Thursday, March 11, 2004

My comments yesterday on the disability issue have prompted a flurry of e-mails, the most eloquent and thought provoking of which came from Bruce, a below knee amputee in San Francisco.

The general thrust of his e-mail -- GET OVER IT!!

I may not agree with every point you make, Bruce, but I thank you for making them.

Here's an excerpt:
"I don't so much consider myself disabled as I do inconvenienced. But technically, we are disabled. That's it.

"Look at the definition in your questionnaire: adverse effect...significant...long term. Let's see--yes, it's adverse--besides the parking space and the sick humor value, there aren't any benefits. As you correctly pointed out, it's definitely long-term. I suspect your quibble is with significant--sorry to tell you this mate, but without our prostheses we're reduced to acting like lopsided kangaroos.

"We may go through one or more days giving it hardly a thought. However, we still have to put on the leg and use whatever coping strategies we have developed to deal with our altered appendages. Then, at regular intervals we have to haul the leg in for maintenance or replacement.

"I've tried to come up with a really memorable nomination for amputee of the week, and I still might someday. But for now, I would like to nominate the "average, every-day amputee" (sort of like the Unknown Soldier). These are the folks who deal with limb loss every day, largely unheralded and unnoticed. For every dramatic amputation story with its resulting notoriety there are thousands of men, women, and children who deal with it and move on with their lives."


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