A carer’s story: the ignorance and stupidity in society 182



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I am a carer for two: my 90-year-old mum and my 40-year-old son. Mum’s problems were brought about by old age and outliving 3 husbands; my son’s problems were brought about by an idiot with no driving skills. My life is different to most my age – it is not hard, just busy, very busy.

Some people and their beliefs about disabilities and the aged is either pure ignorance or stupidity, I am not sure which. Here are some examples:

– When we were at the shopping centre, a girl about 9 years old darted across in front of my son. Her father gave her the “thumbs up” for jumping one of the crutches when my son was about to step. There were no apologies, no nothing.

– We had a child walking right for my son with his head down…he was sulking about something and the mother was watching him but didn’t call him, didn’t warn him about the impending collision, no doubt expecting my son to go round him but that was not an option. I had to grab his little arm and move him…then I got abused.

– Mum had to wait for 6 months for an appointment to see a specialist to remove confirmed cancer from both sides of her nose; they also had to do skin grafts. The hospital sent her home two hours after she woke up, I could not believe it. Ninety years old with dementia, blood pressure, a brain tumour, and numerous other complaints. I was not impressed: she was a mess. For 5 days she barely moved, barely ate, barely spoke – just slept. The public health system is dreadful but how are the aged supposed to pay for private insurance?

– We were at the local shopping centre a couple of weeks ago. My son had to use the toilets and we were about 10 steps away when a man with 4 girls went past us and straight into the disability toilet. We waited and waited then he came out and looked at my son like he shouldn’t be there, when in fact he was at fault – those girls were by no means babies and there are facilities there for parents – I get so tired of the ignorance of some.

– We went to a different hydrotherapy pool – we pulled round to the disability parking and there was a 4WD parked across both spots. He was getting dropped off but we had to wait for him to get his stuff out of the back seat and he then had to have a chat with the driver. He took his own sweet time and he was able to walk perfectly and his middle finger was in fine form. To some, ignorance can be bliss.

– Yesterday, we went to a well-known hydro pool, one lane only was reserved for the disabled but nobody bothers to enforce it. When it is full of children doing what children do, nobody says, “Hey parents, your children have access to the entire pool”. Nobody cares. Then we had to wait 30 minutes to get into the only disability shower, not because some poor bugger with no legs was using it, no, an entire family of Indian people came out of there. Mum, Dad and three kids, no disability with any of any of them.


Basically, a lot of people are clueless, and that is why we have to get as many laughs as humanly possible every day. I believe if you are able to get a laugh even in the worst of situations then you will be all right, like today I took a photo of Mum holding a sign saying “Just Married”, the look on her face in the photo is priceless, and the fact she has outlived 3 husbands makes it even funnier. I have pinned that sign on the back of her mobility scooter; everybody will be congratulating her tomorrow and she won’t know why! Funny! There is just me, Mum and my son here; Mum has to start cancer treatment soon. I don’t really agree with putting a 90-year-old through that, but it is her life, her nose, her decision.

Have you ever seen ignorance like the examples Christine gave above? What do you do when you see someone using something meant for the disabled? Discuss below!

Christine Massey

I am a 61-year-old dysfunctional child of a problem mother. I tend to look at the world with the philosophy "Laugh hard, you could be dead tomorrow!"

  1. I agree there are thoughtless people out there, I have done some work with the disabled and taking them on day trips brought all sorts of problems, from the toilet use you mention to thoughtless behaviour of every type, once I arranged ahead for tables in art centre to be made ready for us, it was a special day and we had with us seven or eight wheelchairs, and helpers to assist, they totally ignored my needs for the group, and we had to move all the furniture when we got there. Mostly though when we rang ahead we got excellent help. This is a very self centred society lately, we need to start caring more about others. My other pet hate was people talking to the carer and ignoring the person in the wheelchair. A damaged body or an old body does not always mean they can’t understand and converse.

  2. yes Christine is right. I go to the same shopping centres as her and im in a wheelchair and cop the same abuse from parents of cheeky children. ive had kids as young as 5 tell me to get out of the f…… way and the parents praise them and if I say anything im called an old bitch and worse.people using the handicap toilets for their kids when their is parents rooms there, high school kids using the toilets to change out of school uniform into ordinary clothes people parking in handicap parks and no stickers but security do do ocassional checks on that now. im treated as a second class citizen people even step in front of my wheelchair and glare at me and don’t move so I have to go round them., there are lots of lovely people at the shopping centres as well which make up for the nasty ones. I don’t like the way a lot of the young parents are ignoring their kids bad behaviour and seem to think bad language and bad manners are okay

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