Stacy Ellingen

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Stacy’s Journal: Life’s Waiting Game

By: Stacy Ellingen
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As the saying goes, “patience is a virtue.”  Whether it’s waiting for a stop light to change or waiting for your first child to be born, waiting is a part of our everyday lives.  Yes, some people are better at it than others, but I think everyone is impatient to some extent.   I don’t have evidence to prove it, but, based on my experience, I certainly would bet people with disabilities wait more than most.  I often tell people that I feel like I spend the majority of my life waiting.

As I’ve explained in past entries, because I need assistance with most of my basic needs, I live a very scheduled life.  Everything from the time I get up in the morning, to the times I eat and use the restroom throughout the day, to the time I go to bed at night, everything is scheduled for a specific time.  If I need to use the restroom or am hungry or thirsty, I wait for my next assistant to come.  If someone is late or doesn’t show, I have to wait to get my basic needs taken care of.  Countless times, I’ve been stuck in bed for several hours because someone didn’t show.  When that happens, I text people, wait for replies, and then wait for someone to get here to assist me. 

Personal assistance isn’t the only thing I find myself waiting on.  Since I’m not able to verbally communicate using the phone, I rely heavily on email.  While email is great, it’s not an immediate form of communication.  People don’t immediately respond to emails.  Admittedly, very frequently, I get really frustrated when people take several days or even weeks to respond to emails.  It’s especially irritating when I’m trying to get answers to questions or obtain information about something important.   It’s difficult, but I try to remind myself that most people aren’t glued to the computer everyday like I am!

People with disabilities also have to be patient when they’re on the so called “system.”  Regardless of which government program it is, it often seems like it takes ages to get anything approved or done.  Whether it’s getting a piece of medical equipment approved or getting a personal care worker’s background check done, it takes a long time.  Some of the things that people have to wait on are often essential to them being able to live their life to the fullest.  When I switched to Self-Directed Personal Care through IRIS last summer, I had to live with my parents for close to a month while I waited for enough workers to get approved so that I could live independently in my apartment again.  Some of the background checks took nearly two months to complete—it was unbelievable!  That’s just one of the many examples I’ve had where I’ve had to wait for the government to process paperwork.

Undoubtedly, almost everyone finds waiting somewhat hard.   Having a “go-getter” personality, I find waiting for certain things incredibly difficult.  I’ve realized, though, that having a disability has made me more patient than many people.  I have no choice, but to be patient in many situations. 

What do you find it hard to wait for?

***The views expressed here are strictly those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of InControl Wisconsin, the Network or any of our sponsors. 


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