a ludicrous inference that was. It should have been perfectly obvious that I mentioned my medication as a means to illustrate my daily pain level. Which does have a direct relation on my ability to walk.

  • Jasmin

    The number of pills a person takes each day has little relation to their ability to walk. If it did, most supplement pill takers would hardly be able to walk. Also, in my experience the age or how good a person looks is not the reason they get confronted. Most times it’s simply because they are walking really well, not because they look like models or athletes.

  • Heather

    Sophie must be a medical doctor. Seems she knows everything about disabilities and who qualifies for disabled parking. NOT.

  • Sophie

    Brandy must also be a medical doctor. Seems we have a plethora of them here. NOT.

  • Nonny

    Brandy, you would think that…based on what, exactly? Do you know anyone who deals with chronic pain? It sounds like you are just wildly speculating here. But if it was a sincere question, I will answer:
    For me personally, my pain gets a lot worse the longer I am standing and/or walking. Since I am sitting down when I drive my car, my pain level is not usually at its worst when I first get out of the car. You might not see as big a struggle as you seem to be expecting right then. But if you waited until I finished my errand and came back out to my car, you’d see it then.

  • Brandy

    This just may be me, but I don’t understand how someone that can never walk 200 feet without stopping to rest would appear to be walking normally. I would think they would be struggling mightily just to get up out of their car.

  • Nonny

    Thank you for your kind words of encouragement, Rita. ♥

  • Rita Girard

    Wow Nonny…my heart goes out to you. I struggle with Type 2 Diabetes, Severe Anemia, and a Vitamin-D Deficiency that, combined together, wreck havoc with my body. I just turned 55 and probably LOOK better than I did 20 years ago. Yet, most days, I takes all I have in me to function and APPEAR normal.
    Unfortunately we can’t escape another persons ignorance, but you can continue to share your story in hopes that someone will be enlightened.
    Peace and blessing to you! May your test become a testimony!

  • Crystal Story

    I agree with you.

  • Nonny

    At the time I didn’t realize it could or would be taken that way, or I would have been more specific. I sincerely apologize if that’s how you took it.

  • Tory

    You say you never did, but here is what you said: “I don’t give a rat’s bottom how anyone looks at me or what they think”. You used anyone, not ignorant able-bodied people. If your original post hadn’t used anyone, then I would not have lashed out. I can not read your mind, only your text. So in the future, be sure to write what you truly mean.

  • Nonny

    Tory, I don’t have any cronies. I don’t know anyone else on this site, so if you’ve been downvoted, it’s because of your words.
    I never once said that I didn’t care about others who need handicapped parking. So don’t pull this crap that I don’t care about your brother or others like him. I never said that. I was only speaking about the ignorant able-bodied people who see someone who looks young, and does not use a chair or a cane, and mistakenly judges that I am faking it (you know, the subject of the article that I commented on.)
    I am sorry about your brother. But you are wrong about me, about my disability, and my needs. Just because I am not in a chair does not mean I have unlimited mobility. If I could go shopping all day at the mall, I would certainly be able to use any parking spot. I can’t. But you don’t want to learn or understand. You just want to be angry and lash out. So you can carry on now being a closed-minded, vicious jerk.

  • Tory

    I’m here because my brother actually NEEDs handicap parking. He uses a power wheelchair and REQUIRES the use of an access aisle. He doesn’t have a CHOICE not to use it. 9 times out of ten it will be someone like YOU, who with a little extra effort CAN park ANYWHERE that parks in a van-accesible spot just to save yourself a few extra steps back to your car after shopping all day at the mall. Your greedy need for a convenient parking spot BLOCKS someone like my brother from being able to live his life. All so you can make your life a little easier. You don’t have a clue what NEED truly means. And as you said, you don’t give a rats bottom about my brother! Piss on him and all like him, your convenience is more important.

    Oh, and get your cronies to downvote this so you can continue to ignore those you don’t give a rats bottom about.

  • Tory

    If your not lying, then why haven’t you gotten a mobility device? And why hasn’t your doctor, physical therapist, occupational therapist, …, prescribed one for you? If anyone is trolling it is you.

  • Nonny

    Are you just a troll, or are you really that ridiculously stupid? You accuse me of not being sick enough, so I try to explain to you what it’s like for me. Then, instead of realizing you might be wrong, and trying to learn something, you accuse me of
    lying! You are very wrong, you are very rude and you are very ignorant. You have no clue what you are talking about.
    The entire reason this site even exists is to give support to people like me with invisible illnesses, who may feel that others do not believe or understand how sick they are. Yes, we ARE this sick, and no you never realized it. Because we don’t look it. You are clearly not one of us, so why are you even here? To just troll around and upset sick people? Shame on you.

  • Tory

    Well, now I know your are lying and faking. Anyone in the situation you described would get a mobility device, like a powered scooter, so they could continue to enjoy all the things you say you can’t do. Sorry, but if your walking is truly that limited you would have already sought out devices to aid you. I’ll chalk this up as yet another “invisible” faker who uses handicap parking merely as a convenience. Then lies to justify their usage. I’m actually quite tired of these lame excuses.

  • Nonny

    And you sound like an ignorant, judgmental prick.
    I have a chronic condition which causes widespread pain and fatigue all day, every day. I DO NOT have any magic “good days” where I can walk more than 200 feet without rest. My condition is permanent, every day, every hour, not “sometimes”.
    I read this article and decided to add to the discussion, because I look young and and some others have expressed their concern that people might think they don’t really need it, based on their appearance. You don’t know me, you don’t know how much pain I am in, how exhausted I am, or how many
    pills I take every day, just so I can get out of bed and go to work every
    day. But you decide to accuse me of faking it, of not really needing it.
    I don’t even use handicapped spaces often. Not because I don’t need it, but because I don’t GO anywhere besides to and from work. I have my groceries delivered because I can’t walk long enough to get through the whole grocery store. I don’t go to the mall or department stores anymore. I do everything I can online. So who are you to read two sentences that I’ve written and decide that I don’t really need it, and that I don’t care about anyone but myself?

  • Tory

    Sounds like you don’t give a rats ass about anyone but yourself.

  • Nonny

    I rarely would be able to walk 200 feet without rest. Did you miss the part where I said that I NEED IT? If I do not NEED it, I will not USE it.

  • Tory

    If you can’t walk 200 feet without rest at the time of parking then yes you should use your permit. If however, you can walk 200 feet at the time of parking than you should give a rat’s bottom about those who cannot and not use your permit.

  • Nonny

    I have fibromyalgia. I am 46 years old and look even younger, and I have a handicapped parking permit. I know that I need it and I don’t give a rat’s bottom how anyone looks at me or what they think.

  • Franklin

    Actually, they are very easy to acquire. Take a qualification like “cannot walk 200 feet without rest”, which is a very subjective qualification. This qualification isn’t tied to any specific illness nor requires the use of any mobility device. A person can easily exaggerate their symptoms and qualify using this qualification.

    It’s not like the doctor is going to take out a long measuring tape and test you. The doctor is basically going to trust what you tell them. And even if they did test you, it’s easy to pretend your tired and stop walking after a few dozen steps.

    Having disabled parking placards and/or plates is not a guarantee the user qualifies. If you think it always does, your living in a dream world.

  • mtd1962

    I have lupus (SLE) I have been hospitalized 20 times and have had two neurological episodes that left me learning how to walk and use my right arm all over again during both of those horrible episodes I was in the hospital and in rehab for months. I never applied for disability because I feel when I am in remission I can work and be productive. Currently I am on 5 medications that give me mobility. I work full time but my doctor approved me to receive a handicap license plate and/or plaque card because though some days I am fine other days are a struggle. Because I am thin and appear fit I have been yelled at and cursed when I leave my car. It is really disgusting how ignorant people can be. I actually told someone I had a serious medical condition and was called a liar. People need to mind their own business and realize if someone has a handicap license plate or plaque card they qualified for it these are not easy things to acquire.

  • DavidRockies

    I’m hoping that others will take the time to read and share my story.

    Because of my ‘invisible disability,’ and a group of people who convinced the Fort Collins authorities that there was nothing medically wrong with me, I have lost absolutely everything.

    http://nbeener.blogspot.com/2014/11/the-destruction-of-medically-disabled.html

    THIS … is what can happen when people don’t believe you’re medically disabled.

  • KittyKat

    It never ceases to disappoint me of the judgements healthy people put upon people with disabilities, especially invisible ones. I know it comes from a place of ignorance or more sadly a lack of compassion and empathy. I feel sorry for them. I am a kind, loving, compassionate and warm-hearted person. I know in my heart I dont judge them for being able to walk or not be disabled!!

    To all my compradres out there, the next time someone gives you a dirty look for parking in the handicap spot, just do what I do give them the biggest smile! It will drive them crazy. If they have a nasty comment, I calmly and nice as I can invite them to call the police, as my placard belongs to me, is legitimate and needed. Also I have the paperwork in my vehicle to prove it. I do my best to laugh it off and move on with my day. I know, the reason I am out running my errands is because it’s the first day in a long time that I’ve been able to do so. I won’t let their ignorance or lack of symathy ruin my day.

