Handicap Stalls Archive


Road Trip

road trip

“A vacation is what you take when you can no longer take what you’ve been taking.” ~ Earl Wilson

I’m going on vacation for two weeks. I do this once a year. Most times, I go somewhere close to home. But every once in a while, I fly to a place several hours away. My upcoming vacation will be different from both of those scenarios because this time I am taking a 6-hour road trip.

The difficulty with doing this is, my MS has always given me problems when I ride in cars. So I guess you are wondering, if that’s the case, why do it. Well, my biggest obstacles have been bladder issues due to frequent urination. Three months ago, I had a suprapubic catheter surgically implanted and I’m calling this car ride my first big test to see if it was worth getting.

During past road trips, we would stop every hour and a half so I could go to the restroom. We not only had to locate a restroom on the highway but, because of my wheelchair, it had to be an accessible restroom. Also, frequently getting in and out of the car would usually wipe me out before we even arrived at our destination. I’m hoping the catheter eliminates both problems.

So, I’m off for a couple of weeks and with any luck I will pass the test. I look forward to a fun, peaceful and MS free trip. I hope you find some time this year to relax too. We deserve it.


The Fall Girl


“Pain is such an uncomfortable feeling that even a tiny amount of it is enough to ruin every enjoyment.” – Will Rogers

Saturday night, while taking a shower, I fell. The weird thing is, I was sitting down when it happened. I was on a bench in my shower washing myself when I lost my balance, tipped side ways and ended up face down on the tile floor.

The pain was incredible. I screamed and within seconds my husband rushed in to help me. He asked me if I was all right. I wasn’t sure so he sat me up and inspected me for damage.

I had cuts on the inside and outside of my bottom lip. And yes, blood was flowing and quickly filled my mouth. I felt a little lightheaded but the feeling was fleeting. As I sat on the floor, I ran my tongue around in my mouth. I could feel something was out of place. I glanced around the room and saw what looked like a tooth next to the sink. Before I could panic, my husband instructed me to smile. It revealed that I had chipped my front tooth.

As bad as that sounds, besides the pain, I felt reasonably well for such a severe fall.

Over the years, I have taken many precautions in my daily life to prevent falls. So I thought I was fairly safe. But wow, this took me by surprise. For goodness sake I was sitting down! Who falls while they are sitting?

I realize the busted lip and chipped tooth can be fixed. So I feel fortunate and grateful to be all right. But my memories of the pain from that fall will stay with me for some time.



Mourn The Loss


While grief is fresh, every attempt to divert only irritates. You must wait till it be digested, and then amusement will dissipate the remains of it. ~Samuel Johnson

It’s a good thing that my caregiver/husband and I get along, because I never would’ve imagined depending on him so much.

In the beginning of this newfound dependency on others, I was not a happy camper. I probably was defensive to the very people that were trying to help me. It’s just that we all have this picture of what life should look like and my reality just was not matching up.

Nowadays it seems I need help with just about everything. And to make matters worse or more complicated for all involved, I don’t need that help all the time. This confuses the person, normally my husband, as to when to help and when not to help.

Does that make sense?

I know he is only concerned about me. In the meantime, I’m so busy trying to hang on to my last bit of independence by continuing to do what I can on my own. I think this is a good thing.

I also have to accept there are things I can no longer do safely by myself. For instance, I need help getting on and off the toilet. It’s not every time I go, mostly just during the night or early in the morning. The other day, I had a nasty fall in the bathroom and it scared the life right out of me. Mind you my bathroom was newly made handicapped accessible. So, it seems no matter what, falls can happen.

I need help with transferring from one chair to another. That is, transfers from my scooter or wheelchair to the dining room table or to my favorite reading chair. Something I used to do with no problem.

I’ll be honest with you. It’s hard. To make it easier I quickly mourn the loss then I move on. The thing is, if I persist on focusing on what I’ve lost here, I will lose and MS will win once again. And it has taken away so much from me already.

I try to remember that our job as MS fighters is to make the most out of what we can do, no matter how small.


Flaky Layers

These are delicious!

I fell into panic mode shortly after I went to see my mental therapist. If, you remember, she mentioned my passionate quest for independence (AKA hand controls) was possibly a manifestation of denial of MS. In other words, after 11 years, I still hadn’t accepted Multiple Sclerosis. Wow, what a blow!

