I’ve become pretty good at hiding the fact I’m disabled and handicapped. I do a lot to live actively and push myself to stay intellectually stimulated and involved in my community.
But sometimes, my body betrays me and I am unable to perform basic tasks. I had one such incident this week, when I tried to fill out a form at a local government agency office and was told my handwriting was illegible and a new form was given to me to complete.
My frustration and embarrassment grew logarithmically as I was unable to make the clerk understand that I can’t write legibly because a stroke wiped out the fine coordination in my left hand.
I eventually played the American s With Disabilities Act (ADA) trump card and asked for assistance in filling out the form. the clerk looked at me and told me to “use my right hand because there was no one in the office who could help me.”
I came pretty close to going postal, but regained my composure and left the office.
This isn’t the first, second or third time this has happened to me since my stroke. And one of the strategies around this problem-- other than getting in an officious clerk's face and demanding the immediate presence of the regional office director is to use a proven technology. if i even suspect any office isn’t prepared to help someone who is handicapped and lacks the coordination to fill out forms “correctly” using their dominant hand, my solution is to load my beloved hermes 9000 portable
typewriter into my car and take it to the appointment.
Most often, the appearance of the typewriter on the workspace in front of a clerk’s window get’s their attention, SO does the 100 disabled notice on my VA health Identification card.
But I still get annoyed when a government agency clerk refuses to help a disabled person fill out any form.
What I don’t do is let PTSD take root and escalate any situation.
but I do get annoyed that the heel and souls of my left shoe wearout within six months. but hey, I’m above ground despite the effects of Agent Orange exposure, several heart attacks, and a clogged stent that released plaque that lodged in my lower right brin and ended my much loved professional life.
One of the best things about my life today is that I’m able and enjoy to take the time to drive 500 miles to Sacramento, CA to attend a lecture series on California history. And I use my laptop to take notes very effectively, thank you. jim forbes on 06/21/201