  • k7dfa

    I’m in the “invisible illness”, (Crohn’s), category AND the “visible disability” category, with no need for a wheelchair, (YET). But when I need the restroom, I NEED IT NOW, WITH NO TIME FOR F~@KING AROUND WITH WHICH SPACE I CAN/SHOULD PARK IN, and in a lot of cases with barely the time to make it to the, (restroom), facility when parked in the closest space I can find!

  • John

    Severely limited walking is just that, severely limited. It’s virtually impossible to hide a severely limited visible function like walking? Those that claim they have no visible limitation in their ability to walk have no understanding of what severely limited means. They very well may be limited, but that’s a far cry from being severely limited. One is a handicap the other is a disability. And the legal name is disabled parking, not handicap parking. There is a significant difference between the two.

  • Queenotfu

    I can assure you – I am aways inconvenienced by someone who thinks that the fact that the spot is there and is open means that anyone who is handicapped should just wait the extra 5 minutes until they are finished their business is just fine. And last night? Rick Scott’s security detail took two handicapped spots at my club because of security reasons.

  • tamsets

    Those spots are strictly for the handicapped and no one should be using them as convenient drop off spots or because they have political status; that’s a clear violation of the law. If you’re qualified and have a placard don’t feel guilty.

  • Queenotfu

    I feel badly fighting to use a handicapped spot. …People who need to use it temporarily to exchange thier child of divorce and the car seat. …People who are just dropping someone off. …The security detail for a prominent politician who needs it for security reasons; because I don’t…
    And then all the parking people stare and point because I get up to dance. Six dances and not all night long; because the pain starts. I’ll be suffering for days because I did this…
    FML. I’m so sick of this shit and really depressed. It’s not bad enough that I’m in constant pain? I need to ask people to vacate the spots and prove that I’m handicapped too?

  • Beth

    Nonny, I have been doing my part in tackling the problem. Working with my local Senators & Representatives, advocacy groups, and disability council. And part of that tackling is educating people like yourself on what the true issues are. And yes, one of the many issues is people obtaining permits when they don’t meet the qualifications. That is factual and I agree unfair.

  • Nonny

    Beth, if you have so much research and data and proof, then how about you go tackle the problem of actual fraud, instead of harassing and accusing people who actually need their permit?
    Because so far all you’re saying is that anyone who is simply less handicapped than you, MUST be committing fraud. That’s not correct and it’s not fair.

  • Beth

    Of course of have done research. Obviously you have not. I’d also suggest you look up the definitions of “some” and “few” and then consider that half a million or more people have handicap permits in each state. Even if only 1% of 500,000 exaggerated their symptoms or doctor shopped that would be 5,000 people. I’d call 5,000 of anything many, wouldn’t you?

    And here’s another little tip/clue for you. 1% is way lower than the actual amount of fraud. Do your research!

  • Nonny

    Really, Beth? You’ve done research? You know as fact that “many” permits are given out that are not needed? Not just “some” or “a few”? “Many”?

  • Michelle

    There are people who would LOVE to ‘walk’ in your shoes. People who have been tortured, had body parts hacked off, raped, shot, stabbed…there’s ALWAYS someone who has it worse than you or I. Does that mean my pain or yours is any less real or any less horrible because others have it worse? Really? Do you have that little compassion for your fellow human beings that you can so callously dismiss their disabilities because they don’t sound as bad as yours? It sounds as though your disability has turned you into an angry and bitter person and I’m very sorry for that. It does happen – I’ve seen it often. Those who are happiest focus on the positive and try to lift others up. It’s not easy to do when you’re suffering, but it’s better than wallowing in ones own misery.

  • Beth

    Hate makes it worse. But fighting to ensure needed resources, like disabled parking, are available for those that truly need them makes it better.

  • Her Holiness

    Congrats, Beth, you win the disability contest!!!

    For the record, I’m sure there are people whose medical issues trump yours, and who have somehow managed to retain a little more humanity than you. I’ve known a few people who have lost their health struggles and displayed leagues more empathy, compassion, and forgiveness throughout their illnesses.

    I’m sorry your life sucks. But hate doesn’t make it better, does it? Blessings.

  • Beth

    There is different disability parking for wheelchair use in the US. Unfortunately most people ignore the “van accessible” notice on the signs and park there anyway. Even when another non van accessible disability spot is one or two stalls away.

  • Melana Nighthawk

    I didn’t ask you to walk in my shoes – I just explained the sorts of situations that cause someone who HAS experienced disability issues to wish it on someone else. Something you said flat-out meant that they’d never experienced “real” disability.

    I explained how someone could be genuinely unable to do something one day, but ok the next – something you said flat-out meant that they’d never experienced “real” disability.

    I also said that I do not and would not use disability parking, as I acknowledge that while limited I’m not limited enough to need it. I’m grateful that this is currently still the case. So your reiteration of your frustration about parking being used by other people was ill-targetted – I’m not someone who is (in your opinion) “stealing” your parking.

    So here’s the rub. I understand your frustration that as someone in a wheelchair, you genuinely need the extra space for maneuvering that disability parking provides. At no time would I even consider disputing that – I agree wholeheartedly that you should be able to use it, and can understand the frustration when there is none available because it’s already in use leaving you with no options at all. But unless there is different disability parking for wheelchair use verses other mobility use in the US (I live in Australia, and parking places for those are the same thing here), your genuine need does NOT invalidate someone else’s genuine need – even if you PERSONALLY do not immediately see why they needed it. If they have been medically assessed as genuinely needing disability parking, they have just as much right as you do to use it.
    Telling people that unless they’re as bad as you they have no idea what disability is, is simply another way of saying “walk in my shoes”.

  • Beth

    And after all that I can still confidently say your blight pales in comparison to those who deal with ADL dependency issues every waking day, hour, minute, second of their entire life.

    Then on top of that they have to deal with people who have invisible disabilities that take the last van accessible spot while having no apparent walking limitation, i.e. they walk normally.

    Yes, I would love to walk in your shoes.

  • Melana Nighthawk

    The people I know who have broken out the statement “walk in my shoes” have usually used it in regards to other people who continually and repeatedly dismiss and deny any and all of what they have been going through, and leave them to live in hellish pain, fatigue and misery while telling them that “they’re just not trying hard enough” and “they’re just making it up” or that they’re doing it to themselves “it’s just posture/fitness/stress”.

    There are some doctors I know that I *would* wish it on – so they could bloody well experience for themselves what they callously ignored, dismissed and left untreated in others because they were *so* *sure* that someone was just a hypochondriac/neurotic, that there was not anything actually “real” and so had never even *bothered* to test anything.

    I’m pissed off at the GP who told my husband that his breathlessness on lying down, continually waking up suffocating, and extreme exhaustion was because “he thought about his body too much”, that he should learn meditation to control his heartrate, and that he should just ignore the symptoms he was getting. He had severe atrial fibrillation – and that GP’s “advice” almost killed him. Yes, I would like to see that GP experience what he dismissed so blithely.

    The GP that told me the pain I experienced daily was “just posture/fitness/stress”, the fatigue was “just sitting down too much”, the sleeplessness was “just not trying hard enough”, the gut trouble “no idea”, the nerve pain “just body being tired from not sleeping enough” or a “consequence of not enough exercise”, etc – leaving it all UNTREATED, and spent 22 YEARS dismissing everything out of hand, before bothering to test for anything…and then LIED about the test results (hiding the positive result for an autoimmune condition) – yes, there are times that I bloody well would wish on them that they personally experienced what their callous disregard and dismissal has done. Including the scarring of nerves in legs/feet that mean that the skin feels permanently scalded/burned…scarring that could have been prevented/reduced had treatment started 15 years ago when those symptoms had first started.

    I’m pissed off at the nurse who left my husband’s mother who was in hospital in the last stages of cardiomyopathy to suffocate for 15 minutes, because the nurse didn’t understand that the problem wasn’t the blood oxygen level itself but the fact that her heart wasn’t capable of pushing the blood around the body, so the body wasn’t *getting* the oxygen it needed. The nurse wouldn’t believe her about what medication she had previously been being given (“oh no, you must be mistaken dear”), and COULDN’T BE BOTHERED to read the patient chart at the end of the bed that would have confirmed it, so the nurse left her to suffer from the body’s panic caused by lack of oxygen.

    And no – I don’t have a parking permit, nor would I apply for one at this stage. On a good day, I can walk several kms (with a lot of pain, but it’s still possible). On a bad day I can barely walk to the toilet and back, and cannot lie down or stand up without excruciating pain. Fortunately, my good days still outnumber the bad ones – I can still work part time and can put off the shopping to a day when I can walk, so I don’t need to consider disability parking at this stage. There are days where I get to work, and then find I cannot get home – I need to organise someone to collect me because I cannot walk the 2 blocks to the station to catch a train because pain has flared severely during the day.

