Three handicap parking passes. The center pass has the wheelchair drawn in dotted lines to indicate invisibility of a disability

PRETTY LADY CHRONICLES: Invisible Disability Chronicle #1,000,000

This hasn't been Invisible Disability Chronicle #1,000,000; however, the weight, trauma, and anxiety of these types of chronicles sure feel like it at times. One of the hardest parts of living with an invisible disability is that most times no one can see what you're going through. Add the lack of compassion and understanding mixed with entitlement, and the plot thickens. This PLC is no different.

Personal bias

A personal bias led a complete stranger to refuse my use in an open and public parking lot. This individual was possibly empowered as a patient service representative seeking to advocate for their own patient's needs. Just being aware of another's physical impairment that may be seen or unseen could bring out the armor of protection in any of us.

Unfortunately, there are others with no armor, advocates, or defenders. Instead, many are often judged due to physical impairments caused by invisible disabilities. I have been one of those many. It's past time to open this conversation and to make my voice heard.

Backstory

To clarify, here's the backstory. I visited a local office for routine healthcare services. Upon arrival, the only available parking was an opening near the front of a neighboring; and adjacent medical facility in this same plaza.

Disabling chronic illness

This open space does not have any signs advising no parking, fire lane; nor is it designated for handicapped parking. Additionally, I did possess the No EXP (no expiration) handicap placard I have been assigned for my personal use due to my heart failure diagnosis; which is considered a disabling chronic illness.

I parked my vehicle at an angle; in alignment and in the direction of the other vehicles. I then exited my vehicle. I proceeded inside for my appointment.

Hard to believe

While waiting to check in at the kiosk, the patient services representative from the adjacent company entered the building. They began asking if anyone knew who the silver vehicle belonged to. At this time we were no more than five (5) feet apart. Both businesses have full glass fronts, so it was hard to believe they did not know I was the individual they were inquiring about.

A stunned look

I confirmed that I was the driver, and checking in. They then stated they had a patient scheduled to arrive. Still trying to check in I was confused. I asked them to repeat what they were saying. Again stating they had a patient scheduled, and their physical therapy patients needed to park closer. I again told them that I was checking in and would be right out. Consequently, I received a look as though they were stunned I was not moving immediately.

The only concern

The only concern was the needs of their physically impaired patient, and their ability to use the space I was parked in. There was no concern that my vehicle was blocking access to the sidewalk or entrance (which it was not). There was no concern that I was parked illegally (which I was not).

The parking lot is first-come, first-use. There was no guarantee that other spaces would be available. The only concern displayed was that I needed to move so that their scheduled patient could park where my vehicle was parked due to their known, and possibly "visible" disability.

Handful of lemons

Here I stand, with a handful of lemons after being asked to move from an open space in a public lot. Not for any wrongdoing other than having an invisible disability. How does any medical facility deem the right to use an open and public parking lot by their patients, with perceived visible disabilities, above anyone else?

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