Disabled

Neil Remington Abramson commented as follows:

There is a new condition in my life. I have become disabled! It’s very mild, really, compared to other disabilities. It’s the fear that’s the worst, that if the condition worsens more, and it is, I could become really disabled and things would spin out of my control. I guess it’s the fear of being rendered helpless, and becoming a burden on others, that causes the concerns..

It’s my eyesight. Cataracts. The disability is that I am best not to drive at night, particularly in the rain. And here in Vancouver, it’s usually raining. So I need surgery and I hear informally the success rate is 97% so there is only a 3% chance I couldn’t ever drive again, would have to immediately retire, and move somewhere closer to transit. My doctor says, however, that if I ignore it or avoid it, I am close to losing my driving license anyway. And that would have the same results since work is a 50km commute, and good transit a 20km commute.

This happened to my mother in her early 70s and the operation solved the problem. A number of my friends have volunteered the same result in their respective cases, including one who was only 35 the time it happened. If not for him, I’d have said the underlying problem was flirting with old age.

It’s strange and unsettling to have a disability. I have to tell colleagues I can’t make late afternoon meetings because it isn’t safe for me to drive home past sundown. I’ve done it. It’s scary, even with my new hjigh intensity headlights,. At night, my wife has to drive me. If it became a permanent condition, the fear would coalesce into resignation and despair. I could no longer be the person I intend to be, and have been. I would no longer be the “me” I have been the last 46 years, driving cars. It feels like I would have become a stranger to myself, without feeling any different inside.

Imagine being disabled all your life – marked out as different, abnormal, less capable even by do-gooders, let alone the heartless who have no empathy or consideration. It makes me think – have I been one of those whom I now dread the thought of being marked by? I think I have not been; mostly have not been; generally have not been; hopefully have not been.

It’s wonderful how becoming the victim shows a person how he might have been the harm-doer. And I guess I have a 97% chance of becoming a more sensitive and caring person, if I can later remember how I’m feeling now.

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About brucelarochelle

Practising Lawyer and Part-Time University Instructor (Accounting, Commercial Law, Organizational Behaviour); Part-Time Federal Tribunal Member. Non-practising Chartered Professional Accountant (Chartered Accountant and Certified Management Accountant).
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