Throwback Thursday

Cartoon characters Mr. Peabody, the dog, and Sherman, his boy, in front of The Wayback Machine

One year ago in Disability Thinking: Hospital Blogging! Part 5

Last year, I spent a week in the hospital with pneumonia. I blogged about the experience, and exactly a year ago today, I posted this wrap-up after coming home. My hospital experiences have been mostly decent, so why do so many disabled people have terrible histories with hospitals? One of my theories is that in most case that go bad, everything starts out just fine. Then something happens … a staff member pisses off the disabled patient, or the disabled patient pisses off the staff. Trust and respect are almost immediately destroyed, and are replaced by the worst stereotypes the disabled patient and staff have of each other. Disabled people are nit-picky whiners, manipulative, secretive, over-vigilant, and spoiled. Doctors and nurses all hate disabled patients, disapprove of them, and want to bang them all in nursing homes at the least excuse. Once things start to go bad, it’s very hard to get them to go in the other direction. That’s what I think happens. I don’t know how to fix it, and I’m acutely aware that I’m lucky it hasn’t happened to me … yet.

Two years ago in Disability Thinking: Questions Not Asked

Yes, there is a pattern here and it seems like disability bloggers are well aware of it. Every April, we get a flurry of heartwarming news stories about disabled kids being invited to the high school prom by non-disabled students who are presumed to be doing it as an act of kindness or charity. And then a relatively small handful of disability bloggers and commenters try to remind everyone that disabled kids are human beings and not motivational characters in other peoples’ morality plays. We probably sound really sour and cynical. But I really think it’s hard to dismiss these more specific questions about the journalism side of the routine. It’s pointless and probably kind of mean to vent our frustration on the students, families, or maybe even the schools involved. But journalists are supposed to ask questions, even about “good news” stories, and these are important questions that could yield truly interesting answers. We’re all still waiting for a real story about disabled kids, high schools, and the prom.