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.

 

I Like Canes

I have shown you one of my canes already but I have another favorite. Yup, I have multiple assistive devices. You don’t wear the same shirt everyday, why would I rock the same cane.

I am lucky to have such a talented wife to photograph this journey we are on. I asked her to take some photos of me with my new Sabi Classic cane, of course she said yes, she’s cool like that. We headed down the street to a small park just above the marina to goof around.

I really like the look of my new cane, plus the feel of it makes it an all around badass walking stick. The hook handle feels really natural in my hand, and it’s super useful for grabbing things. I have enjoyed trying to find other uses for the cool handle.

The rubber used in the tip is really bouncy and super grippy. This thing also has almost no weight to it, it almost glides in the hand while you’re walking.


Let me just show you how cool this thing is.

Young man standing with black sabi classic cane looking over water man walking with black sabi classic cane

sabi classic wood handle

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My friend Liz also rocks a Sabi cane — check out her blog at The Girl With The Purple Cane.

Have a look at all the Sabi products at Sabi.com

Big thanks to my rad wife for taking these photos, Meghann Prouse Indie Photographer.

-wheels

Through my eyes

– Optic Neuritis –

For a lot of people Optic Neuritis is their intro to MS.  Eye pain, loss of color and blurry vision.  What happens is the Optic Nerve gets inflamed, and the inflammation prevents the nerves from transmitting the visual information to the brain.  The closest thing I have found to describe it is that feeling after you look directly into a bright light or camera flash.

An example of vision with Optic Neuritis, a vision impairment common among patients with Multiple Sclerosis.

 

The image of the deer is pretty close to what my left eye does.  It’s something that’s always there, although the severity goes up and down. I have almost gotten used to it at this point. I do however clean my glasses a ton thinking my lens is smudged. Sometimes I end up focusing on the “smudge” so intently, that I suddenly realize people think I’m staring at them. Awwwkward…

Are you having eye issues? The good news is, if you have some symptoms of ON you can get it checked out at your regular ol’ eye doctor. No need for a Neurologist, Specialist or Ocular Shaman.

This could be classified as a symptom of MS that you can actually see. Well, at least, the person who has it can see it.  Did I just write a MS joke?  It needs some work, but it’s a start.

.-wheels

Photos by Meghann Prouse Indie Photographer 

 

 

Injection and supplies for ms medication

Pins and Needles, and Needles

There are many different DMTs (Disease Modifying Therapies) for Multiple Sclerosis. I am currently on one that I inject 3 times a week, much better than the daily version I was previously on. The injection is subcutaneous, meaning I inject it just under the skin, similar to a diabetic injecting insulin. Not bad when you compare it to the first meds I was on that had to be injected weekly into the muscle (Intramuscular).

I inject myself in the hopes that it will slow the progression of my MS. Even though I take my medication I still gain new lesions. It’s tough to say how many more I would get without it.

My talented wife has asked to document my journey with MS. Together we will be sharing our ups and downs along the way. It was only fitting to start with my injections. So I sat on the couch; sweat pants, belly rolls and all.

If seeing needles are not your thing, feel free to close this window.

This is my life with MS.

man setting up ms medication injection Injection and supplies for ms medicationlifestyle photo of man looking at injectable medication

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All of the beautiful images were taken Meghann Prouse Indie Photographer. Check this rad chick out at www.photomegs.com

-kp

The Girl with the Purple Cane

Meet Liz Jackson. She is an amazing person who has a neurological disability similar to MS. Liz lives in NYC and is breaking down the stigma of using assistive devices. She rocks a cane and rides a bike. She is The Girl with the Purple Cane.

lady dressed like forrest gump sitting on bench with cane and suitcase

Photo:Hanna Agar

 

I found her when I was learning about this rad company named Top & Derby who make kick ass canes. She was on the front page sitting on a bench with her T&D cane.

Not long after seeing her Forrest Gump inspired photo I decided to reach out to Liz and say “Lets be friends”. I put it all out there, and her reply mirrored my excitement. Since then we have talked non-stop.

I have learned so much about her already. One thing that was clear from the very first email was her passion. Liz puts her heart into everything she does. She started a grassroots movement to breakdown the stigma of assistive devices.

#YesJCrewCane is her way of doing just that. Liz is working very hard to get mainstream retailers like J. Crew to sell canes. They already sell some assistive devices but not others. Did you know that glasses are an assistive device? Let’s make canes cool too.

Please support the movement of inclusion. Go to Change.org and sign the #YesJCrewCane petition, it only takes a moment.

Follow Liz through this journey at TheGirlWithThePurpleCane.com

Making friends like Liz is whats it’s all about. So many great things to come!

-Wheels

 

washington beach on straight of jaun de fuca

Trek to Cape Flattery

We had a free weekend last summer and we decided to make the trek to Cape Flattery Washington. You can’t get anymore Northwest in the lower 48 than Cape Flattery.

The drive up there is beautiful. Minus the super windy road that made the dog upchuck. Still worth it.

So many cool spots to hit on the way there. This spot is right before mile marker 40 on Hwy 112. The Straight of Juan De Fuca Hwy is one of the most beautiful drives in Washington State.

 

guy in car with dogs in backseat

Pulled off in downtown Neah Bay. Almost to Capy Flattery

You need to stop at the local store to pick up a Makah Recreation Pass so you can park at the Cape Flattery Trailhead.  It only sets you back ten bucks and is good for a year.

BOOM! Cape Flattery.

The trail down to the lookout is well maintained. There were plenty of places to sit and have a rest along the way. Not a bad trail with a cane or walking stick.

Motion in the ocean.

On the way home we looked for a sweet place to catch the sunset. Pillar Point Recreation Area was perfect.

Family selfie on boat ramp pillar point washington

Getting our nerd on.

 

Pillar Point washington Scion xB at sunset

“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” – Andre Gide

The long day was well worth the good times and the great views.

Load up your favorite playlist and hit the road.

 

Rad Short Films from Shift.ms

A few years ago the awesome people over at Shift.ms put together a couple of really amazing short films about life with MS.  These are some of my favorite videos related to the struggles of MS. It can be hard to explain MS, how it feels or even the fears that come with not knowing what’s next. Shift.ms really nailed it. The production is amazing; from the cinematography to the sound design and music.

 

‘Circle of Truth’, directed by David Allain and written by Matthew Edmonds, explores some of the challenges that people with MS face when deciding whether or not to disclose their diagnosis to their colleagues.

 

 

‘Gallop’ was created to help better convey the impact of a diagnosis with MS, the most common neurological condition affecting young adults. It uses narrative to explore the life-changing event of diagnosis through a compelling love story rather than solely focusing on the disease.

 

Learn more about Shift.ms

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

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
letters
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.

http://www.dol.wa.gov/vehicleregistration/parkingreqs.html

Original article here.