    Autoimmune stuff is a *bitch* – it varies randomly, and people can be genuinely “ok” one day, then fighting for their life in hospital the next, and back to “ok” a month later (where “ok” for them would normally have someone thinking they had the flu)…and unlike being in a wheelchair it is usually NOT immediately visible. That then causes a lot of them to experience a lot of dismissal and denial from other people that they “couldn’t possibly” be experiencing what they actually do experience – and the “walk a mile in my shoes” is usually born out of the frustration felt when their experiences are constantly dismissed and invalidated. People (including you based on your comments) find it difficult to understand that just because something is possible one day doesn’t mean that it’s possible the next – and also doesn’t mean after a time of it not being possible that won’t become possible again some time in the future.

  • Beth

    Rupert, I wish I could still walk a few extra spaces in the parking lot. I am currently confined to a wheelchair and require assistance with simple daily activities like toileting, bathing, and getting in/out of bed. It always amuses me when people break out the “walk in my shoes” statement. The only people I know that use that are ones that don’t really understand what a true disability is. For if they did, they would never wish their blight onto another. I truly hope you never have to experience that level of disability.

  • Rupert

    May you NEVER get sick or become disabled Beth. If you do, you’ll probably eat crow and choke half to death on your own words. I , like most others was once healthy too ( as in also). That means I didn’t need a handicap spot either. BUT, WITHOUT NOTICE OR WARNING, BAM!!! A STROKE!. Followed 3 months later by another one, then a bout of bladder cancer, and NOW, Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Cancer ( like Steve Jobs had, Google him if you don’t know who he was). To this day, by the grace of God, I LOOK PERFECTLY FINE !!. There are good days, and not so good days, trust me. So, rather than waste precious time prejudging others and their journey through life, perhaps you could go and walk the few extra spaces in the parking lot, while you still can. Thank the good Lord above that you don’t need a placard, YET. Have yourself a great day. I just wasted these couple minutes on your ignorance, when I could have been enjoying what’s left of my life, or helping someone in worse shape than me.

  • Beth

    The reason for bringing it up is because it happens often. You yourself readily admit you don’t need yours. Even going so far as saying when you think you need it you will still give it up for someone that needs it more. Which basically means you never truly need it.

  • Parker Foster

    Okkkay? Are you just being hateful? Yes, that happens, but why on earth would you respond to this person with this comment? It just sounds mean. Just because some people get them who may not really need them does not mean anyone has the right to assume someone may not really need it, and therefore should not be using the spot. I think it is better to be respectful to anyone who has one rather than chance making someone who is truly within their rights to park there feel bad about it because their disability isn’t obvious to onlookers. It’s nobody’s business. I have an “invisible” disability, an I am 36 so I have had my fair share of nasty looks and snide remarks from people who are just plain asses. I have a permanent “placard” in the form of a license plate, but I only use it when I have to, and even when I need it, I will always give it up to the elderly or someone I think may need it more than I do at that time. I, however, never pass judgment on those who don’t have neon signs hanging over their heads who may not “look” obviously disabled bc there are many reasons one might need it even if they walk normally. There are people whose symptoms only reveal themselves if they over exert themselves, etc. So, better not to judge anyone. Plus, it takes more energy to harbor useless negative feelings all the time especially for perfect strangers. Don’t worry, be happy! Peace!

  • Beth

    Just because a physician signed the disability application form does not absolutely indicate the patient qualifies. How do you think so many people get prescription medication they don’t need? I’ll give you a little hint, all doctors are not saints and all doctors are not perfect.

    In short, many permits are given out where the patient does not truly qualify.

  • tamsets

    It certainly is difficult for those of us who don’t fit the typical “look” of a disabled person. I have had cervical spine surgery, degenerative disk and arthritis in my lower lumbar, fibromyalgia and myfacial pain syndrome. Although I am nearly 50, I am told I look 35. My doctor says I have the spine of a 70 year old with degenerative disk disease. The degeneration and spinal stenosis of my cervical spine was so severe I was nearly paralyzed before surgery and have permanent nerve damage causing pain, numbness and decreased ability to my lower limbs. On “good” days I can make it into a store and use the shopping cart basically as a walker, unless it gets full and heavy then I can’t manage it. On not so good days I walk like an elderly person in need of my cane. I avoid the handicapped parking, for which I have privileges, unless I am having an especially bad day. My thought is that there may be someone in need of the space more than I and so I avoid it. I believe the bottom line is that for those of who have the handicapped placard, we have met the medical criteria of our state through our physician’s medical documentation and NO ONE has the right to argue with us regarding that. We should not feel guilty or defensive about using the placard that we need and we need to show respect and support for others who have also been given that right.

  • disqus_4Fw8t5kzKY

    Re-reading this page makes me wonder about those people who make assumptions about people who “don’t look sick” – do they ever actually do anything that would truly help handicapped people? Or do they just blow off steam and try to get strangers in trouble without actually knowing for a fact whether those strangers truly have a disability?

  • Sally

    #8 is – “is severely limited in his or her ability to walk due
    to an arthritic, neurological or orthopedic
    condition.”

    What is your definition of “severely limited”?

    I would think the definition would be just as limiting if not more than #3. Or are you saying anyone with an arthritic, neurological or orthopedic condition should qualify regardless of how far they can walk? Should someone who can walk 5 miles but has one of the listed conditions still qualify?

  • Pag

    I also noticed there was a lot of discussion about the “walk 200 feet” as the legal definition of disability. To clarify, in PA, this qualification is #3 of 9 possible qualifications (including being blind and having portable oxygen). I legally qualify by #8, and on some days #3, and currently I can throw in #2 and I’m unfortunately working my way to #4.

  • Her Holiness

    Perhaps not, Pag–those parents are clearly demonstrating some profound moral handicaps 😉

  • Martha

    The problem with simply getting more parking spaces is that at some point even the handicap parking spaces themselves would be too far away. Imagine for example you have enough disabled parking spaces that the back row or two are farther than 200 feet from the store entrance. Those so called disabled spaces would then be too far away for anyone that cannot walk 200 feet.

    The moral is, we need both. More spaces but also more stringent requirements for qualifying for a disabled parking permit.

  • Pag

    The real problem is that there are not enough parking spaces alotted to those with disabilities. Instead of battling each other, and trying to determine who is more handicapped than whom (because there is no way to definitively rank everyone), we should be lobbying for more spaces and getting people who have no tags towed. We are a special population, although widely diverse, that needs to support it’s own. PS I’m currently stewing about the 100% full handicap spots with 0% handicap tags at my kids’ school. I am definitely more handicapped than them :)

  • Parker Foster

    It’s nobody’s business. I feel bad for them because it must suck harboring so much resentment and negative feelings for perfect strangers. What their awful life must be like. You should say, “Oh, I’m sorry your life sucks so bad. You should definitely get a placard bc you deserve it a lot more than me (as you show them a little leg by lifting up your pants..don’t forget to shoot them the bird afterwards).” It takes a special kind of jerk to snarl or make remarks to or about anyone using these spots especially bc most of the time we don’t have neon signs hanging around our necks so that everyone knows our private medical histories. They need to get a life. In my humble opinion, if you have prosthetics, whether born with them or not, you have earned your spot no matter how far you are able to walk. And I don’t mean that in a “pity or poor you way”, I mean it in a screw them for being nasty people way…IT IS NOBODY’S BUSINESS!!!! I am sure you are a nice enough person that if you were feeling up to it and the spots were limited, and there were someone who clearly couldn’t walk far or needed the spot more than you did at the time, you would give it up in a second bc those of use who do have them (placards), and do from time to time feel strong enough to take a longer stroll, and who can identify with needing them more on some days and not as much on others, are happy to give them up when necessary (and even sometimes when not). I am so sorry you have to endure such treatment. I will never understand people….EVER! Just for the record, I never say anything or give people the finger because we don’t need to sync to their levels, but it is ok to think it or say it here among those of us who deal have to deal with it and need to vent in a safe place from time to time. 😉

  • Emily

    Victoria BC is not the States. But the qualifications are similar. For example, most states use 200 feet and BC uses 100 meters. However, BC does not specifically mention prosthetic devices. They do specfically mention: “wheelchair, scooter, walker, crutches, or a cane”. More details at: http://drcvictoria.com/parking-permits/

  • Parker Foster

    Like I said….some people….

  • barbershop_quartet

    Excuse me, but Victoria BC is not in the States, right?

  • Emily

    If prosthetic limbs sufficiently restore ones ability to walk then there are some states you would not qualify for a disability parking permit. It really boils down to not what someones disability is, but how significantly it impairs their ability to walk. In many states, this is defined by unable to walk 200 feet without stropping to rest.

  • barbershop_quartet

    People Stare at me and when I leave the care and approach a store, they criticize me, unable to see through my pants that I rely on prosthetic limbs and braces to get around. It’s only in the Summer when I’m wearing shorts that people leave me alone.

  • KMA

    I didn’t mean to offend. If I did I appologize. I know too well about the need of the access aisle and the chances of someone parking next to the vehicle and making it impossible to access your car. The person I was speaking of had a very able bodied husband who was able to move their car, and she was saying I had no rights parking in the handicap space because I was not in a chair.
    I hate when people park in the access area of the handicap parking and often wonder what they are thinking.

