"Minor" disabilities and the sheer impatience of others!
March 5, 2007 9:32am CST
My first attempt at starting a discussion! I've had severe scoliosis (a curvature of the spine) since I was born and because of the pressure the curve put on my lungs, I now have around 30% of the lung capacity I should have. This doesn't affect many areas of my life, I study, hold down a job, and it doesn't restrict me from doing anything, (unless I suddenly decide I want to be an astronaut), but it certainly affects my stamina. I can't walk as far as everyone else without stopping for a rest, I sometimes can't quite keep up to the pace of the rest of a group I'm walking somewhere with, but most of the time this doesn't matter. I can steer people towards shop windows and stop for a look, things like that. As a child, I had several friends in school who knew all about the scoliosis etc. We would go out shopping together and things, but I was always made to feel like I was slowing them down, and if I asked them to stop they would do so, but with quite an obvious grudge. Pretty soon, they simply stopped inviting me anywhere, and stopped accepting my invitations out, needless to say we have drifted apart and I don't have anything to do with them anymore. I always assumed that they were being childish, that it was naivity and blissful ignorance that made them act in such a way, however I was surprised upon making good friends with a large group of people at university, to get a similar response from a large number of adults too. Case in point: We live rather near the theme park Alton Towers, and I and many others enjoy rollercoasters, so when the park is open we make an effort to visit at least a few times during the season. I have learned from experience however, and now I know not to even express an interest in a trip there unless my partner or one of three other close friends is also going. If I go without one of these four people, I can guarentee I will be unable to keep up with a group of 22-25 year-olds bouyed up with excitement about fast rides, and I'll be left somewhere, to spend the day alone without any apologies made other than "well you know what I'm like at theme parks", as if it's my fault for going in the first place. Naturally, everyone when faced with taking sides, goes with those whom they will be able to get the most value for money out of the day with, i.e. the people who will run from ride to ride to go on as many times as possible. This even happens when they encourage me to go along, or personally invite me, as opposed to making it an open invite. I often wonder if anyone else has experienced behaviour like this from adults they consider friends, or if I am being unreasonable in expecting people, if they invite me somewhere, to realise they will have to move at my pace a little, and that I'll try my best not to slow them down too much. My apologies for the lengthly explanation!
• United States
5 Mar 07
Let me say that I empathize with you. I have asthma that use to be severe and is now mild. It doesn't affect my life as much as it used to. I even bike, hike, and work out in a gym. But, I have reduced lung capacity like you do, so I'm never going to be an athlete. I used to belong to a biking group. I can ride at a good clip, but not at a racing speed. So, I would go on "social" rides that aren't supposed to go very fast. Soon, everyone is gone as they just take off and leave me alone. So, what's the point of joining this group if I'm going to be riding alone anyway? People who have never had breathing problems have absolutely no idea how hard it is.