Thursday, 26 April 2012

When all else fails, teach people.

Chiari Carnival
Theme: When It Rains, It Pours.
Topic: Dealing with difficult people in addition to dealing with a difficult illness.

So since my chiari diagnoses it seems I attract difficult people. I need a sign, a big one, with flashing lights and maybe a loud noise that reads "I HAVE SOMETHING WRONG WITH ME.....HONESTLY"

I remember a day in the middle of summer 2010. I nipped to the shop to pick up some fish and chips. It was a nice day and I was taking it slowly, had a wonder around the supermarket across the road whilst waiting for the chippy to quieten down. Half way round the shop I noticed a lady, about 55 following me. She was looking at me strangely, but I didn't think too much of it. Maybe I had something on my face.
I went to the chip shop and the lady went and read a sign outside the church. Came out and she was still there, still looking at me. By now I was feeling a little strange. I walked to my car and as I was strapping Jacob into his car seat in the back of the car I heard a shout. Shockingly it was the lady.

"Hey, what do you think you are doing?" She shouted, with everyone nearby turning around.
"I'm sorry, what?" I replied, choosing not to shout.
"What do you think you are doing?" Raising her voice further.
"Going home" I replied, worrying for a second I had magically managed to open someone else's car and not noticed.
"No, you are not. If you get in the car and attempt to move, I will phone the police"
By this point I had walked a few steps towards her, not to be threatening, but to look at my number plate. Sighing with relief when I saw my distinctive number plate.
"This is my car, and I am fully insured. I am not sure what the problem is." I said, suddenly confused again after my short moment of relief.
"Drinking and driving invalidates your insurance and driving, not only with a small child in the car, but in a area near a school is dangerous" She said shouting again and clearly enjoying her small audience, and her moment of public service.
"I don't drink" I said, suddenly realising what was happening.
"I watched you" She replied, "I saw you almost fall over in Tesco, on more than one occasion and you were walking very slowly"
"I have a condition that causes me to wobble and stumble occasionally."
"Really?" She said, looking around at her audience who were looking less mob like and more worried about what was going to happen
"Yes", I said
"I still think I should call the police" She said, quieter now.
"Call the police" I said "However, would you bother if I was older? I may only be 21 but I could still be ill. I have something called Chiari Malformation. It causes the lower part of your brain to slip out of the base of your skull. The lower part of your brain controls balance, hence my falling. I am waiting to have brain surgery, to try and stop me getting worse. I am sick and the police are not the people to cure me. However, if you think they could help me right now, maybe train my brain to be smaller or teach it to balance me, then go ahead. However, police work is not quite neurosurgery"
I looked around at the 6 or 7 people who were looking at me, mouths open. I suddenly felt embarrassed, I was rude and didn't need to speak to a stranger in that way. I pride myself on being polite. However, my guilt vanished in a second. The audience clapped, congratulated me and walked away. 7 more people who knew about chiari, I though.
"Sorry" mumble the lady, suddenly quite, for the first time.

So, how did I deal with a difficult person. Well, I educated them. I told more people about chiari, people who may well have gone home and told family about my outburst. Sure, they probably didn't remember the name of chiari, or look up about it. However, I helped them change their mindset about people with difficulties. So, when all else fails, I do what I do everyday of my life, I teach people!

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