  • ChairUser

    There is more to a handicap parking space than just its location. The access aisle is the most important and most reliable part of handicap parking. The access aisle provides the space required to load/unload assistive devices like wheelchairs. Without them a person with an assistive device would never be able to get out of their van. And if they have to park in the back of the lot there is always the chance someone will park next to them and block their ability to get back into their van.

    I guarantee you that relying on van accessible handicap parking spaces is far more restrictive and required than anything you have personally experienced.

  • KMA

    I have told people, if you think I look fine getting out of my car now, hang around because I guarantee you that when I walk out of this store after buying a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread, you will see why I have that tag. I have earned my tag! I have also had arguments with a person in a wheelchair about those parking spots. I told her that her husband is not handicapped and can push her chair the extra space or two. I may not be able to walk that distance when I leave the store.

  • Michelle

    Some people (my father comes to mind) are masters at hiding their pain. He’s had multiple surgeries on his neck, shoulders, knees and back and can’t walk 5 feet without being in intense pain, but you wouldn’t know it unless you know him well. I can see the pain on his face and in his attitude, but others would just see him as a grumpy, angry man. His pain level is at a 7 or 8 nearly every single day, but he refuses to take pain medication, use a walker, or apply for a disabled parking permit. He does have a disabled veteran license plate, but that’s as far as it goes. My point is, you can’t always tell how much pain someone is in just by looking at them. My dad looks fine, but he has so many issues his doctors BEG him to take pain pills.

  • NoOptions

    You said, “You can’t tell how much pain I am in”. I totally agree, I can’t see your pain. However, I can certainly see if your pain is impairing your ability to walk. Which is what I was saying in my post you first replied to. Did you just gloss over that?

    Then you went on to say, “someone might be walking short distances with no outward sign of distress”. and “will not last long on their feet”. Both very vague statements where you give no definition of short or long. So I reiterated the 200 feet qualification and informed you how long, 45 seconds, it takes to walk 200 feet unimpaired. Both of which you seem to be “glossing” over.

    Finally, you claim I would have to follow you around the store to see if you are limping when in reality I would only need to observe you walking for 45 seconds unimpaired to know you don’t meet the 200 feet qualification. And if you did meet the qualification I would see you starting to show distress within only 10-15 seconds. Were you glossing over that too?

    I await, hopefully, your logical explanation rather than just another emotional response.

  • Nonny

    “The arrogance here is claiming someone who cannot walk 200 feet does so
    without limitation 0 to 199 feet and then suddenly at 200 cannot walk at
    all.” That’s not what I said at all.
    You’re a master of glossing over what the other person is actually trying to tell you, then giving a long, detailed explanation as to why what you are mistakenly claiming the other person to have said is wrong. You’re not interested in learning anything about disabled people or new thoughts, only that you are so right. Which you’re not. So I’m done.

  • NoOptions

    Almost all joint, muscle, ligament type pain/stiffness is very noticeable when someone first starts walking. Once their joints/muscles/ligaments warm up, stretch out, get re-lubricated the symptoms ease and remain eased until prolonged (multiple minutes) usage fatigue starts setting in. Keep in mind it only takes 45 seconds to walk 200 feet if you have nothing impairing your gait. This is your typical mild to moderate arthritis type symptoms.

    Now if your condition has advanced to a severe or acute level, then you wouldn’t have an easement after warming up and would exhibit visual signs of impairment constantly.

    In either case you would exhibit immediate visual signs of impairment if joint/muscle/ligament pain/stiffness was your disability.

    Now if endurance or fatigue, not pain, was your only limitation then I would agree it may not be immediately visible. But here again, we are talking about cannot walk 200 feet. Which means you would begin to fatigue way before you reached 200 feet. It’s not like you would walk totally normally and than instantly not be able to walk anymore. You would be showing signs of fatigue shortly after starting to walk, probably within 10-15 seconds. Keeping in mind a normal gait only takes 45 seconds to walk 200 feet.

    The arrogance here is claiming someone who cannot walk 200 feet does so without limitation 0 to 199 feet and then suddenly at 200 cannot walk at all.

  • Nonny

    You can’t tell how much pain I am in and how long I am going to be able to remain upright just by watching me walk a few steps. Are you going to follow me around the store to make sure I am limping enough for your satisfaction? Arrogant prick.

  • NoOptions

    You think you can’t judge a visual function? Let’s take a visible function like blinking. Your telling me you can’t judge if someone is blinking normally by looking at them? It’s no different than judging if someone is walking normally by watching them walk. Well, if you have no cognitive skills you couldn’t. Apparently that is your disability, cognitive dysfunction, since you can’t.

  • Nonny

    So, after I’ve worked all day, am physically exhausted and my hips, legs, and back are severe pain, and I absolutely have to stop at the store on my way home to just pick up one or two things: if I park in a handicapped spot with my permit, exactly HOW MUCH of a limp should I have before you deem me sick enough to park there?

    I am in pain and fatigued every day of my life. Some days I can hide it better. Just because you don’t see me limp, doesn’t mean I’m not in very bad pain. Or that I can park far from the entrance to the store, waste the precious steps I have in me, and still last long enough to run my errand.

    Don’t propose that you know for fact that, “the majority of people parking in a disability spot can walk farther than 200 feet at the time of parking.” You are guessing. You don’t know that.

  • NoOptions

    I concur someone walking slowly is not a guarantee they have a severely limiting walking disability. But I stand firm that it is a “visible” sign they may have. A much stronger sign than if they were walking with a normal gait.

    But I can tell now your completely rambling on and have little to no understanding of why and who abuses disability parking. Almost everyone that is fraudulently using a disabled parking spot is doing so for convenience and/or free parking. They are not going to turn around and inconvenience themselves by walking slowly to their destination.

    If they were going to fake a disability, they could just as easily use an even more visible queue, like a mobility aid. But by now I think you understand why they don’t. It’s inconvenient to use a mobility aid. And the last thing they want is to be inconvenienced. God forbid they would have to park 10 stalls farther away from the door and take an extra 20 seconds to walk there.

    In short, get a clue.

  • Melana Nighthawk

    I walk just as slowly frequently (due to hip/back/knee/leg/foot pain) – but I don’t need or use handicap parking.

    Someone who is not in a hurry walks slowly, “sauntering along”.

    If someone is young-looking but walking slowly, they cop a lot of abuse because it is ASSUMED that:
    1. They are too young to have anything wrong with them, the observer can’t see anything themselves, so they must be abusing the handicap parking, and
    2. They’re compounding their abuse by not even having the decency to get their stuff done fast and get out of there.

    Maybe you would recognise “walking slowly” as a symptom of a genuine need – most people don’t. And not everyone just “walking slowly” does have a need for handicap parking – so it’s NOT usually recognised as a “genuine” signal.

  • NoOptions

    And as I said, walking slowly is a visible sign. Thank you for agreeing.

  • Melana Nighthawk

    My mother in law died from cardiomyopathy, so yes I have seen it at the point at which it was severe enough to kill someone.

    Yes, she walked slowly – people assume that just means that someone is not in a hurry/taking their time.

    You’d have to have followed her for 30-50m to see the issues with shortness of breath. At 100m, she couldn’t stand anymore and would have to rest. But that WASN’T visible the moment she got out of the car – where she would have been sitting quietly for a while with consequently much lower demands for oxygen.

    I got to hold her hand while she was suffocating on multiple occasions – where nothing but morphine (because it reduces the body’s recognition/demand for oxygen) could help. But unless one of those attacks was currently active, it would not be visible immediately on standing up, or for the first several metres of walking.

  • NoOptions

    Apparently you haven’t ever seen anyone that is actually winded, struggling to breath. There are numerous visible signs, one of the most common signs is a slow gait which conserves energy and uses less oxygen.

    When oxygen levels do get low, visible symptoms can be but not limited to: wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, rapid breathing, sweating, …. Think of someone having an asthma attack, which is very visible.

    If someones lung or heart condition is minor, I agree their symptoms will be invisible. But at that level of impairment they would not require handicap parking.

  • Melana Nighthawk

    “On that particular day you will not be walking normally. There will be visible signs you are struggling”

    What about for people with things like pulmonary hypotension, cardiomyopathy, interstitial lung disease – i.e. for which their heart/lung system is UNABLE to support the activity.

    That doesn’t show up as “visible signs in their walking” , but is just as real a reason for being unable to walk any distance.

    My husband knew someone who’d had to have a lung removed. They’d never been a smoker (though most people automatically assumed that he must have been – that the problem just HAD to have been self-inflicted). He literally couldn’t get enough air to support any real exercise because he’d lost just over half his lung capacity. Yet he also frequently got abused by people assuming that “you look young and ok, you’re not limping – you MUST be using a fake permit because *I* can’t see anything wrong with you”.

    Invisible illness/disability is called that specifically because it’s not immediately visible.

  • NoOptions

    It’s not a matter of comparing illnesses or disabilities. It’s only a matter of ones functional ability to walk. If you can walk normally for 200 feet at the time of parking, you shouldn’t be parking in a disability spot. It’s as simple as that. Unfortunately the majority of people parking in a disability spot can walk farther than 200 feet at the time of parking.

