Disabled parking permit harassment

Parking with Disabilites

 I have written about this before but I think it’s a good time for a refresher. All too often I see things from the disabled community about how a local “hero” has left a note shunning them for not being disabled and parking in a disabled spot; or, they even go a step further and resort to verbal harassment (like one of my experiences here). Let’s get this out of the way: I know the sign has a wheelchair on it but that, in no way, represents the entire disabled community. Many disabilities, mine included, are not visible (minus the apparent drunken stupor that MS has gifted me). So I thought I would share what actually qualifies a person for a disabled parking pass in Washington state. You might be surprised.

Who is eligible?

Washington State Disabled Parking qualifications:
  • Can’t walk 200 ft without stopping
  • Walking is limited by arthritis, neurological or orthopedic condition
  • Can’t walk without the use of or assistance from a brace, cane, another person, prosthetic device, wheelchair, or other assistive device
  • You use portable oxygen
  • You’re restricted by lung disease
  • You’re impaired by cardiovascular disease or cardiac condition
  • You have a disability resulting from an acute sensitivity to automobile emissions which limits or impairs your ability to walk
  • You’re legally blind and have limited mobility
  • You have acute sensitivity to light associated with a form of porphyria that would significantly benefit from a decrease in exposure to light

(source)

Disabilities manifest in so many different ways that it’s nearly impossible to determine whether someone is or isn’t disabled by just looking at them. You can’t know a person’s medical or history or physical abilities by simply looking at them; it doesn’t matter how young or old someone looks, what they dress like, or whether they can walk without assistive devices. Rest assured, a qualified doctor is required to sign off on the application for a disabled placard or license plate, and the placard or license plate themselves are issued by the Department of Licensing.

Still think they are faking it?

So what should you do if you suspect a fraudulent disabled parker? Report it to the local police. Yes, call 911 to report them. Please do not yell, comment, leave nasty notes for us, or otherwise harass us. We are required to carry documentation for our pass, but we only have to furnish it to police.

As frustrating as it can be not having access to a disabled parking spot, it is much worse to be judged and side-eyed for using it. I guess what i’m getting at is: please don’t harass others in the name of sticking up for me. In my experience, you end up harming more than you’re helping.

If you do want to do something constructive for the community, shoot us a smile every once in awhile. You might be surprised…we don’t get them often.

 

Adventure: Orcas Isalnd

Meg was lucky enough to score another assisting gig up in the San Juan Islands, and this time there was enough time and space for me and Tuck to tag along (thanks to Catherine and Michael Abegg for giving us the room to stay in!). The weekend was absolutely amazing, even though I managed to sprain my foot just mere hours before our ferry home. Hey, at least it was after all the fun stuff, right?

Wheels and Red getting on Anacortes ferry to san juans. Multiple Sclerosis

Anacortes WA, Ferry Terminal

Wheels and red driving around orcas Island WA

driving to rosario resort on orcas island WA

The roads though the island felt so magical.

Wheels and red disabled adventure at rosario resort Orcas island WA

The first night at the resort did not disappoint. Meg had to work the next day so we spent the evening checking out Rosario.

Disabled adventurers on orcas island wheels and red

 

Brown Bear Baking making delicious treats for wheels and red.

The line out the door of Brown Bear Baking says it all. They make straight magic back there.

Wheels and red at the eastsound farmers market

Lunch wasn’t far behind. Wood fired pizza, no contest.

Rosario resort marina Orcas Island WA

While Meg worked, Tucker and I spent the day checking out the resort. This was the spot to watch the sea-planes come in.

Artsy peep hole shot? Why not.

On Sunday we had the entire day to explore the island. We started with Moran State Park.

I love that these guys are down for whatever. Great co-pilots!

The old fire watch tower at the top of Mount Constitution. The best part of it is you can drive all the way to the top. A big plus for the mobility impaired like myself.

