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General Discussion

Handicap Parking

  • By Lovelady102613

    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?

  • By Jana

    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.

  • By Laura Kolaczkowski

    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

  • By Lisa Emrich Moderator

    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,

  • By Anonymous

    I have a car hangtag, and use it whenever I can. It is not taking advantage in the least. As for asking for help, I told my family that if they would trust me to ask for help when I need it, I would trust them to help when I asked. I have found that people are almost always willing to help even when I don’t ask. Someone once asked me if he was offering to help too much. I told him he could never offer too much, but if someone said no thank you, to back off. It is hard to accept loss of independence, and I’m still not all the way there yet, but it makes your life so much easier. And, believe it or not, the people who help often get more out of it than I do. People are generally nice and are only too happy to help when they can.

  • By HilSny

    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.)

  • By Andrea

    I just applied for my placard and share the same sentiments as everyone else. Aside from feeling ‘guilty’ because I don’t look ill or disabled, the loss of control and independence is staggering. I never thought I would be “that person” who’s life went down this path… everyone copes differently, but listening to your body is the best coping you can do.

  • By coverinsonfordmustelmoya

    I’ve had a handicap placard for about three years now. It was never all that useful because the handicap spaces are always occupied…unless I could be out at around 8:00 in the morning or thereabouts. I do understand the notion of invisible illness – mine used to be – but I just can’t help disbelieving that so many (about 95% of the ones I’ve seen getting out of their cars) suffer from them. Recently I saw two women get out of a vehicle in the handicap space and do a mad dash to the store front – many yards away – because it was sprinkling rain. I’m sorry, I just find it incredibly aggravating.

    • By goose442

      Hi All,
      The only place they check if you have a handicap placard, or license plate is at HOSPITALS OR
      MALLS. And i also found out the security people CAN NOT give a person a ticket that are parked
      their without a place card SO SAD on their part. They will call the cops and tell them. They
      do not check at all the other stores. I’ve asked the managers of the stores.


    Infortunately I visably need my placard now, but when my handicap was invisable, my favorite reply was one I got on this site–“call my nurologist, he would love to hear that”–that will effectivly shut people up!

  • By Debblo

    Hi lovelady, About 5 months ago my husband had me get a handicap parking ticket, due to my falling. At first I hated using it, I felted like I was not handicap, on the outside of my body. But on the inside I was afraid of falling infront of people. As the winter progress my legs hurt more. And I’m very glad he pushed the issue. Used your handicap ticket when you can. Sincerly Debbie

  • By Grandma5

    The best think I did was get a bumper sticker that reads. You can have my handicap plate if you take my MS. The comments and looks stopped. I have gotten a lot of positive comments on the bumper sticker.

  • By Cadwelder

    Answer to this one is simple, if you feel you need it then go for it….I personally don’t care what anyone else thinks and you don’t need to either. BTW : love the bumper sticker “you can have my plate if you take my MS” priceless!!

  • By Stephanie

    I have been thinking about applying for a placard but am worried about the judgement from others!! I live in a pretty big city, so hopefully it won’t be too bad, that “bumper sticker idea” is a good one!!!

  • By molli

    I’ve had a handicap placard for years, and it truly was/is a life saver. Our state has some ‘weird’ rules that if you don’t have a drivers license you can’t buy a car, be put on a title, or get plates. (I can’t drive due to the MS and other medical issues) Husband’s asthma finally got bad enough that his doctor signed the form for him to get plates (Husband is my ‘chauffeur’). I used to get the ‘looks’ from people, doesn’t happen any more since the carrier with the wheelchair on the back of the car makes it pretty obvious.

  • By Ms.Diva

    It’s the best thing I could’ve did. With my foot drop, legs cooperate when they want! I park in handicap every chance I get. I only hurt myself when I’m parked far away. Especially after grocery shopping. I’m really wobbling when I come out.

  • By Nancy W

    I got my handicap parking placard early on, even though I have only used a cane for a short while after an attack. I realized what a help it would be when I went to a bus terminal with a my MS support group. We took a trip together to NYC to see a show. Most of my friends parked in handicap spaces while I had to walk from the far end of the parking lot.

  • By Carol

    Around this area, it seems like people would love to be able to use the handicap parking, but there are so few spaces, and with our “invisible symptoms,” they don’t believe that we are truly disabled. I try to occasionally get around just using a cane. I get honked at rapidly, with people saying ugly things out their windows, and try to run me off the road. Very scary.

    • By Erin Rush Moderator

      Wow, Carol! I am so sorry that happens to you. It would be nice if the general public was more understanding. Best, Erin, Team Member.