How to Handle Having a Disability

Introduction:Having a disability can be difficult. Some people with disabilities are looked down upon because people can't see their issues or their pain. Receiving disability from the government can be very hard to get as well even for those that really do deserve it. This can leave people frustrated and depressed. Money issues are piling up while trying to figure out medical issues. The stress can be almost unbearable.

My husband and I have been trying for over a year now to get him on disability. In early 2000 he had a lot of pain in his lower back that shot down his legs. He got to the point he couldn't walk. This was due to spinal degeneration. He had a spinal fusion done to the L4 and L5 vertebrates in his back. It took a year and half to get him back on his feet. He was able to work but he went on to do maintenance work which was hard on his back. Now he is having issues doing everything, when he does do things like grocery shopping he ends up in a lot of pain. Most nights he can't sleep because the pain is so bad. He also started to fall for no apparent reason so now walks.

On 1/27/2014, one day after his 40th birthday, we have been told there is nothing the surgeons can do. He just needs to live with it. He hasn't worked in over a year and we have accepted he can't work. We still had hope they could ease the pain but doesn't look like it right now. Now we are facing that things are not going to get better, something that had both of us a little down about. We are bouncing back. He is my rock at home and I provide what we need to live on.

We have been through the gauntlet of medical issues. He has a long list, Fibromyalgia, Osteoarthritis, severe Asthma and Spinal Degeneration to name a few, and I have Rheumatoid Arthritis. Thankfully I have skills that have me a nice office job which covers our family needs. Still a forty year old male giving up that he can't work and his wife has to support him isn't easy. How do you face disability? Our story sounds like many other disability stories are and some are even worse.

  • 01

    Support

    Support is very important when living with a disability. It's not like a person is just lazy and doesn't want to work. We have jumped through hoops and have over five doctor's now saying my husband can't work. Dealing with everything can be stressful on the person who is disabled and their family.

    Family is a wonderful support. Our family is eight hours away. We do have two teen boys. You can imagine how much they have to help us out. So the disability is hard on kids too. It would be nice to move closer to family but not back up into the cold climate and my job is not there. We moved into warm climate as the cold just hurts. Our family still supports us. They are just a phone call away or a click of a mouse button. Talking to our family is exactly what we need to put everything back together and continue on.

    We started going to church. We always held God highly but we didn't go to church. We have a wonderful support from the friends we have made from the church. Not to mention how powerful prayers can be. Having friends makes living away from our family much easier.

    Other options of support can be counseling and online friends. For me, writing is my support. I get overwhelmed with my responsibility of the finances and the medical bills. Sharing what we go though may be a little too open for some, but if I can help people it's all worth it. Plus sharing what is going in my life helps by releasing stress. Many times readers and online friends will comment with encouragement and even ideas to help the situations. Plus I'm a big push for something to be done about paying hundreds of dollars for 15 minutes of medical care. So sharing what we have been through and the thousands of dollars a year in medical cost will help to bring attention to this large problem.

  • 02

    Hobbies

    Hobbies can be very beneficial when dealing with disabilities. A hobby can give a person something to look forward to and a since of accomplishment. Plus having a hobby is a great way to get more support from the people you met. Right now my husband's hobby is church and the kids. This works for him for now and it about what he can handle. As the kids get older I'm sure he is going to need a hobby to fill in the times when I'm not home and the kids are gone.

    Hobbies can be traditional things like crafts and collecting. Some other today/newer hobbies would be tinkering with computers, gaming, and web design. A benefit with web design is you can learn on your own time and take as long as you like. You can then share the finish product or make some money by charging a small fee. Templates for blogs and emails can also make some extra income. Of course, the disability will also play a factor in the hobbies you can do.

  • 03

    Don'T Get Mad, Share

    If we don't share people won't understand. Many people, from lack of not dealing with a disability, will judge a person on the way they look. Some people will be told they wouldn't be fat if they got up and walked. When the reason they may be fat is from the disability. My husband gets odd looks when he needs to use a motorized cart or when he tells someone he can't pick things up. Besides his cane, he looks healthy from the outside.

    The same way those people shouldn't judge those with disability, those with disability shouldn't judge them. Instead bless them for not having to deal with disability and struggle to get things done. Part of why I'm sharing what we go through isn't to just grumble. Instead I want to help spread awareness and understanding of what people go through. Hopefully we can find ways to make things better for people in the future. I wouldn't wish anyone to walk in our shoes and go through what we have.

    Now this doesn't mean you need to preach to everyone who passes a dirty look. However when someone does stop and ask, don't be shy tell them about it. As children we are not afraid of a bee until we are stung. Same for why people judge, they just don't have knowledge.

  • 04

    Speak Up and Ask For Help

    I need to listen to this part too because I find it hard to speak up and ask for help. For example when I want something off the shelf like the 34 pounds of kitty litter my husband used to lift for us, I just do it myself and end up hurting in the end. My teen children help at home so if we just got some help getting into the cart and then in the car we would be all set. Part of me doesn't want to spend time looking for someone who can help and then feel awkward as someone else does it. However, I end up hurting a lot when most people can lift it.

    My husband defiantly can't push like I do. If I pick up the 34 pounds I end up hurting for a day or two. My husband ends up not being able to move or sleep for the next week. His back swells up and everything just hurts. Asking for help can make the difference of severe pain and manageable pain. If the people knew about the issues they wouldn't mind helping anyhow. So just ask for help.

  • 05

    Don'T Get Depressed

    Easier said than done when life changes so quickly and you can no longer do anything you like. Things you used to love to do are now too hard and daily life is a struggle. However difficult things are, there are other things that can be accomplished. Try not to focus on what can't be done. This is another spot where support is a big deal when living with a disability. You can't do everything like everyone else and that is OK.

    Keeping up our house chores is difficult especially since my husband who really likes a clean house. You can drive him nuts by leaving things out of place or putting clothes on the floor but he is also unable to do all the chores himself. At times he starts to get depressed when he thinks about how he depends on us. We all end up pitching by picking up after ourselves and when we can we help with housework. Our two teenagers do a lot of the housework and we know one day they will move out. He worries about how we are going to handle everything like keeping up laundry and general housekeeping. I do my best to help out to but I have to admit after working forty plus hours a week and my own Rheumatoid Arthritis, I'm tired.




Final Thoughts

Don't forget to look for the little things in life too. My husband tried his best and I'm thankful for that.




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