Bullet hole from the historic San Juan Island gang wars. Kidding.

wheels and red at Doe bay Orcas Island washington

When you’re in the San Juan Islands you can feel how special of a place it is. I know we are all excited to get back up there for even more adventuring. But for now, I’ll admit I missed the comfort of my own bed.

The Mike Herrera Hour, a punk rock talk radio podcast.

The Mike Herrera Hour

Mike Herrera and Kellen Prouse, a Multiple Sclerosis blogger, pose for a podcast photo.

I have been a huge fan of Mike Herrera since way back…1996 way back. Mike is the lead singer of MXPX and Tumbledown. He is a talented musician and producer that also runs Monkey Trench Studios. For MS Awareness month I was lucky enough to sit down and talk with Mike on his podcast, The Mike Herrera Hour. We chatted about MS, MMJ and all around bettering yourself with the internet.

It’s not everyday you get to chat with your teenage self’s punk rock hero; a big thanks to Mike for giving me this opportunity. Check it out!

cover170x170

itunes_logo

man with top and derby cane in the PNW

When you gotta go

Where’s the restroom?

There are so many symptoms with MS, that a bunch of them often get glanced over. The one that has been the most active for me lately is incontinence. The opposite of constipation, incontinence is where your bladder is going to empty NOW; with as little notice as possible. I never thought that at 31, I would be like my grandmother and know where every bathroom in the county is. It can be super frustrating when out of nowhere, you have to go. Basically, my bladder’s alarm doesn’t go off early enough.

Bowel and bladder problems are no stranger to the MS community. In my many years of talking with all sorts of folks diagnosed with MS, so many have shared my struggle. There is a special bond created when openly telling someone that you — a grown-ass, bill paying adult — has pissed your pants. Most likely in public. And they understand…because they have, too.  

Needless to say, hitting the road can be tricky; but we love to adventure so we make it work. My solution? An empty gallon jug in the car at all times. When it’s time to go, it’s time to go. There is no planning or waiting for the next gas station. 

To those who experience this: you are not alone. I, myself have pissed my pants walking down the sidewalk in Seattle; on the way to a doctors appointment, ironically. As embarrassing as that was (pee smells, folks), it almost feels worse when it happens at home. Ever had to drop a log in a dark gravel parking lot on Halloween? Yeah, me neither…*ahem*. I can guarantee these won’t be my only bathroom fail stories, and when I tell them I wear them like a badge of honor. The plus side is, I can go just about anywhere. 

I bet there’s a long list of medications that help with this sort of thing, but at what trade off? I would rather just work with what I’ve got…unless they produce something with side effects that make everything taste like pizza. Incontinence issues are just a small piece of the MS puzzle, but when you add them together it can be daunting. These are just a few on the so-called “invisible symptoms”. They just happen to be invisible because they are embarrassing as hell. 

IMG_5847

The Ink Master

October 23, 2013

I was scrolling through my twitter feed when I saw that Oliver Peck was in town hangin’ with his buddy Mike Herrera. I totally sent him a fan girl tweet about being in my hometown.

I was stoked when he invited me to join them at one of the rad local bars. My awesome wife said “What are you waiting for? Go meet Oliver Peck!”.

IMG_1885

It was easy to find him, being that he was surrounded by all the local tattoo artists. I thought I was a fan girl.

Finally got my photo.

selfie with Oliver Peck in the Manette Saloon Bremerton Washington

Just an average Wednesday night chillin with @OLIVER_PECKer

 

It was Open Mic Night, so he had to get up and sing some Tom Petty.

Jack Parker and Oliver Peck

Not a bad for a regular ass Wednesday in October.

 

 

Beach with the pups

The pups and I headed down to our neighborhood beach front the other day and had some fun playing fetch. Mollie is all about that water…as long as it ain’t in a bathtub.border collie and Boston Terrier sitting on PNW beach

When i’m at the beach I can’t help but look around for some treasure. All I found was a blue hardhat and a non working flashlight. Not too shabby.

They have been updating and replacing the docks at the Brownsville Marina for the last few months so I’m guessing the hardhat and light are from there. Not a typical beach find but hey i’ll take it!

