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Kittens +  Grenade

stfu

Building had a fire drill today. Wash rinse repeat, apparently there is one every year. I did it last year, so I can vouch that yes, you do get dizzy going down the stairs because you constantly turn in one direction... and that's WITH the direction switch part-way down.

This year there was a problem. I still have a lot of trouble going down stairs. It HURTS. I don't have that range of motion back yet. No way in hell was I making it down 12 flights - I had trouble the last time with muscle fatigue, and I wasn't recovering from injury!

I brought it up with the HR manager, and it was no problem. There was a group of various people who for various reasons wouldn't be doing the drill (an elderly client, a coworker with a rib fracture from a recent car accident, someone with a bad knee), I could join them. We'd just stand in the stairwell until it was over.

It was fine, really... but... two people asked us what we were doing, and when the answer was "we're the disabled group," the answer was invariably an exasperated roll of the eyes. One of them even said "oh please," as she headed down the stairwell. They didn't even stick around long enough for any of us to retaliate. Though I did snark "Bite me" at the first.

I shouldn't be touchy about that. I really know I shouldn't. But it's a long-standing sore point. My feet have always been a hidden disability. I'm not sitting out because I'm lazy. I'm not shirking the annoying exercise that everyone else has to do. I'm not exactly unhappy about not doing it, but I would if I could.

It's just.... people look at me, and I'm not on crutches or in a wheelchair (anymore - o how short the coworker's memory must be), so obviously I'm perfectly able-bodied and therefore I'm just LAZY. Not Trying Hard Enough, TM.

Contribute to my sense of worthlessless a little more, why don't you. I'm sorry I don't have a big red H on the front of my forehead to tell you all the details of my physical condition.

Looking back, I should have given a smartass answer like "we're waiting for everyone else to leave so we can jump." Or something more specific, "ankle still healing." You never think of these things when it matters. I'd like to save them for next year, except next year I'll probably be able to do the drill with everyone else.

Comments

That really angers me. It's not their right to judge you at ALL, let alone for a physical disability. Neither is it their job to decide whether or not you qualify as "able-bodied" or not.

You know, this qualifies as harassment. You have been insulted and made to feel uncomfortable as a result of a physical disability, and it sounds like 1) this happens a lot and 2) you have many witnesses who have been similarly harassed.

I'm not saying file a lawsuit. I'm saying that if you can't take it any more, you can go to your superior, open with "I'm not going to file a lawsuit over this, BUT," and explain the situation. Unfortunately, without knowing your environment better I don't know whether or not that would help or just increase the resentment. :/
*shrugs* It hasn't happened here a lot, really just this one time. But I've gotten it a lot throughout my life, at school, at theme parks...

Theoretically I should bring it up with my boss, because it did make me uncomfortable, but I've already done that once (ended up being over a complete misinterpretation) and I don't want it to be a pattern... I don't go LOOKING for things to get offended at (honest), but it's gonna seem like that if I pipe up.

Hm. Maybe I can ask our HR person to send out a brief explanation of why we were there, so people know there are real physical issues involved. I like that idea. Hmmm.
I like the HR idea. And have the safety officer explain that if the rest of the line gets held up because someone with bad ankles has to try negotiating stairs, it makes it that much more likely that someone else is going to die.

Nothing like putting a bit of fear into people.
Ngaha. Of course, if there was a real emergency, I'd be negotiating the stairs anyway, hazard or not. ;)

Part of the problem was that no one stuck around long enough for an explanation, from us or the safety officer.