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Letter: Comments on disabled permits

Mr. Doud, your article regarding the abuse of Disabled Parking Permits caught my eye, as I currently am in possession of one and have had it ever since I had my knee replacement six years ago. I agree with you regarding the abuse of Disabled Parking Permits. Many people abuse them. However, some people have “invisible disabilities,” which are not readily apparent.

Perhaps you should, as Jaime Garza of the DMV suggests, research information about invisible disabilities that would have “added some balance and accuracy to” your editorial. “Invisible disabilities are disabilities that are not immediately apparent. For instance, some people with visual or auditory disabilities who do not wear glasses or hearing aids, or discreet hearing aids, may not be obviously disabled. Some people who have vision loss may wear contact lenses.

A sitting disability is another category of invisible impairments; sitting problems are usually caused by chronic back pain. Those with joint problems or chronic pain may not use mobility aids on some days, or at all. Most people with RSI move in a normal and inconspicuous way, and are even encouraged by the medical community to be as active as possible, including playing sports; yet those people can have dramatic limitations in how much they can type, write or how long they can hold a phone or other objects in their hands.”

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 states the following: “ADA disabilities include both mental and physical medical conditions. A condition does not need to be severe or permanent to be a disability.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission regulations provide a list of conditions that should easily be concluded to be disabilities: deafness, blindness, an intellectual disability (formerly termed mental retardation), partially or completely missing limbs or mobility impairments requiring the use of a wheelchair, autism, cancer, cerebral palsy, diabetes, epilepsy, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and schizophrenia.

Other mental or physical health conditions also may be disabilities, depending on the individual’s symptoms would be in the absence of “mitigating measures” (medication, therapy, assistive devices, or other means of restoring function), during an “active episode” of the condition (if the condition is episodic).”

Watch me walk, and you will not see a noticeable disability. But it’s there, every day, in every waking movement because in every step there is the fear of pain; a pain that’s not easily discernible to the general public — a pain which was first caused by the intense agony of being hit by a car as a pedestrian. An anguish that can only be experienced when the tibia and fibula are pushed under the patella (knee cap), through the back of the leg, tearing the skin, which is designated as a compound fracture.

A twinge felt every so often caused by the fracture of my pelvis, which was snapped in half during this car accident as well. Turning a steering wheel is difficult for me because I have two bad shoulders; one just having been totally replaced and the other to be replaced in a few months. Do I drive? Yes, if I want to go anywhere and don’t want to have to depend on others for assistance. Am I disabled? No, but there is pain on a daily basis.

The dread of pain is constant. Turning the steering wheel, which may seem like an easy and common daily movement for anyone who drives, causes me acute, intense pain. Does it show? Not on a regular basis, as I try to maintain a “normal” life to the best of my ability without prescription pain medication. Am I disabled? No. I can walk. I can dance. I can run (short distances). But the pain is continually there always lurking, popping up at the most inopportune times.

So when you refer to people with no noticeable disability except those with depleted brain functions, please keep this in mind.

— Andrea Fitzgerald, Madera

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