Them views.

I spotted this little guy when I was packing up to leave. I did have to poke it…for science. It was indeed dead. All in all a pretty sweet trip to the beach.

Learning to fly

I’m fighting a wicked battle of blogger’s block, so forgive me for slacking off recently. Can I claim procrastination as an MS symptom?! Life has been full to the brim; full of awesome things…and a few not so awesome things. The awesomest of all, Meg left her job at mywedding.com! It’s been a long time coming, but she can now focus on her photography full time. Since then this house has been so full of laughter and creativity. Just the way we like it.

On the other end of the awesome scale, there was a septic backup *and* my first root canal on the same day. Yeah, real fun. Those weren’t so bad as when the gravity of my first Tysabri infusion finally sank in. The infusion itself wasn’t that bad, but the allergic reaction I had made for a pretty stressful experience. Mixing my allergic reaction with the risk of getting an incurable brain infection made me reconsider whether this is something I truly want to do. And for now at least, it’s not. I have decided not to continue treatment. After digging into the research, I’m not satisfied with the numbers; so I’m not accepting the risk for big pharma. This means that for the first time since my diagnosis I will be off all disease modifying therapies for MS. Not to worry though, because I live a healthier life than ever before. Plus, I have all I need: the support of my best friend.

When I step back and look at the big picture, I love where I’m at. So many things that once started out shitty ended up leading to pretty awesome things. So for now we are letting go of the norm and learning to fly. Life is good.

County Fair 

With summer coming to an end what better way to celebrate than with the county fair. As of late my hands are not cooperating so we are going to have a photo adventure today.  Check out our day at the Kitsap County Fair.


  


  

  

  

I am working on a new way to keep you all updated on the adventures of Wheels & Red. Don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss the first video blog on This will probably get interesting…

 

-wheels

GENETIC PREDISPOSITION

“Some researchers theorize that MS develops because a person is born with a genetic predisposition to react to some environmental agent that, upon exposure, triggers an immune-mediated response.” – National MS Society

William (Bill) Kalbach Jones was my great grandfather and he had Multiple Sclerosis. He was a civilian working in the Puget Sound Navel Shipyard as an Aeronautics Allowance Specialist. After my grandmother passed away we found a folder of letters he had written. The letters were years of personal correspondence from Bill to his colleague Elwood. Elwood was a Captain in the United States Navy stationed on the East coast. The letters start in 1953 and continue through 1959. They wrote as often as they could although there are plenty of gaps.

Bill spent most of his time talking shop. He loved his job and he was really good at it. There was plenty of drama in the 1950’s. Scattered through the letters are paragraphs about his waining health and his chatty teenage daughter(my grandmother). It’s hard to believe I can read through his account of MS. His case was very progressive. He used a wheelchair and typed every letter with the index finger on his left hand. That is some serious hunting and pecking.

He tried every treatment that offered any hope of slowing the progression. Starting with the standard treatments then moved to experimental ones and finally ending with religion. He didn’t talk about MS all that often, he never wanted to complain. He was a tough S.O.B. that did what he could to live a happy life with his family.

It’s hard to describe what these letters mean to me. One day I hope to put together a book of these letters to share with others.

letters2.1 letters3.1 letters4.1

But I am not going to rest in any such possibilities now in respect to my own effort to lick this health problem of mine. To slack off now would mean a measure of defeat in fighting my way. I guide my everyday action not by what I think I can do but what must be done. Just going up the stairs to bed every night is a tough bit of work, yet I do it. Sure it’s difficult , but if you do it because it must be done and forget how hard it is, it usually gets done. It is like working each day. I could develop a genuine aversion to it and get a medical retirement easily — but who would pay the grocery bill? I work every day not because i can force myself to overcome the obstacles  of ill health — what’s that anyway? — but because I must work so I can eat.

William K. Jones April 13th 1955
letters1.1

photos from Meghann Prouse Indie Photographer’s  5 minute project.

Don’t miss an adventure, make sure to subscribe.