jump to navigation

And People Feel Sorry For Me… – Belinda Rodin January 8, 2010

Posted by jewishdisabilityunite in The Lighter Side of Disability.
add a comment

Back at Succos, I was approached about being involved in this website. Excitedly, my thoughts immediately went to a blog – the lighter side of disability. I mean everything has a lighter side, doesn’t it? I remember when I first became disabled, my then husband asked me how I could smile and laugh when our life was falling apart. Well I say how could I not? Life is for the living, there’s nothing so bad that can’t be made better with a smile! Anyway, so I suggested this blog, with funny anecdotes and ironic stories swimming round my head. So why is it that I’m now looking at an empty computer screen …?

 One of my friends came over the other day and we set to work clearing out my wardrobe. Now when I say we, I actually mean that she did the work and I merely directed from the comfort of my bed! Who says there’s no benefit to being disabled – you never really need to get your hands dirty, someone will always do it for you! One of my carers calls it ‘playing the disabled card’.

 I recently found out that in M&S and Boots (and I’m sure in other shops) not only are disabled people allowed to jump the queue, we’re actually supposed to. A couple of weeks ago, after queuing for what seemed like hours, I was told off by a cashier for waiting in line! Is this political correctness gone mad or should we just collect the benefits when we find them?

 Anyway, back to my wardrobe. I’m just like any other self-respecting thirty something, by which I mean I’ve got lots of clothes and even more shoes. I might not get out much and yes I spend a lot of time in bed, but a girl’s got to have options! Nevertheless, even I know that when the cupboard doesn’t close and my shoes are making a bid for freedom, it’s time to call in the cavalry. Well it was while I was sorting out some shoes for the Charity Shop, that we came across a pair of black flats in seemingly pristine condition. My friend wondered why I would be giving away brand new shoes; chesed is one thing but this seemed a step too far. In fact my shoes were 5 years old, along with many of the other shiny footwear in my cupboard. Have you got it yet, another advantage of being in a wheelchair – your shoes are eternally new! Another thing, no need to worry about tznius, nobody will know there’s a huge slit all the way up your leg. If your skirt doesn’t do up, who cares when the zip can’t actually be seen and nor can the rip or the dirty mark. And people feel sorry for me!

 I live in a non-Jewish Nursing Home, which is about 30 mins drive away from Jewish life. This I’m sure you can imagine is not an easy feat for an orthodox 32 year old with all her marbles intact. Unless I have company, Shabbos and Yom Tov is usually the antithesis of what I would hope and so I have a heter to travel. Last Shabbos, I was supposed to have lunch with my rabbi, along with about 10 of my friends. It was being planned for weeks, when I go out everything is always a big production. The day came, snow and ice aside I was determined to go and have a good time. Wrapping up warm, it seems that although I was ready to brave the cold our clapped out van wasn’t. No amount of cajoling could get the lift to work and my friends were left waiting (and waiting and waiting) for their guest of honour. As one friend put it ‘it was like having a birthday party without the birthday girl’! Let’s look on the bright side – my alterative Shabbos lunch of soup and ryvita certainly doesn’t pile on the pounds as much as challah and cholent!

 Well that’s about it for now. Until the next time, remember to keep smiling – even if it’s sometimes through gritted teeth!