Disabled Parking Placards and Other Indignities


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.

11 thoughts on “Disabled Parking Placards and Other Indignities”

  1. Thanks for sharing. I’ve had my blue placard for about 8 years. Like you I use only when absolutely necessary. Few encountered downsides being other folks giving stares. And once I was parked in a spot. So very tired. My mother went into drugstore to get my meds. I forgot to hang plaque and the actual “placard police” approached me clipboard in hand. All to ready to write me a ticket. But I apologized and immediately hung my card on mirror. He was not very pleased he didn’t get to write his ticket. That stuff stays with with you. IDK what to call how I felt. Disease shamed? Card is necessary. Another thing we have to educate others about. So, FUMS! Thank you Kathy.

  2. I have had my placard for many years as I was diagnosed in 1999. I have rarely used it even though it has been very needed! I feel like there is somebody who needs the space more than me! Othere tell me that I look so good! People do not understand nor do they know that MS has taken my profession as a RN which I so loved

    1. I’m so sorry that you lost your nursing career to MS. I’m very glad that you’re a part of our FUMS community, though. I, too, rarely use my placard – but on those days that I really need it – especially the hot, humid ones when the fatigue is kicking my butt, I’m awfully glad to have it! #FUMS

  3. Thanks for sharing. I keep a little spray bottle in my handbag of water that I spritz when it gets hot. When I remember I chill it in the fridge. It’s only the size of a lipstick, and cost $2 at a cheapie shop.

  4. I cried when I got my parking pass. It was a visible sign of my invisible disability. Did not use it for a while and only occasionally use it now but at times I am very grateful to have it. Funny how I feel the need to limp or look more disabled when I do use it!
    I have a cane that has sat in my closet for months. I now take it to the mall (it is collapsible) “just in case” but have yet to use it. Instead I find my self leaving the mall early or having a 30 minute sit down when the muscle fatigue kicks in. Pride, not wanting to “give in” ? I know that one day I will not have the option.

  5. I just sent in paperwork for my permanent parking pass. This was a difficult step to take and realization that my life is changing. My plan is to not use it unless I am really having a bad day while out and about. I know it will good to have. I can’t believe this is happening to me at 63. My father didn’t get his parking pass until he was 90.

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