I've had a handicap parking placard for almost 7 years now. I suffer from chronic fatigue, FMS, severe arthritis, severe asthma, lupus. This placard has been a godsend for me - there are many times when, if I didn't have it, I simply would not be able to get into the store/pharmacy to even get my prescriptions. Like you, sometimes I feel "guilty" about having the placard, feeling that since I'm not yet in a wheelchair (sometimes I use a cane or a walker, but not all the time) that somehow I wasn't eligible for or worthy of having it. I've since come to realize, after many people repeatedly told me, that not all "disabilities" are readily apparent by seeing a person in a wheelchair. Our debilitating conditions more than qualify us for using the handicap placards.
I don't know what state you live in or if it differs from state to state, but the process for getting a permanent placard for me was quite easy (I'm in Virginia). I simply had to have my physician fill out a form that I obtained from the DMV (I think you can get it either by going to their office or even printing it off their website) and then taking that form to the DMV and they issued me the placard right then and there. It costs $5.00 and is good for five years. After that first five year period, all I had to renew the placard was go onto the DMV website and go to where it says about renewing a handicap placard. Again it was $5.00 for five years - however, when you are doing a renewal, there is no need for any information or forms from your doctor.
I would strongly suggest if you can to get the placard. Just because you have it, doesn't mean that you HAVE to use it. In my case, if I'm having a "decent" day and feel I can walk a little farther, I'll park in a "regular" parking spot and not use the handicapped spot. But it sure is nice and comforting to know that I have the placard available when I need it. The other thing I like about the placard as opposed to disabled plates, is that the placard can be used in any vehicle that you are riding in/driving. So long as the person whose name is on the placard is either the driver or a passenger in the vehicle, it can be used. Whereas if you had the disabled plates, you are limited to using that vehicle in order to use the handicapped parking.
Best of luck with your knee replacement - I, too, am looking at having to have that surgery done in the not too distant future.
$5.00 in Virginia. Oy Gevalt. What a shanda ;)
It is free in Maryland..as well many states are and should be. But some like to take advantage of the already financially burdened disabled. Medicine is not cheap y'know!
But yes, I tend to agree. I would rack up an embarrassing, insurmountable amount of parking tickets sooner or later with my tendency to "park or attempt to park as close as possible" (Hazard Button Activated of course)
No two days are the same, and life does not come with DVR where one can simply just stop or pause things. You need RX's filled, errands ran etc. And can't rely on others.
I believe no matter what hardships one might come across, one must always believe in themselves and keep pushing on...
great - and i wish i'd done it earlier when i was flat out doing one errand per day. i too was 'too embarrassed' about getting one, although my fantastic gp probably would've signed off for one for me.
also, for the whole 2-1/2 hears i've had the fatigue, i've ALWAYS felt that wellness was just around the corner, and that i wouldn't need one for long, and that people would be judgemental, and did i really need one, and, and, and...!
hindsight is great. i'm fortunate that my health has gradually improved and that i don't need one now. but i DEFINITELY could've used one for the first year and a half, and the embarrassment factor and my own denial stopped me.
anyone with severe incapacity: be encouraged to get one. quality of life is crappy enough without having to expend more energy on a shopping trip to get necessary supplies.
I have fm and back problems. My dr gave me a temp handicap paRking pass for only 6 months. It expired last month on the 13th. Almost 5 weeks ago, I underwent a 6 hr open back fusion surgery with instrumentation. I turned in the paperwork to him and am currently awaiting approval for him to fill it out. I will follow up Monday to see if its been approved. It ain't easy getting approval for my back problems which left me with impaired function to walk, let alone for fm. Thankfully the surgery worked giving me the use of my legs again, I'm just hoping he'll be willing to fill it out so I can get one again.
If that doctor won't sign the papework for a placard, check with another one of your docs - primary doc, rheumatologist, pain management - anyone - you may have better luck getting the placard because of your fibro if you request it from the doc that treats you for that. It could be that the doc who did your back (I'm presuming an ortho surgeon) may be limited as to how long they can give the placards for?? I honestly don't know - grasping at straws.
Anyway - don't give up if that one doc doesn't do the paperwork for you - keep checking with your other docs.
Yes, I had a similar problem to obtaining my Handicap Placard. While I reserve its use for my worst days, like I said, things have to get done whether I feel like garbage or a million bucks.
