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As a person with disabilities, someone who wants to remain independent, who doesn’t want to be a burden on her family, who wishes she could still enjoy the activities she once did, I find it repugnant when someone says they want to be disabled.

I’ve been spending less and less time with my “bestie” because her work schedule keeps changing and frankly, I can’t deal with the constant complaining.

For quite some time now she’s said that she wished she would become disabled so she could quit working. I’ve asked her if she understood that not having somewhere to go on a regular basis, to socialize with other people, to be able to do things for yourself is not something to wish for. Being disabled isn’t a “Golden Ticket” that gets you out of your responsibilities.

All she ever does is talk about what she can’t do. I’ve realized there are two categories of “can’t” according to her.

There’s the “can’t” that includes her not being able to do things that other people are capable of doing, things she really can do, but chooses not to do.

She can’t establish a schedule for regular meals and sleeping habits because she works second shift – as if no one else works this shift, but still is capable of eating three times a day and taking care of a home, errands, etc.

She can’t do housework or wash dishes because she works and sleeps, so there’s no time in the day.

She can’t run errands, do laundry or socialize because she works and sleeps, so there’s no time in the day.

She can’t plan meals and cook for herself, has to eat take out, because she works and sleeps, so there’s no time in the day.

She can’t shower regularly or perform typical personal hygiene because she works and sleeps, so there’s no time in the day.

She can’t complete all the required tasks at work because it’s too much to do in the allotted time, but she does have time to sit behind the counter and read.

She can’t follow the dietary restrictions her doctor gave her for her diabetes because she can’t cook, has to eat take-out.

Then there are the things she can’t do because apparently parts of her body function independently of her brain and control.

She can’t wear her glasses all the time like she’s supposed to because she can’t stand to have something on her face, her nose can’t stand it.

She can’t drink more than a very little bit of water, even though she thinks she’s dehydrated.

She can’t put the foot rest on the recliner down because her legs won’t do it.

She can’t feel herself breathing so she’s convinced she doesn’t breathe for long periods of time.

She can’t walk back and forth to work because her legs just don’t want to.

She can’t do certain things with her hands because her fingers “stick together and get stuck”, her fingers don’t want to move.

She can’t stock milk or mop floors at the store where she works because one of her arms doesn’t want to do it.

She can’t walk any distance because her feet don’t want to take more than ‘baby steps.’

What exactly does it mean, to say a body part doesn’t want to do something?

She’s not been diagnosed with any debilitating condition, in fact, when she does talk to her doctor she tries to self-diagnose. Her doctor asks her if she’s experiencing symptoms that are common to whatever self-diagnosis she’s made and when she tells them no and they suggest tests to determine what’s actually going on, she refuses. Inevitably, the doctor accuses her of being a hypochondriac, imagining symptoms, imagining illnesses, when in reality what she’s experiencing appears to be nothing more than common signs of aging.

She complained to me that she’d called the doctor’s office and told them she had a urinary blockage, could they prescribe something? When the nurse got on the phone and asked her three questions about her symptoms and she answered no to each of them, they told her she did not have a blockage, likely didn’t even have a bladder infection and they would not prescribe something unless she came in to see the doctor. When they asked her to describe her symptoms, she couldn’t, she just kept telling them she had a ‘blockage.’ How can someone help her if she can’t articulate symptoms?

She will only agree to see a doctor once a year, won’t let them do any tests. She won’t see a dentist, won’t take the medications she’s prescribed (she’s diabetic) correctly as she thinks she knows better than the doctor. She won’t follow dietary recommendations, yet doesn’t understand why doctors don’t take her complaints seriously.

For someone who struggles every day to conquer the challenges and barriers my disability presents me with, so that I can continue to be productive and contribute, it’s very difficult to cope with someone who makes so many excuses, tries to avoid any kind of responsibility by claiming medical conditions and disability that hasn’t been substantiated by a doctor. For someone who would do anything to not be disabled, it’s infuriating to be confronted by someone who openly says they want to be disabled.

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