    If your having a really bad day and can’t walk 200 feet that day then go ahead and park in disabled parking. On that particular day you will not be walking normally. There will be visible signs you are struggling and no one will question your use of the disability parking.

  • Parker Foster

    So you are saying if someone isn’t permanently disable they should have to suffer? Not that this person needs to explain anything, but fibromyalgia IS a permanent disability, and a very painful one at that. Some disabilities do not warrant the need to use the parking spot every time, but that doesn’t mean they should not have the option when they need it. Not all disabilities cause pain, like some in wheel chairs or those who use walkers, that doesn’t mean their disability should be compared to one that does cause pain. I think your statement is very unfair to this person, and it is the reason people like them feel hesitant to seek help from their doctors to get these placards. They should absolutely feel ZERO shame for needing help from time to time or needing a placard for those days when their disability causes them agonizing pain when walking only five steps. I agree that their are those who abuse the system, but we can’t compare illnesses or disabilities. We can’t go around accusing people of abusing the system either because like you said, until you walk a mile, or a few steps, in their shoes, you have no right to say anything. We have to just hope that the people using them who do not have a disability will someday realize the harm it causes and not do it, but there really isn’t anything we can do about it without risking hurting those who “DON’T LOOK DISABLED” by making ugly remarks or discounting their reasons.

  • NoOptions

    Walk the path of someone who never has a good day. Someone who always struggles to walk only a few feet/yards. Or someone in a wheelchair that always needs an access aisle to enter/exit their car/van. Imagine you are walking their path and the last open handicap parking is taken by someone who could manage to park 4-5 spaces farther out.

    Once you realize there are people that always absolutely need handicap parking you will realize why they are dismayed with all the people today that have permits that “optionally” use them.

  • AF

    I really need to get a handicap sticker bc of the fibromyalgia, but I look “fine”. You wouldn’t know by looking at me, the pain I go through, unless I happen to be limping or wincing in pain. But you know, at this point I find myself caring less and less about what other people think or say. It doesn’t affect my life that much, and at the end of the day, they don’t walk my path and their opinions don’t change my situation. If a doctor approves it, what is it anyone’s business? Unless they are the handicap sticker police, I don’t wanna hear it.

  • Parker Foster

    You were being a dck no matter how you try to justify it. There is a right way and a wrong way of doing things, but you are fully aware of this and are just trolling the boards. Truthfully, get a life.

  • TruthHurts

    Again, I’ll ask. How is providing an option being rude? It’s wasn’t the Mother that wanted the placard, it was chris.

  • Tamers

    yes it was mean. Some people only can be happy being mean. Did you not learn when you where small….If you cant say nothing nice, then don’t say nothing at all? She has now lost her Mom. She is suffering enough without rude, mean comments.

  • TruthHurts

    Your just spinning now. There is no reason chris couldn’t have gotten his mother a folding wheelchair, a walker with a seat, crutches, cane, or whatever she may have required to be able to walk when she could and rest when she needed.

    Also, as a permanent wheelchair user myself I find your comment about wheelchair users completely flawed. A wheelchair greatly improves ones independence. Anyone that truly struggles to walk and then begins to use a wheelchair soon realizes how much more independent they become. Anyone that thinks otherwise doesn’t have a clue what it means or feels like to have severely limited mobility.

    Seems to me the snarky one here is you.

  • Phyllis Anne

    Okay, I disagree, and I change my opinion that your comment was downright mean, rather than rude. Thinking a bit further, just by your name Mr.TruthHurts, you probably go around and make snarky comments to people on a regular basis. I was trying to be nice. And I did read Chris’s post and at no time did I get the thought as you did that he wanted the placard more, and that is because I don’t think in a cynical way, such as you do. No, your comment WAS rude and mean. I would haven’t even been able to come up with your comment and my opinion of it being rude was agreed by others reading our posts. You don’t realize that many sick people do not want to use a wheelchair since it is a huge blow to their independence and reduces their feelings of dignity especially while out in public. And in medical you never do for patients what they can already do, slowly or not, and walking is included in the care plan. Putting his mother in a wheelchair is helping to remove the functions she has left. If she can still walk, then she is to walk, NOT put into a wheelchair. For the last 3 months she has to live, why not let Chris get a placard so his mother can live out her days with dignity. But Chris seems to realize those things already and is smart enough to recognize the need for the placard.

    You don’t seem to get it, and the truth hurts MrTruthHurts don’t it!

  • TruthHurts

    Apparently you didn’t read chris’s post. Her Mother did not want a placard and it was chris who was complaining about having to drop off her Mother. In what way was I being rude to her Mother, the one who actually had a disability?

    If chris was actually worried about dropping her Mother off and leaving her unattended she had options available to not do that. I provided her one such option. How is providing options rude?

    My comment on chris wanting a placard more than her Mother was more truthful than rude.

  • Phyllis Anne

    Very, very, very rude comment you made. Why? I asked. But I know, that there are so many people in the world who have zero understanding of others, much less the smallest amount of empathy for the things others have to deal with and the pain they go through each and every day. You sir, Mr. TruthHurts, are a cruel and unusual person. Pathetic comment and I am sorry that others have to read it. I could have flagged it, but I chose not to.

  • TruthHurts

    You could of gotten a folding wheelchair and pushed your mother from your parking spot rather than making her wait by the door 10 minutes. Seems to me you wanted the placard more than your mom did.

  • chris

    Everyone must stop judging. All I can think if is my dear mom with stage 4 cancer that refused to get a HC placard out of pride. She missed out on things her last month’s due to this. And the times we took her places and had to drop her and leave her at the door – leaving her alone for 10 minutes while we parked – she was so very sick but probably just looked old. We never knew how she would do those 10 minutes. And no one would know it was the cancer that had aged her 20 years and she would die in 3 months. A placard would have helped her enjoy her last months more and kept her safer as we could get out of the car with her and stay with her.

  • Parker Foster

    exactly. nobody’s business, and not worth hurting someone’s feelings or making them feel worse by trying to police the parking. you are right Jenna.

  • Homer

    Apparently your not up to date on the current requirements to qualify for a disabled parking permit. Your ramblings show this rather clearly. It’s also obvious that your clueless on how the process works for applying and being approved for a disabled permit. What state do you live in that has a qualification of occasional need? Link us the application form for that state.

  • Jenna

    The handicap parking tag and the abuse or not of it IS none of your business. I’m assuming you are not the doctor who determined the need, or are working for the bureau which grants these passes based on a determined need. Occasional need or 100% necessity on the spots being available is irrelevant. If the individual has a tag, then they deserve it, and whether or not YOU think that it’s abuse of it or not is none of your business, and if you have a concern, take it up with the appropriate officials.

  • Homer

    Perhaps you should be asking that question to the people who are fraudulently using placards. What the hell is wrong with them?

  • Phyllis Anne

    YOU go after them! YOU be the placard police, and YOU report everyone whom YOU think are using it fraudulently. I hope you get slapped upside the face by those who DO need the placard. What the hell is wrong with people?

  • Homer

    Police in most areas do not actively patrol and enforce parking lot laws. They typically only get involved when a citizen reports an issue.
    For lawmakers they want to see proof of fraud before going through the process of reform. Part of this proof comes from reporting/confronting as many cheats and fraudsters as possible to show a misuse pattern.

    If we do and say nothing then nothing will change.

  • Parker Foster

    take it up with the lawmakers then and leave the policing to the police. not worth making disabled people feel worse about their conditions especially when it isn’t obvious to everyone else. it is not anyone’s business.

  • Homer

    Application for a permit is mostly an honor system. All the DMV does is make sure the form is filled out correctly and the appropriate signatures are there. One could easily print out the form, check the boxes, and fake a doctors signature and get approved. The DMV get’s 1000’s of applications every month, there is no way they can validate an application beyond that.

    And that’s just one way to fraudulently obtain and use a placard. There are many more. The most prevalent being people using placards that weren’t issued to them. Using a family or friends placard.

    Normally it wouldn’t be that big of deal. But the number of issued placards has skyrocketed in the past decade. On average 10%+ of the population now has a placard while ADA rules still only require about 2% of parking spaces be accessible. Resulting a in large shortage of disabled spaces and thus causing a major issue for those who actual need to park in them. The people who don’t have the luxury of using a non disabled space when the disabled spaces are full. These people have to either wait or leave and come back another day.

  • Phyllis Anne

    There are violators of course. It is up to the DMVbusiness that issues the placards to police them, along with the police. Of course the do-gooders could report anyone they think is in violation. I would venture to say that the majority of placard users have a valid need to have them and use them.

  • Valari Elardo

    A local news team joined with the local traffic cops and busted people during the Christmas crush. Among the many violators they showe on tv were several who kept using the placards after their hanicapped relatives had died!

  • Homer

    So now your saying everyone using a placard are legally using it? I can tell you right now, many many people fraudulently use placards. The biggest fraudulent use being people using a placard of a friend and family member. Another common fraud is people illegally obtaining a placard, which is easy to do.

    You need to wake up if you think all placard users have legally obtained a placard.

