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Handicap Parking

Hi everyone. I've been diagnosed with MS for about 6 months now and am still learning to listen to my body. Learning when to take it easy and when I can push is very hard, especially because I'm normally very active and don't like to be slowed down - especially with two teenage step-kids.

Since the summer has began I've noticed getting tingly legs very very easily (doc said it happens when my core body tempature increases). I live in Virginia Beach, VA so it's pretty warm during the summer. My fiance has suggested I get a temporary handicap parking sign so I am able to park closer and have less of a walk which will lessen my body heating up. I hate asking for help or assistance (which I'm going to need to learn to get over) but he does have a point. Even though I know I need some help, I feel like I'm taking advantage because I physically look fine. So I wanted to know how many other people with MS (I have RRMS) have handicap parking signs, and how do you get over asking for assistance?

  1. I finally got a placard. It does help to shop with knowing I'm parked closer.Have only had one bad experience with others judging me. Got tires slashed in a big city for not looking sick using a handicap spot. The tow truck driver said it was common in that location.

    1. Wow, JAna. That is horrible to hear. Its tough with so many judgemental people out there.

      Lovelady, please don't let Jana's experience stop you from getting your placard. It makes a huge difference in stamina for me. IF I have to park way out in a lot, then walk through the elements to get into the store, I am often surprised by the fatigue that has set in. I think of this as being smart about how we use our energy - do you want to use it just walking from the parking lot into the store or would you rather use it to be able to shop inside? Get that permit and use it when you feel it's needed and don't when you are feeling good and the heat is gone.

      best, Laura

      1. Lovelady,
        I also have a permanent parking permit and have found it be to invaluable sometimes. It certainly helps with stamina, but it also helps with safety. If your legs feel weak after a trip around a store, you might be more likely to trip and fall. Doing so in a parking lot or off a sidewalk could be disastrous. Get the permit, and use it as needed.
        Take care,
        Lisa

        1. I have struggled with using the placard myself. My appearance (I consider) to be the opposite of what the "stereotypical" disabled person looks like. I look fit and young. I earned this "appearance" from working in the fitness industry (and taking very good care of myself) for much of my teen and yound adult years. Looks are very deceiving. I'm nowhere as strong or have the endurance I once had. But I "look" like I do. I love high-heels too, always have. I choose to wear them on a regular basis, not just because I love them, but because they mask my slow gait and keep the slight foot drop I have from being noticed. In a high heel shoe, my toes are below my heel already! (Some won't believe, but they really do help me walk better- just not for distance, but I can't do distance in gym shoes either! LOL)

          I've been "called out" a few times when I've used the placard. I can't shake the guilty feeling. On some level (deep within me) I think they are right. I think, well I "can" walk that far, so I should. The problem I run into is on the back end of my day. If I use up all my "batteries" running errands, or whatever, I can't finish everything. I actaully have to "schedule" my energy use. I even took an easier job (much less money, sadly) so that I could have energy at the end of the day for my family. Cooking dinner, playing with/ chasing kids, cleaning up, etc. wipes me out in the few evening hours I dedicate to it. So now, I sit all day so that I can be on my feet later. I rarely use the placrad...often too embarrassed; I feel judged. I just continue to struggle through it. This is the complete opposite of the life I lived before MS. (A topic for another post.)

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