Here is a special little gem I wrote after getting harassed by a community watchdog while legitimately parking in a handicap spot. In her defense it was for my own good.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR | A refresher course in manners
4:12 PM, Nov 29, 2012
Kellen Prouse, Bremerton
A refresher course in manners
“You don’t look very handicapped to me!” she yelled in a condescending tone. Her mind was made up before I even got out of the car. As soon as she saw my cane, the older lady continued with “Oh good, I’m glad that you are,” and without remorse explained that she does this all the time … and it’s for my own good.
Looking disabled has nothing to do with being disabled. I’m 27 and have severe Multiple Sclerosis. I’ve had my handicap-parking permit for 2 years. I have tattoos and piercings, but I’m also a loving father and husband and I support my community. Multiple Sclerosis has left me blind and paralyzed at times. Some days are better than others; on the really good days I might be able to go without my cane. I am constantly fighting double vision and the fatigue and weakness are always there.
I’m not old, my appearance isn’t conventional, and without my cane you might not know I’m disabled. It’s not easy to come to terms with my disease, and being judged and harassed by others makes it all the more painful. My point is this: you don’t know the struggles others are going through based on their looks alone. Be kind and think before you speak, or you may just do more harm than good.
Have you ever wondered what the requirements are for a disabled parking permit? You might be surprised at how many you can’t physically see. Check out the Washington State DOL for the entire list, if you’re curious.
Getting up in the morning without power seems like it wouldn’t be such a big deal…until you realize your electric kettle is useless. So what exactly is one to do in this situation? Bust out a sauce pan full of water, 3 slices of bread and fire up the propane grill, of course. I don’t know why we haven’t been doing this every morning. (Disclaimer: if you decide to do this please remember to leave the grill outside). How did it turn out? The bread was really good. The water……eh. It was a tad off, but fulfilled the morning ritual.
After the power being out for 10 hours we had to start thinking about the fridge. The fridge is not only home of the food we eat, but it’s also home to my MS medication. A single box of syringes costs over $4k, and Medicare doesn’t jump to replace them. Time to pull out the coolers and ice the important things. So off we went to get ice from the corner store and more importantly, a real cup of tea from Scout Cafe and Honor Bar. We highly recommend this place.
We got home just in time to watch the tree service dudes remove the tree that had been suspended by the power lines. With the last little bit of daylight we prepped the house for the impending darkness. We collected all the candles and flashlights and we rearranged the living room so we could bundle up and sleep around the fire. Time to think about dinner. This was an easy (but not so healthy) choice…Pizza!
With darkness upon us, our bellies full, and our phones charged from driving around in the car, we settled in. What is there to do when the power is out? Play card games! One of our very favorites is Uno. It can get pretty heated in the Prouse House when the Uno cards are out. After a few games we switched to a goofy card game called “Would You Rather…?”. This game is great. Example: “Would you rather, eat through your belly button or poop through it?”
After games we all passed out huddled around the fire. The power came on sometime after midnight but that wasn’t going to stop this living room campout. Sometimes it’s the little things that make the adventure.
What awesome things do you like to do when the power is out?
I am so stoked to get Wheels & Red up and going. It’s where I am going to write about my adventures in life with MS. It will be our Adventure Log. What can you expect from this? Everything. We sometimes forget that we have this really cool thing in common: we are all human. We all share this amazing planet with one another.
I didn’t start Wheels & Red just to share our story. It’s also to help spread awareness and education about MS. I love talking to people, all people. Seems like everyone I talk to knows someone battling MS. The older I get the more I realize that making money isn’t everything. Life is about doing the things that make you happy, because they make you happy. I’m always inspired to see people doing what they love. That’s why I will be sharing conversations with other rad people we meet along the way. I want you to know that life can be anything you want it to be.
If our journey gives you the warm fuzzies and you feel so obliged to throw a little monetary support our way, you can do that here: Creations. We’re also happy to receive your good vibes, high fives and friendly comments or messages.
Thank you all for your love and support. My family and friends rock! I’m excited to share Wheels & Red with you!