  • Colie Marie

    Im saying if someone has the tags, its obviously for a reason. Worry about you and more important things. Under the guise? You really think a person and their doctor pretend for people to be disabled? Theres are hundreds of invisible illnesses and you should not stick your nose in somewhere where it doesn’t belong. So YA, mind your bussiness.

  • Homer

    Are you saying it’s none of our business if someone is breaking the law? Or none of our business if someone is taking advantage of disabled parking? Or none of our business if people block access aisles? Or …..

    Seems to me it would be more rude to people with disabilities if we allow handicap parking abuse to go unchallenged under the guise that it is none of our business.

  • Colie Marie

    I cannot believe the rude remarks from you “adults”. It is none of your business weather or not we use handicap plates/ tags. I am disabled, Im 25, with fibromyalgia, and I sure look like im not sick. But I am in excruciating pain 24/7. I am going to get a handicap tag for my car, because I cannot walk far in the city, in the freezing cold. If I did that, it would be the only thing id do that day. So spare your rude comments, and why dont you people who are so judgemental, go pick on someone whos not disabled, anf grow the hell up.

  • Wood

    ADA law already has regulations for two kinds. ADA requirements call for 1 in 8 disability spots to be van accessible. A van accessible spot must have an 8′ access aisle and have a “van accessible” on the disability parking sign. Non van accessible parking spots must have a 5′ access aisle.

    8′ is required for unloading larger mobility devices like wheelchairs and scooters. There needs to be enough space to accommodate the length of a ramp/lift along with space to drive the mobility device off the ramp/lift and turn.

    5′ is required for unloading smaller mobility devices like walkers, crutches, canes, etc. Or for those requiring fully open doors to enter/exit their vehicle.

  • Phyllis Anne

    Honestly, I don’t believe there is a good solution for so many things out there that the disabled or chronic pain patients have to draw from. It seems that no matter what, not all can be made happy. It’s a quandary too, to even try to get along and get proper treatment.
    I am disabled, but I can still walk even though sometimes it’s painful and maybe a struggle. I park as far away from entrance as I possibly can, just for the extra exercise that I need to keep going “somewhat” strong.

  • barbershop_quartet

    Then there wouldn’t be the complaints from people in wheelchairs who need the ramps, wishing the people who can walk would park somewhere else. I’ve met a lot of people with cancer or some other non-visable disability claiming they have every right to park there.

  • Phyllis Anne

    Now that’s a good idea. Hopefully, maybe, someday, it could happen. I’d be all for it.

  • barbershop_quartet

    I think they should have a Two kinds of parking spots for People with Disabilities. The existing ones that are extra wide with a ramp up onto the sidewalk for people using wheelchairs, walkers, etc, and then…. ones that do NOT require extra wide parking slots for assistive devices.

  • Phyllis Anne

    I don’t think I could/would ever get to a point of confronting anyone using a placard. So many disabilities are not visible unless the confronter is carrying an xray machine or blood lab test equipment with them.

  • Parker Foster

    #2 it may not be illegal to confront someone, but it is incredibly rude!

  • Wood

    Ken, there’s a few things with your video that are misleading and many things missing.

    First the misleading parts.
    1. Not everyone using a disabled placard or plate has legally obtained it.
    2. It’s not illegal to confront someone.
    3. It is illegal to punch someone.
    4. The DMV is only an administrator. They do not have any say on who or who does not qualify for a disabled parking permit. They simply insure the form is properly filled out and signed/dated.
    5. Police are not always the only authority that can issue disabled parking violations. Some communities have trained civilian volunteers that also perform these duties.

    Now the missing parts.
    1. You do not mention the rampant fraudulent use of disabled placards/plates. The #1 fraudulent use being the use of placards/plates by people that were not issued a placard/plate.
    2. You do not mention any of the many ways to fraudulent obtain a placard. Many of the qualifications are subjective and applicants can use that to misrepresent themselves to a physician. Some doctors will not take the time to fully understand and quantify the qualifications. Applicants can doctor shop for physicians willing to sign, similar to doctor shopping for prescription medication. Applicants can forge physician signatures. Or people can fake, steal or illegally purchase a placard.
    3. 100% Disabled Veterans can also receive disabled parking privileges. This is noteworthy because DV percent ratings are not limited to mobility impairments. A veteran could receive a 100% disability rating and not have any mobility impairment. For example they could have a 100% rating due to PTSD.
    4. You do not mention the difference between van accessible disabled parking and normal disabled parking.
    5. This is a harder one. But you yourself do not take on the task of quantifying the criteria (1, 3, 5, 7) you chose to highlight as possible invisible conditions. Not quantifying these subjective criteria is one of the main reasons average citizens and physicians will approve or disapprove (judge) an applicants eligibility differently. Or more simply said, if the same applicant went to 10 different physicians with (1, 3, 5, or 7) they would probably get varying approval results.

  • Ken McKim

    Those with chronic illnesses have enough to deal with without being harassed for using parking spaces that they are legally entitled to use. Unfortunately, this harsh treatment of some of the sickest of our citizens shows no sign of stopping any time soon.

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  • Jen

    They do not look exactly the same. Each placard has a unique identification number that identifies who the placard was issued to. In fact, some states will even add other identifying information such as gender, birth year, and photo.

  • disqus_4Fw8t5kzKY

    This really confuses me. Just Me qualifies as disabled but doesn’t have his or her own placard…which would look exactly the same as his/her mother’s placard. You wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between Just Me’s own placard and mom’s, but Just Me is wrong for taking advantage of the handicapped parking spot while feeling ill due to a disability?? Seems to me the cop should have listened to the explanation and said “get your own placard for next time” and then let it go. And NO cop should EVER tell someone “the fix will be in”. Cops are supposed to enforce the law, not manipulate it!

  • Lisa

    Why put blame on the cop? You were illegally using your mother’s placard. Does not matter if you yourself are disabled or not. You had no need to tell the cop you were other than to try and talk your way out of a ticket. If you had just accepted the ticket, thanked the cops for doing their job, and went on your way; the cop would never become angry. Your very lucky they did not confiscate the placard along with giving you a ticket, which is what they are suppose to do.

    The cop was not abusing his authority nor was he discriminating against you. You will not be able to beat the ticket even with a lawyer. It’s a clear violation, you were not the owner of the placard and your Mother was not with you.

    What you should do is get your own placard.

  • Just Me

    My moms been in a wheel chair since she was 21. I understand as much as anyone the importance of enforcing the law, especially when it coms to handicapped parking. I am disabled, but never applied for a placard because my mom has one and she is always with me. I suffer from a mental disorder and stage 3 hyper tension. Last blood pressure check showed 240. My mom sent me to the market and because I started to feel very dizzy I parked in a handicapped spot. When I walked out of the market I noticed two bicycle cops standing near my car. They asked me the usual questions ID/Reg, etc. I told them it was not my placard so they wrote me a ticket. I couldn’t have lied and said it was mine, but I pride myself on my honesty. I told them I am disabled and the one cop said no your not. He asked why I don’t walk with a cane or use a wheelchair. I was polite in my reply and told him never judge a book by it’s cover, that’s why he became angry and screamed for his partner to tell him the statute for the max fine of $500.00 His partner who wrote the ticket for him said he felt bad because he knew his partner was having a very bad day and taking it out on me. I was always told by the cop not to go to court to fight this because he would put the fix in to make sure I wouldn’t win. Basically it comes down to I was legally wrong for parking there without my own placard and he was wrong for abusing his authority and discriminating against me for having a disability that he could not see. I guess I shouldn’t bother going to court because what is the point if as he says the fix is in. I can’t afford $500.00 as we can not afford to buy food near the end of each month and a lawyer is out of the question. My license will end up being suspended for failure to pay so I will have no way to get my mom to her doctors appointments. Basically we are screwed.

  • elaine

    i can’t imagine someone with colorblindness qualifying. when my doctor and i did the paperwork it was very detailed about my physical abilities. i live in mass. the doctor had to be very specific what i could and couldn’t do physically.

  • Ro

    Also, as I said in my first comment, I don’t have handicapped parking privileges because I CAN walk the distance I need to walk. Yes sometimes it’s harder than others, but how is that me, “encouraging” liars and cheaters? I really don’t appreciate someone putting words in my mouth, so maybe you should re read the comments I’ve posted before you do that. It’s only fair, since I’m not insinuating, or outright posting comments that are accusing you of saying things you haven’t. Thanks.

  • Flo

    If anyone is trying to judge it’s you. The cannot walk 200 feet is pretty clear. But for some reason you continue to argue the cannot walk 200 feet should not or does not apply to WE (those with invisible illnesses). WE is not required to meet this qualification because they have some other reason that overrides it. That is what it seems you are trying to insinuate. Are you not?

    And if so, that insinuation is a judgement. The only difference is your judgement says WE qualify anyway. My judgement says WE qualify only if WE meet the qualification.

    I’m not trying to win an argument. I’m simply, as you say, letting the law speak for itself.