I was so taken aback because the entire premise of this site is based on acceptance. In fact, through this blog I have gained a considerable amount of support and reinforcement. Her question rocked my foundation. I felt as if it was comparable to calling me a fake or phony. I was on shaky ground.

Her question rocked my foundation.

One week flew by. I went back to see the therapist. (I have a standing weekly appointment.) I asked her to expound on the nature of my questionable acceptance. It seemed as if she put a spotlight on me and echoed, “Acceptance comes in layers.” I choose to compare it to a hot buttery Flaky Grands biscuit! You can easily peel the layers off. Usually the outer most comes off pretty quick an easy. The others require a tad bit more fine finger work, detail and precision.

This seemed to me a good enough analogy. I think she said I’ve conquered some layers, but maybe the innermost I’m still pulling back. Does that make sense? I haven’t cleared this analogy. But for now it soothes me. I can receive that perhaps I haven’t accepted MS in its totality. Maybe a non-handicap person using “my” bathroom stall doesn’t require getting the mall police involved! I admit that I may have blown the driving thing out of proportion. To be honest, it does bother me that nearly all of my friends and family think driving may not be a good idea right now.

I mean driving is a huge feat. On some level I think it’s going to rewind my life to “normal.” Am I setting myself up for a huge let down? Possibly, I need to do a bit more physical AND mental therapy before attempting to get behind the wheel!

Oh well, maybe I’ll go eat a darn biscuit! I’m hungry now!


Potty Training

somewhat stupid

“…I talked about “butting heads,” and how me being in a state of easily-engaged contention was causing some of my energetic woes. MS is all about “againstness,” the immune system chewing on things it doesn’t need to chew on, the nervous system trying to reroute itself around the damage–there’s nothing that isn’t againstness in the whole process. The last thing I need to bring to the process is butting heads with {bathroom patrons }.”

From the Gift of MS http://giftsofms.blogspot.com/ by Robert Parker

I don’t write much about the mechanics of MS. I figure if you were interested in more you would leave a comment telling me so. Instead, I tell you how it affects me. In short, besides the wheelchair, I have serious bladder issues. In my household it is the boss of everything. And then it has the nerve to be contrary.

I will literally break my neck to get to the bathroom, sweating, and NOTHING COMES OUT! This is the damn immune system chewing up on stuff it has no business. Then in other cases it gives me less than adequate warning. If you get my drift!

I readily admit that the handicap bathroom stalls are nice and roomy. You can sit your bags down (If you let them touch the floor) or you can possibly leave them on the nice hook on the back of the door, which in most cases is nice and low so even your child can hang them up for you. Wait. Speaking of your child ….he can come in the stall too! Not only can you keep your eyes on him, but also he can hang your bags AND use the potty too! Now, you can’t get much better than that? Right?

WRONG! Only because someone in a wheelchair may be waiting right outside to get in the only stall they can. I don’t mean to sound crude. I just want to shed light on this because the concept is so often overlooked. I sympathize when the other stalls are taken. I don’t expect you to still avoid the handicap stall that would be too much to ask! I understand you don’t have to have a handicap license to use our stall. (That’s an idea though!}

I know too that everybody who is “handicap” doesn’t look a certain way. Remember, for years I lived ‘in the closet,” with MS. I don’t scrutinize the handicap parking spaces! I just want the public to be mindful of others. That includes a lot more than just those in wheelchairs! But that’s slightly off topic.

I have a prime example for you to ponder. I rolled into a mall restroom and someone, was just leaving the handicap stall. Well, as I sat there awaiting my take off, someone came in from the mall, walked besides me and went right into the now empty handicap stall! As if I wasn’t even there! Why didn’t I say something? I asked myself the same thing. When she came out and saw me sitting there her embarrassment was palpable. She apologized and I calmly took my turn.

I probably wouldn’t be so timid the next time as I have had several accidents! It seems the closer I get to the stall the worse the urge gets. I talk about acceptance all the time, I even wore Depends to that Mardi Gras parade earlier this month, but darn, I just can’t make myself do it on a daily basis.

Besides, that’s expensive!!!!

The girl you just called fat? She’s been starving herself & has lost over 30lbs.
The boy you just called stupid? He has a learning disability & studies over 4hrs a night.
The girl you just called ugly? She spends hours putting make-up on hoping people will like her.
The boy you just tripped? He’s abused enough at home.
Every person has a story. Accept differences. Show kindness.
From Simply Susan at

Donde esta el bano? ( I can’t do the correct punctuation. )