Next Time, Ask Me Why I Need an Accessible Parking Placard
To the person who left the note on my windshield:
I wish you would have asked. I would have told you that I have secondary progressive multiple sclerosis, a neurological disease that impairs my ability to walk. My MS has worsened over time and will continue to progress. I can’t predict where I will be in a year, and I may need a wheelchair. This placard allows me to park my car near the entrance to the grocery store.
I wish you would have asked. I would have told you that hot weather makes me sick, as the heat magnifies my symptoms. I slur my words, shuffle my feet, become confused and disoriented, and ultimately succumb to heat exhaustion. This placard allows me to park in the shade.
I wish you would have asked. I would have told you about the chronic pain, which never stops, and often brings me to my knees. I’d tell you about the deep bone ache, the musculoskeletal pain, the incessant spasticity, and the peripheral neuropathy. I would have noted that the only time I am not in pain is when I am sleeping, and that each step I take is difficult. This placard allows me to park near the entrance to the store.
I wish you would have asked. I would have told you about the fatigue. I would have told you how difficult it is to live. How the exhaustion never improves. And how malaise and lethargy are constants. This placard allows me to park in the first few spaces.
You did not ask. Instead, you left a note. You wrote that I was lazy. You wrote that I stole the space from another person who needed it more. You called me names.
I would give up the placard for life without multiple sclerosis. But I cannot change what is. I make the best of every day, one day at a time. I will not let ignorance change my heart. I will work harder to erase the stigma and elevate the need for acceptance.
Now let me ask you a question. Next time will you ask?
Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.