It’s been almost two weeks since my last post – which is just CRAZY unusual for me.
First, let me say that I did go fully plant based vegan, and, with my many food allergies (soy, wheat, air, all of the things), I rapidly became SO weak, despite consciously seeking out complete protein sources and focusing on whole foods. It became apparent in very little time that my body will require a more Paleo, whole foods type approach. As soon as I added back healthy animal proteins, my energy levels began to return to normal – well, my normal 😉 – and I could finally stay awake for more than a few hours at a time. #fixitjesus
So, that happened. . . (and there will be a full post on it very soon for sure).
Now, on to the other lots o’ things for today. . .
In the past month, I’ve seen more episodes of Dr. Phil than I ever have in my life – a total of three. I’ll state clearly from the get go that I think he is a bit of a hack – BUT he got an exclusive that drew me in initially.
Awhile back I wrote a post about the Shanann, Bella, Celeste, and Nico Watts case in Colorado, where the family went missing and was later found to have been murdered by Christopher Watts, the husband and father. I talked about it in a post I wrote about abuse.
A few weeks ago, Christopher finally spoke with law enforcement again – he has already pled guilty to his crimes and been sentenced – and confessed that the way the murders occurred was MUCH more horrific than any of us who had been following the case had imagined.
Somehow, Dr. Phil got an exclusive interview with the attorneys for Shanann’s family, prior to the audio of Christopher’s confessions being released, and Dr. Phil also was able to sit down and speak exclusively with Shanann’s parents and brother.
Of course, I watched both of those episodes – and one day this week I will be writing a lengthy post about the Watts case and all that has come out, because, oh my word, my heart is just broken over that situation.
For now though, what I am getting to, is that while I was watching those, ads were running for an episode I had no intention of watching, about an interabled couple, where the healthy girlfriend is the caregiver for her boyfriend, who is disabled and in a wheelchair. In typical Dr. Phil fashion, the previews were quite dramatic, featuring them fighting and appearing ready to split up and Dr. Phil thundering in with his opinions. Of course, I didn’t give it much thought as it was nothing out of the ordinary for that show.
However, shortly after the episode aired, many of my spoonie friends – who also aren’t Dr. Phil people – began commenting on that episode, very upset about it, because word spread through our community quickly that there were SEVERAL things in this episode that were issues for disabled persons:
- Dr. Phil advised this couple that she could be “his lover or his caregiver but she couldn’t not be both. That fails 100% of the time.” As it happens, many interabled couples successfully navigate situations where one is caregiver, either entirely or to some degree – and in ALL relationships, at different stages, each partner looks after the other in some way. Dr. Phil, who does not have any experience in the area of counseling persons with disabilities, spoke as though the partner with the disability was a giant burden, which is a stigma the disabled community is already working to overcome.
- The couple in question was struggling with issues of verbal abuse and anger issues such as throwing things and acting out that were not in any way related to the disability. Dr. Phil didn’t even acknowledge these separate problems. He attributed everything to the disability.
- I certainly hope Dr. Phil or Robin don’t ever experience a condition where they become disabled. If that is truly his belief, how will they handle a disabling illness? I realize everyone is different but it seems to me that it is a natural instinct, whether it is your mom or your lover or your best friend, to go TO your loved one when they need care, not away from them.
- Finally, a few weeks before the episode aired, The Dr. Phil Show reached out to a fabulous YouTube interabled couple, Hannah and Shane, whose channel is called Squirmy and Grubbs. Shane has SMA – a type of muscular atrophy that causes him to require a wheelchair and constant care – and Hannah is both his partner of three years and his 24/7 caregiver. They are amazing. They were asking to come on and speak with this couple and initially said yes – until they spoke with their families and realized they would likely be exploited. Then they said no – and I am so thankful they did. Here is the video they made about this damn Dr. Phil episode and it is worth a watch:
So, I already had it in my mind to tell you guys about Dr. Phil and his total lack of understanding and respect for the disabled community.
However, I really didn’t get a chance last week. It was super busy – in a fabulous way.
At the beginning of the week, I did some local road tripping with my better half and also had a fabulous dinner my bestie. ❤
On Friday, Sara, Henry, and I loaded up and headed to Tennessee to stay with my Ginny and her family.
And we took Sara over to Ginny’s alma mater (well, one of them!), Vandy. ❤
Then, after a super yum lunch with Ginny and Daniel, it was time to head back home for ahhh-mazing plans with my better half Saturday night: Mumford and Sons tickets that he gave me for my 40th birthday!
What I wanted to talk about from the show is this: after a fabulous and super busy weekend, I was in my smartchair for the concert (my feet and body were SO not up for the Civic Center!) and – as I told Courtney – I am forever grateful to have it – but I hate that people look at me like they feel sorry for me in those settings. Ugh. It’s my least favorite thing.
See, while I certainly have days when I am quite ill and days when I get down (like everybody), in general, I have a great life. Of course I wish so freaking much that I was still able to work and do the things I used to – but that just isn’t my reality. I’ve had to accept that and move into a new one.
However, I am surrounded by the people that I love, friends and family, and I am able to spend most of my days reading and writing, which brings me great joy. I have the assistive devices I need to allow me to get out and about and I’m also blessed with loved ones who are willing to go the extra mile to make travel and outing plans work with my limitations so I’m never left out. I have to spread things out now – but I am so grateful that I still can go and do at my own pace. Many with my diagnosis can’t. And many don’t have nearest and dearest like my husband, my daughter, my Al, or my Ginny, who all plan with me – and work with whatever conditions we have that day, be it walking, limping, or rolling in the chair.
I am truly blessed and loved.
As such, when I see pity in the eyes of people, like when I’m using my chair out at a concert, that can be hard to swallow. And goodness knows that Dr. Phil’s foolishness is just TOO MUCH. So I want to remind everyone that people with disabilities are just people like everyone else and we want to be treated like regular humans – because we are.
Turns out we’re pretty boring, huh? 😉
As always, onward.
Be well, everybody.
Grace and Blessings.