|Connective Tissue Challenged Persons. We are assets!|
In the last week I've been declined for life insurance and jeered at while driving along with the other typical situations someone with a health challenge encounters daily. Our van has a disability tag and I purposely drive the speed limit. Other drivers often gun their engines to pass me by, blowing their horns loudly and usually flipping fingers my direction. This week a man about my age rolled his windows down while flying by and twisted up his hands and face as if he were having a seizure then laughed as he sped on into the traffic ahead.
Today I take it all with a grain of salt assuming these people are probably having a really stressful day, pumped up on coffee and probably dealing with dangerously high blood pressure. I am very happy with who I am, health challenges and all. In fact I think my health challenges make me special.
Not everyone I encounter treats me this way. Many are courteous, notice I am walking with a cane and treat me with kindness. My doctors and nurses and their staff seem to really care and for this I am grateful. But our alpha nation, in its fast paced bootstrap mentality often treats those of us with pronounced health challenges as a discardable class.
Attitudes of disregard for the disabled can even be found in our governments. Since my dissection in 2011 I've had my drivers license medically revoked and I've even been handcuffed, threatened and put on the ground by Flagler County Florida sheriff's department, hands on their guns and tasers as I walked to the grocery store one afternoon with my cane, a limping man that was an obvious threat to society.
Inevitably within the business community my resumes are politely returned, with a thank you but not interested response once my dissection issues surface. Some say don't disclose the issue but I believe in transparency and it is hard to otherwise explain away the hospitalization time gap.
The 'forest' of mis-information and unfounded assumptions surrounding people with disabilities masks an amazing pool of talent though.
Over the past five years I've come to know others living with connective tissue challenges, aneurysms and dissections, scoliosis and pumphead, chairi and other conditions.
They are some of the most ingenious, brilliant, kind, enthusiastic and talented people I have ever known.
They are also surprisingly some of the healthiest persons I know, despite walking a fine line between life and death in many cases.
And they are certainly some of the most shrewdest and analytical persons on the planet.
Our communities, our nation and our world would be so much better off taping into this talent pool instead of pushing us to the side.
When living with a life threatening issue one realizes that time is truly borrowed and holds great value. We can be better time managers than the most productive wall street executive for we know the value not only of each moment but of each breath.
And in spite of our challenges, many of us are more healthy than most. Our diets are focused on non-processed foods while we avoid inflammatory, artery clogging junk. Our CT scans may reveal a dissection flap but they also reveal clean arterial pathways and healthy organs.
Yes, we may have physical or mental limitations but we've learned to adapt a better way and work around those issues. Adaptation is a key component of long term evolution and survival.
Our awareness allows us to deal with and address our limitations - giving us an advantage over many of those who like the ostrich with its head in the sand, don't know what their arteries look like or haven't been to the doctor in a long time.
Besides, as someone recently reminded me, all of us are dying. Those of us with diagnosed health challenges are just more keenly aware of this fact. We are some say, better prepared than most when an incident occurs and in the meanwhile make the most of our allowed time.
Because of our focused efforts on our health I would suggest that we are a better class of individuals to issue life insurance policies for, rather than being rejected time after time for 'heart conditions' or other generic but unsubstantiated factors. Yes we've disclosed these limitations on our applications. They may sound 'un-insurable' at first take. Yet I still contend those of us with health challenges may be a better insurance wish than those in the population who appear healthy but may be walking time bombs themselves.
Over the years I've met some of the greatest artists, poets and well read intellectuals who each battle with serious or debilitating health issues. There is an amazing pool of knowledge and creativity waiting to be tapped by a society willing to embrace differences.
And we would make the very best of employees.
All we need is a chance.
But the life insurance rejection letters, the returned job applications, the brush-offs, dismissals and cold shoulders, exhaust smoke and fingers still keep coming.
Fortunately, we are a resilient group. We don't give up easily.
Many of us describe ourselves as 'survivors' or 'warriors', a fitting description for a group who have experienced trauma and difficulties most can not even imagine, and come through to the other side with strong fortitude and unspoken yet perfected resilience.
The world would be so much better off if this pool of talent was brought into the fold instead of being pushed to the side.
We truly are an overlooked worldwide asset.
And so we ask the world to take note of what we can offer. We ask all the support organizations out there that provide us with wonderful resources on our afflictions to also advocate for our acceptance into mainstream society.
Those willing to take a risk on us will be rewarded far beyond their expectations.
Living a life challenged by connective tissue issues, cardiovascular and skeletal, vision and other maladies is the best training ground for human creativity and enlightenment.
All the world has to do is to ask for our help.
And if they don't then they'll be missing out.