Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Becoming Public Property

Each morning my attire is chosen, with painstaking deliberation, to cover my branding brace. If the corset is concealed, the illness is invisible, or so the theory goes. Yet, however ingenious the amalgamation of apparel, the disguise always fails and spine-suffering Sophie surfaces. It is the small transitional movements that betray me, revealing the difficulty I have manoeuvring my body. Levering myself into a sitting position causes eyes to swivel and stare, and arising is even worse, it provokes expressions of pity!  For some mysterious reason, having a visible physical difficulty makes you public property. Strangers on the street will approach and ask personal, health-related questions.

“Ah, a back problem?” says a self-righteous unknown. I reply with a feeble mumble in the affirmative, whilst attempting to dampen my desire to absquatulate. Even at this early stage, I can prognosticate with surprising accuracy the continuation of the conversation.  “Oh, I know what that feels like” they continue. Inside, a well-rehearsed response is about to erupt. How can this impertinent individual claim empathy with no knowledge of my spinal history or symptoms? I bottle up the vapours of anger and annoyance and listen, feigning interest, to their entire medical history. It is evident that their intent is to offer solace and provide hope. However, unfortunately these passersby vocalise my fears, they remind me of how far I still have to traverse on my road to recovery.

7 comments:

  1. Sadly, nothing is truly private.

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  2. At least you were addressed personally. I had a close friend, sadly now passed on who was a double amputee.Pushing him in his wheelchair,[which he hated, preferring to use his three pronged walking sticks]people would address ME,enquiring of his welfare. Unfortunately for them i do not suffer fools gladly and would tell them "Speak to him,not to me. He probably has mental facilities far sharper than yours." Expressions of regret and profuse apologies followed.

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  3. The last comment was from Jack. I don't know how it came out "anonymous" Ay 85, I find it hard to cope 100% with the computer

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  4. Sorry I haven't been by much lately!
    People seem to think they can comment on a stranger's personal health issues -- especially if there is a visible "disability" such as wearing a brace for your back under your outfits.
    My chronic pain and chronic illnesses are "invisible," and strangers tend not to comment. But, when my wrist was fractured and in a cast and sling, I received unsolicited advice, comments, and doors held open (that part was nice).

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