Today my updated “Virginia Permanent Disabled Parking Placard” arrived in the mail. This is the update from the original that I begrudgingly ordered 5 years ago. I remember being so mad that I “had” to get this very visible sign of my invisible disease. It just seemed like both a personal affront and an admission of epic proportion at the time. I had put it off as long as I could. My doctor had suggested it to me when I told him that my fatigue was making my job more difficult. At that time, I was a marketing rep for a physical therapy company which meant that I drove all over the place and met with doctors and their staffs. It meant a lot of walking, and oftentimes parking a good distance from the office I was going in to. My doctor tried to explain to me that this would help me conserve energy and that I needed to think in those terms now. I always liked to park quite a distance from where I was going, just to get the exercise. I also always took the steps instead of the elevator for the same reason. These “healthy habits” were eating into my limited daily allotted energy. Just parking closer could actually keep me going longer. It could allow me to keep my job and better utilize my energy. And so I “accepted it” (sort of). I only used it when I was having a really bad day. I wanted to leave those parking spots open for people who had real issues.
And so it goes – things progress and I’ve learned to accept my placard as a gift (a necessary evil, yes, but also a gift). I still downplay my need for it. I use it only when I’m having a bad day, though those seem to be more frequent now then 5 years ago. I blame the aging process for some of my need for this “help” as well. Anything but give MS a win. I realize that there is power in acceptance, and how much “digging in your heels” can zap your energy. So – I accept and appreciate my little blue hanging tag for my windshield. I’m still upright, I’m still driving, I’m still kicking MS’s ass – and intend to do so for a very long time. Using something like a placard can actually help make that plan a reality. Indignity be damned. I’ll embrace it, use it and thrive, in part, because of it! Are there any “helpful devices” that you’ve been slow to embrace (perhaps due to pride)? Please share your experiences in the comment section below this post.