  • Ro

    Well thank you for that clarification. I did not in any way mean to sound like I represent anyone but myself. My simple point is, that it isn’t for anyone to decide, except for the laws themselves. Again, I say I don’t condome anybody breaking the laws.
    The first paragraph of the comment you were referring to pointed out the specification of the law. The person goes on to explain the average amount of time it takes for an average person to reach 200 feet. Therefore, the point of my story was not pity, it was an explanation on ONE person with a disability’s issue with walking 200 feet or more. Where in my post did I say that a person with a disability or the complications that I have, deserves that parking permit? I said NOTHING about bending or breaking the laws.
    Again, it’s not for you or me to judge. That’s my point. So if you feel the need to bash me and accuse me of trying to gain pity, or exaggerate my illness, then that’s up to you.
    The WE comment you speak of, was not me speaking for all illnesses, that was me trying(and apparently failing for you) to point out the fact that people, with invisible illnesses,(similar to the one I have) sometimes do NEED these considerations.
    So, if you feel like I want your pity or I’m trying to make things about myself, then clearly you didn’t comprehend the point I was trying to make. I’m getting the feeling that you just like to argue and try to have the last word, so I’m going to go ahead and let you do that. I’ve already made my point to you several times and I don’t know how else to explain what I was trying to get across. However, I will end with this; I think it’s important for you not to assume that people have an agenda, such as trying to gain pity, when you know nothing about them or what their life is like. WE (those with invisible illnesses) fight that every day in some form. It’s exactly why this original post was made and why this site is a necessary escape for some of us. I hope you can try to drop the judgement and try to see things from that point of view. I wish you the best and hope that you never have to walk in the shoes of some of the people who truly struggle to maintain daily lives without special consideration.

  • Flo

    Well let me extrapolate.

    In your first reply to Sally’s post you drilled them on DESERVE when all they did is post what one of the qualifications was and provided a description of how limiting that qualification is. You introduced the notion of judging whether a particular individual DESERVES a disabled parking permit.

    Then you went on to give a story using WE and AVERAGE as if YOU were representing all disabilities and the absurdity of comparing how far an AVERAGE person can walk in 45 seconds when YOU have to sit for 45 minutes. What was the purpose of that story other than to garner pity? It did nothing to discredit the fact that cannot walk 200 feet is one of the qualifications and did nothing to discredit the fact that an AVERAGE person can walk 200 feet in 45 seconds.

    Your story insinuates that someone who can walk 200 feet albeit with difficulty may and should qualify. Which is an exaggeration of the qualification and a me me me attitude that encourages people to bend the rules to qualify. It only considers oneself and not how it may impact those who truly cannot walk 200 feet.

  • Ro

    No I understood your stressing the laws. However, you ARE passing judgement because your first comment COMPLETELY judged what I wrote. I said NOTHING about the laws, all I said is that it is for the LAWS to judge and not ANYONE else. So, exactly what “misinformation” did I mention in any of my comments??? I’d honestly like to know, because as far as I can tell there was none. You stated in YOUR comment that I “painted a sad story with exaggerations”, you know NOTHING about me. So, yeah I’m pretty offended and outraged by that. So please feel free to share with me what kind of propaganda I’m spreading, because clearly I either typed something that I didn’t mean to, or you read what you wanted to.

  • Flo

    What your failing to understand is what someone else goes through does not matter. All that matters is the state qualifications one must meet in order to qualify for a disabled parking permit. The 200 feet qualification mentioned above is a federal recommendation and most states have it as a one. There’s is no judging involved here, either you can or cannot walk 200 feet.

    It’s the fakers and cheats who bend the rules to qualify. Take spaces they don’t truly need without consideration to those who do. And people like you, who have no knowledge of the qualifications that spew misinformation and encourage others to look away. Let the cheaters cheat, who am I to judge, it does not hurt or impact me if people fraudulently use disabled placards. No skin off my teeth.

  • Ro

    First of all, no there are NOT exaggerations in anything that I said. Secondly, you don’t even know me so, for you to comment on my health, limitations or attitude is pretty ludicrous. I Don’t see how anything I said is a “me me attitude”. I’m not even talking about MY handicapped placard because I don’t have one. I agree I don’t know much about the state laws because I have been fortunate enough not to need them. That does NOT give ANYONE the right to judge me or anyone else. So, you’re basically saying that unless you’re in a wheelchair, nobody else has the right to utilize disabled parking? I personally have been through the court system and deemed “disabled” in my state, by a judge. Many others on this page have also. My main point is, and continues to be, that it is in fact a JUDGE and THE STATE LAWS that determine this. Therefore, other people who are not a judge have no basis to judge or comment of who deserves what benefits or considerations. Once again, you just proved as an example of someone who has NO IDEA what someone else goes through, thinking they can comment on it. So thanks.

  • Flo

    You paint a sad pity story but one with obvious exaggerations and flaws. Your entire reply oozes with a me me me attitude with no apparent awareness of state laws governing who qualifies for disabled parking. Disabled parking exists for those who cannot access goods and services without them. Key word being CANNOT.

  • Ro

    I can’t understand how someone on this site can honestly sit and argue with someone they don’t even know about whether or not they DESERVE a handicap placard!! I agree that the woman who got the ticket was in the wrong for using the placard that was not hers. However, the little condescending math equation of steps per second for the AVERAGE person was a little absurd to me. Obviously if we were an AVERAGE person who took the AVERAGE amount of steps, within the AVERAGE amount of time, there would be no need for this conversation at all! I do not have a handicapped placard because I can’t bring myself to apply for it. However, I have had times where I have walked from my AVERAGE parking spot and had to sit down inside a store for closer to 45 MINUTES no 45 SECONDS to get back out or even to get to someone to ask for help. Not everybody has the luxury of having someone who can follow them around all day or do everything for them when they aren’t able. Some of us have to face the fact that things need to be done and we have to do them, win, lose, or fall.

    Your entire reply is the exact reason why this post was written and why we have to fight to get people to take us seriously. I would think someone with a chronic illness would have a little more compassion.

  • Brandy

    I find it hard to believe that many times you have to sit down in the middle of an isle at Walmart or some other store. If I had to guess it’s probably a rare occurrence. Because if it did occur often, you would of done something by now to prevent it.

  • Samuel

    Since these episodes are occurring often and putting you at risk of falls and possibly injury, It’s probably time to discuss these episodes with your doctor. I can’t imagine the doctor wanting you to take the risk and probably would recommend a better mobility aid. You would then use the mobility aid when shopping to minimize risk. Remember you can still exercise to maintain mobility, but do so in a more controlled environment.

  • Amy Allen Tindall

    Yes that’s exactly what I do. I have to sit down and rest…it’s happened in the middle of an aisle at Walmart. I have to stay there until I’m able to get up. I’ve even had to call friends to come and get me. I do keep a cane in my car. If I feel something coming on, or I feel like something just isn’t right I will use it from the start. The doctor doesn’t want me to rely on the cane unless I really need it. I also so excersises to keep the mobility that I have for as long as possible.

  • Samuel

    The many times you were not able to walk back out, how did you get back to your car? Did you rest somewhere in the store until you were able to?

    Also, if pain and fatigue can hit you out of nowhere, wouldn’t you want to be always using some sort of mobility aid to assist you when they do suddenly occur?

    I ask, because it always seems skeptical when people claim they have these occurrences but yet never seem to do anything to handle them. They just mysteriously endure them in some way and seem to not really worry if they will happen again.

  • Amy Allen Tindall

    I have multiple sclerosis. An invisible

  • Martha

    In what state does colorblindness qualify? Whether someone with lupus, fibro, EDS, or any other disease/illness can or cannot walk 200 feet depends on the stage/progressing/classification of their illness. Some will not be able to, some will. To categorize all of them as cannot is misleading and false.

  • Kitten

    Actually someone with colorblindness can qualify for a handicapped parking permit. Stupid, but true. There is little to no restrictions for these spots. Also, someone with lupus, fibro, or my own EDS, can NOT walk 200 feet. I used to park, and walk in to get a scooter. Now I have my own set of wheels so that’s what I do, but MOST of us are not abusing the parking.

  • Sally

    To qualify for disabled parking one’s walking ability must be severely limited. So much so that they cannot walk 200 feet. I don’t think those claiming to have invisible disabilities realize how restrictive a requirement severely limited is.

    The average walking speed of a human is 3 miles per hour or 264 feet per minute. If you have a normal gait with no visible signs of impairment you can walk 200 feet in 45 seconds. So anyone claiming they have an invisible illness where there are no visible signs of impaired walking are saying they cannot walk 45 seconds.

  • kelly

    I have m.s. (multiple sclerosis)..another invisible illness.. I also have lymphedema and although neither of which are lupus or Fibromyalgia.. I still feel your pain.. I am 38 years old and I am short and chubby.. I get stared at all the time.. :( I hate it.. As I know there are much better things to stare at in this world.. People seem to have nothing better to do than to stare though..

  • Ro

    You raise a good point about educating people! Every stare is an opportunity!
    Btw good for you and I hope your recovery continues to progress well! :-)

  • emmedullo

    This is a really great post and relays sentiments shared by most of us here.