I also applied for a Permanent Disability Pass w/ Mobile Transit which in my city provides curb-to-curb or door-to-door pick up. It is part of the Public Local Transportation system where sedans or personal vans can get dispatched directly to your residence after you call in and make a reservation for a certain time. They can take you to DR. appointments and so on. And one does not need to walk blocks to a Local Bus or Local Train. Nice to have a back-up plan in case personal driving is really not an option. With meds and our bodies sometimes getting behind a wheel of is just not smart y'know?
I had one DR. fill out the forms required for Mobile Transit as Temp. Disability. Was he kidding? I was not amused. Rather insulted actually. (Not sure how you classify UC/Crohn's, Fibro, Chronic Pain Syndrome as Temporary..) Like these things are going to magically go away/get better overnight...muscle atrophy and the pain associated with the above is just awful.
but not looking for an argument, I went to another of my DRs, and the paperwork was taken care of right. I felt I did the right thing.
So now I have either my Handicap Placard or the curb-to-curb service if ever I feel I better not drive and I need to get somewhere urgent.
When my Dr told me to go to my local town hall to obtain a handicapped parking tag, I felt the same way as you. The problem w Fibro, is that we "don't look sick" (I hate that statement!) and oftentimes are not over 70 yrs old, so I USED to worry about what people thought. But once I got the Handicapped Parking Tag, I am able to walk into the store to pickup my prescriptions, etc. (I still have to lean on a cart in the store, and I'm still in agony--and exhausted--when I come out of the store because it's such so tough on me...) I remember saying something to my Dr about feeling guilty because I'm not old and he said "these spots are made for disabled people, and you are disabled. Don't feel guilty!" So, now I don't feel guilty, just thankful I have the tag..If someone ever said something to me, like "you don't look disabled" I figure I will either ignore them or say something like "I wish I weren't; you can't see my disabilities." or "I'd gladly trade places with you any day"....(PS--I suffer from Fibro (and all that goes w that), degenerative spine, advanced osteoarthritis of the bones and joints, and other unseen debilitating illnesses... permanently disabled and on Soc Sec at 45 years old :(
Just wanted to point out another thing that is kind of related to the whole "feeling guilty" thing and the handicapped parking. Just as the handicapped parking spots are there for those of us who need them - so are the motorized wheelchair carts that many stores have available. At first I also felt guilty about using one of those when I was in the store, but, like with my placard, I came to realize that they ARE there to be used when needed and even though I don't depend on a wheelchair to get around all the time, I know for a fact that I simply would NOT be able to get through the store without using one. the one thing I do find strange, though, is the fact that not one single pharmacy that I've been in (from large chains on down to little local pharmacies) has these carts available for use by their customers AND not only that, but the pharmacy pick-up and drop counters are ALWAYS in the very back of the stores!!! This makes it very, very difficult, and sometimes impossible to get prescriptions filled. You would think that a pharmacy would think of those things, but apparently not. I know there are several pharmacy chains that do offer drive-thru services, however, when you drop off a prescription at one of those services, they always tell you it will be a MINIMUM of an hour before your script is ready for pick-up - yet if you walk the script into the pharmacy and turn it in, they can fill it within about 10 minutes!! Believe me, there are many a time when I simply CANNOT wait an hour to get my medication.
@me236 -- I agree, I also hate the comment that I've heard several times about "you don't look sick". Like you said, if the people who say or think that would simply spend even a couple of hours in our shoes, I'm sure they woudl never make that statement again! Like you, I'm permanently disabled on Soc Sec at age 46 - actually have been disabled for about 7-8 years.
So, I guess my main comment to all of us -- NEVER, EVER apologize or feel guilty about using anything and everything we can to make our painful lives a little less difficult and a tiny bit less painful.
I just returned from the doctor who told me at 24years old he thinks I may have fibromyalgia. I'm really unsure of what to expect but it seems like lots of you are dealing with this disease. Is anyone able to tell me what to expect or a little bit more about it without using big terms. I'm sorta terrified and just need answers.
" oftentimes are not over 70 yrs old"
and "don't look sick"
that is what burns the most. Imagine being 25, lean NOT OBESE, but rather with an Athletic Build. Cause you always played a lot sports. From the days that held so much promise before "things fell apart"
If I had a figurative book for every book a person judged me from the outside (cover) looking in. I'd throw it at these people. You just want to explode.
(While all you can do is bury your head in your chest and cry from the pain)