RLS Drama: Parking in the Handicap Space
Something really interesting happened to me recently. I can look back at it now and laugh, but at the time it was happening, it was anything but funny.
Using a handicap parking space
I had recently recovered from COVID, so my immune system was shot, and I was battling throat pain. It got so bad one night at about 10 PM that I decided to drive to the pharmacy for some Vitamin C, honey, lemons, and the like to boost my immune system and also help with the throat pain.
On my way, my legs started acting up, so once I got to the parking lot I just navigated into the handicap permit parking, as it was the very first spot before my legs lost control and I hit something.
I got out. The entire parking lot was empty. It was late at night, and I didn't plan on staying too long.
Someone called a tow truck on me
I went into the pharmacy and gathered everything I needed, and when I got back out, there was a towing vehicle close to my car with another vehicle parked by mine.
I was so confused. Apparently, a lady had called to say I was parked in the handicap space without a permit, and she had a permit and wanted to park there. Fun fact: there were 5 other handicap spaces there, and the whole lot was empty, as it was — again — 10 o'clock at night! But this lady chose to call a tow truck instead.
After I explained why I parked there, the tow truck driver was super upset with her. He told her that even if I didn't have a reason, there was a whole lot with so many empty spaces.
Applying for a handicap parking permit
After that incident, I made up my mind to get a handicap parking permit. The reason for these permits is to help people with disabilities and other health concerns move around public spaces safely.
Now, you would think people like me with chronic restless legs syndrome (RLS) certainly fit the bill, yes? Absolutely not! It's been an uphill battle convincing the city that restless legs syndrome is a handicap, even with doctors' and specialists' notes.
It's up to us to create change
However, this is one fight I am not ready to give up on. I am like a dog with a bone once I decide to fight for a cause I believe in. I don't believe in backing down, because if I don't fight for it, who will?
It's up to us to cause positive disruptions in the seams of society and be a force for change so that our children and the generation to come won't have to suffer as we did and do. If the one good thing I've done is get the city to start issuing handicap permits to people with restless legs syndrome, my heart will be quite satisfied.
Have you successfully applied and received a disabled ('handicap') parking permit for your restless legs syndrome (RLS)? Are you still in the process of obtaining a disabled parking permit? Share your experience with us in the comments below.
Do you feel comfortable advocating for yourself in a medical setting?