    Reading through the comments though, I feel like I need to add something: I am a 16 year old brain cancer survivor, dealing with the long term effects of brain surgery, chemo, and radiation. After my diagnosis and treatment at 10, I have spent the last 6 years in rehab/physical therapy, relearning how to do EVERYTHING! Several of you commented below that, when asked by strangers what is wrong with you, you say you have cancer “so people will leave you alone.” At best, that is insensitive, rude, and dishonest. Own your own illness or disability…please do not claim someone else’s! Because, just like I don’t know what it is like to have your illness (and wouldn’t claim to), you have NO IDEA what it is like to have had mine and the after effects that come with it. Be glad people are interested enough in you to ask what the issue is instead of staring at you with ‘that look’. Instead of viewing it as an intrusion, perhaps see it as a rare opportunity to educate somebody.

  • Court

    I’m 29 and diagnosed with FMS for the past 2 years and trying to work full time. I am the family’s bread winner. I don’t feel bad anymore asking for reasonable accommodations for myself. I have a key to elevators after hours, I have speech to text software, and I use the scooters at grocery stores if I need to in order to function at the best of my ability when it really matters. I don’t think it would be better to deny myself this assistanc from time to time and in the end need constant assistance because I made myself sicker pretending to be tough.

  • Kitty

    People can be judgmental, but in my mind that is their problem, not mine. I am 52 but look much younger, and as many of you have said, I “look fine”. But if you were to see my back MRI you would wonder how I am able to get around as well as I do. I take pain pills through out the day, and get injections in my spine pretty regularly. I am trying to continue to work, and rather than going on disability, I have requested a handicap parking placard so that I can park closer to schools (I am an itinerant teacher), especially in the winter when it can be very difficult to find close parking in an area where I can get my wheeled cart out of my car and then take each item (I have a 10 pound lifting restriction) one by one out of my car and put them on the cart. Bending is especially bad for me so even this is difficult, but I want to work as long as I can. So, people who see me at work may think “what the heck how does she get that placard”, but if I did not have it, I would not be ABLE to work. I would be on disability. So, for those who get upset because a disability is not “visible”, would you rather have someone who appears healthy but has a placard because of a disability you can’t see and is working, or would you rather that same person just stop working and collect disability checks?

  • s

    Sometimes it’s better to have something visible, because nobody really understands the pain and suffering. I have fibromialgia, IBS, migranes that last for days, easily get infections, and get sick from cold temperatures, Air conditioning, strong smells, perfumes, and have a hard time with my daily life… Nobody really understands.

  • pattinb

    I too have a handicap parking.. As I age so has medical issues increased .. Heart Disease,,,, Hypothyroidism,,, Rheumatoid Arthritis …All invisible but just as handicapped as anyone else.. Lot’s of stares when I get out of my vehicle even when I am having a bad day .. if you took the time you would see my weight is because a doctor Judgingly said I didn’t look sick and refused me medical treatment, my hands don’t work like the use to I fumble to open the door because my doctor won’t prescribe me medicine for Rheumatoid Arthritis because I have Heart Disease.. I had a Heart Attack at 34 weighing in at 98 lbs 1 month before doctor’s said I was perfectly fine just stress not to worry my dear , just relax and you will be fine..Sometimes I don’t have the strength to pull it open.. Walking to far I am short of breath.. My fingers won’t bend around the handle to let me inside.. I use a cart as my walker so someone else can use the wheeled unites at the store.. I am slow but I will not let them keep me down.. Maybe people should walk a day in someone else’s shoes before judging the amount a person is handicapped.. Believe me…. It’s not by choice..

  • Sue Walker

    In my area all of the spaces are van accessible so all we can do is try not to take the last one.

  • Susan Precht

    very good point

  • michela subjeck

    Just stay out of the “van accessible” spaces. I have a child in a wheel chair and have a ramp I need to deploy to get her in and out. That is what “van accessible” means. We should be classed differently, different color taqs or something.

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    Hi Sheryl!
    I am so glad to hear from you! It’s difficult to find others who have a good understanding of what life with chronic pain is like. Even more difficult to be a woman, not a former veteran with PTSD. We cannot control those crazy night terrors, nor the fearful memories that jump into our minds. I commend you for not using medications. I want to be free of mine!

    On advertising. My daughter has a website and uses a Google advertising source. I will ask her about it.

  • http://Sheryllsheavenlyhands.vpweb.com/ Sheryll Mayes-okerstrom

    I just found my old blog space, and I’m up and running again business has been real real slow, no customers for over 6 months. i need to do more advertising, maybe you all can help me?

  • http://Sheryllsheavenlyhands.vpweb.com/ Sheryll Mayes-okerstrom

    Hi Tammy, i too have fibromyalgia , i dont use any drugs to help me, all i do is walk two or three times a day and do alot of stretches every day, and then hot showers at the end of the day. i also have chronic clinical depression, and PTSD battered wife syndrome and night terrors and im starting to shake with my arms and hands. i have a tens unit that helps me. its a muscle stimulater. so i try to take care of myself.

  • feduptoo

    Finally someone speaks the truth! I too I’m way tired of the “invisible illness” excuse. If your walking normally with no visible sign of physically struggling then guess what, your walking isn’t impaired.

  • Fed up with invisible illnesse

    I agree.

    I have chronic pain in both legs due to Fibromyalgia, and osteoarthritis in the knees after getting hit by a car while cycling a few years ago.

    Although I am in chronic pain all day, and can hardly stand for more than 10-15 minutes at a time, I know I do not qualify as “handicapped” due to the 200 foot rule and don’t want to put someone, like my grandmother, in a wheelchair at a disadvantage just because I feel like parking closer sometimes.

    It also pisses me off to see those other people with “invisible” illnesses jumping out of their SUVs and walking quickly, normally, into the store when I limp the entire way.

    I am tired of the “invisible” handicapps. I don’t care if I get a ever get a placard, but would love people to stop abusing them.

  • Carmen1409

    Maybe someone should create a judgemental and biased parking spot just for you and then you wont need the disabled parking afterall. Sorry to burst your selfish bubble, but just because you don’t have the same symptoms doesn’t mean that other people’s are invalid or an excuse.
    In Texas there are many reasons someone may need to use disabled parking. Placard and plate eligibility is based on a medical condition that meets the legal definition of a disability. “Disability” means a condition in which a person has:

    Placard and plate eligibility is based on a medical condition that meets the legal definition of a disability. “Disability” means a condition in which a person has:

    Visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with correcting lenses

    Visual acuity of more than 20/200 but with a limited field of vision in which the widest diameter of the visual field subtends an angle of 20 degrees or less

    Mobility problems that substantially impair a person’s ability to move around; these problems can be caused by:
    Paralysis
    Lung disease
    Cardiac deficiency
    Wheelchair confinement
    Arthritis
    Foot disorder
    Other medical condition causing a person to use a brace, cane, crutch or other assistive device.

  • tamsets

    Your comments are so uncaring and insensitive. I too have fibromyalgia, chronic pain and chronic fatigue and have days when I need that handicapped parking rather than parking hundreds of feet away. On the days I don’t have severe pain, I do not use it. I understand the importance of that space. Some of those able bodied people that you may be focusing on may be drivers for others that are handicapped rather than the handicapped individual. Unfortunately, spaces are limited and often only meet the state or local requirement for the ADA, while other more empathetic merchants provide much more. (Target, Walmart, Home Depot, are more generous than your local supermarket!) Perhaps you should not focus on the person parking there, but at the business at which you are patronizing.

  • Name

    I have Fibromylgia and I don’t have a problem walking 5 more feet to get into a store. I have lots of ills with Fibro and CFS and chronic pain but my legs still work fine. The handicapped spots are for people that can’t walk or are on walkers or in wheelchairs. It makes me mad when I bring my 91 year old client to the store and have to drop her off at the door because there are no more handicapped spots left. She uses the motorized scooter in the stores or her walker if she can’t get one. Then to see some kid park the cart and get out and walk out to his car parked in a handicapped spot without so much as a limp. If you can walk then you don’t need to be using a motorized cart or a handicapped spot. Your invisable illness is called “laziness”. Walking around the store is good exercise for us. Someday If I can’t walk I wonder if there will be any available spots for me?

  • jreamlover

    I am 34, thin and everyone tells me I look like I am 21. So when I pull into a handicap spot I get the nastiest of looks. I have even had people curse me out and or complain to store management and even one time called the police to try to give me a ticket. People look at me and just think I am lazy. Little do they know for 18 months i was in a wheelchair and couldnt walk. Now I have Lupus and ehler danlos syndrome where just turning in bed I can dislocate a joint let alone walking….I also get evil looks when I ride in the motorized carts at walmart

  • Nancy

    I have the same problem. I am 57 and look healthy, but have Caude Equine Syndrome. A spinal cord injury from crushed nerves leaving me with so many different pain and muscles that don’t work right or not at all. I have worked hard to keep my body working as best as I can. Walking can be hard, my ankle reflexes are gone and at time my feet don’t want to move. I get the look when I roll up in my car to park.

  • lynn cooper

    Deb, i have the same reaction here ib the UK, if they only knew how much effort it took to even go out of the house they may be a bit more understanding, but i doubt it!! lynn cooper