Monday, June 22, 2009

The Legacy of "Passing"

Rare real-life whine here, just because I need to sit down for a few minutes.
I'm in a lot of pain today. My knees and hips feel like they have sand in the joints. Got up early, even before Bryan's alarm went off, and felt pretty good. Went through everything I want to get accomplished today in my head. After breakfast and a few minutes of putting away dishes, I went to the pill drawer for tylenol. Shortly after Bryan left, it was time for naproxen. I still hurt, but I can't do anything other than hope that frequent breaks will help.
On a break last week, while running a heroic, Gutts asked, "why are you hurting? what did you do?" I tried to explain that I didn't really do anything, that it's just part of life, but it felt strange.
I try not to fall into self-pity on the high pain days, try not to wonder how long I'll be able to walk and what happens when I no longer can. Welcome to middle age with cerebral palsy, when this mild, nonprogressive disorder reveals that even though the brain damage hasn't progressed beyond the initial injury 40 or so years ago, the wear and tear on muscles and joints has.
I first was exposed to articles on aging with my disability 15 years ago, when I was pregnant and concerned and discovered the online disabled community in the early days of AOL. There was an interesting article regarding the fact that those of us who could walk unaided were encouraged to participate in physical activities as much as our nondisabled peers. Adaptive physical education did not exist in my school district until I was in junior high school and my slow reaction time scared my regular PE teacher. I think about my time on a large college campus where walking from class to class was required and wonder if anyone would have considered a motorized scooter a good investment for me. Most of all, I laugh inwardly at the irony that the "good attitude" that was praised and encouraged was really denial that anything was wrong.
I could try to "pass" in the World of Warcraft. My slow reaction time looks a lot like not paying attention, and my dps is certainly good enough for most of the alliance guilds on the server. However, I belong where I am, and being honest with my friends has allowed me to play and contribute where I do.
Side note: A ray of sunshine came back into my online world over the weekend. Welcome back, Natazz!

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