I have never had a disability.
Unless you consider starting sixth grade at a middle school in a new wealthier school district than you actually live, the same year you get glasses, braces and your skin strikes oil. Not to mention living with old-fashioned religious grandparents who have never let you try Twinkies or watch television. Ever.
Since I doubt I get any real disability credit for that, I'm going to revert back to my first statement.
I have never had a disability.
Today though while new windows for my house were being installed we encountered a nest of wasps behind one of the decorative shutters. I grabbed my garden hose, put it on center sprayer and let'er rip.
That's when a sharp stabbing pain shot through my wrist.
One of the little bastards got me.
Bad new: I'm allergic to little stingy bugs.
Good news: I had a swig of Benadryl left in my medicine cabinet.
When the angry little pests flew off, I threw down the hose and dashed into the house to toss whatever was left in the (hopefully not expired!) container down my throat and made a mental note to get more. Today.
Even with the medication my wrist swelled up a bit and from my finger tips to a third of the way down my forearm started to stiffen and ache.
I honestly can't remember the last time a wasp got me. I contend with a lot of insect-life in my home and yard. One could actually say I invite it by planting so many enticing flowering plants.
Either way I spent the rest of the day (and now into the night) trying to not move, bend, flex or otherwise use my left hand. Thank god it wasn't my right one!
While doing the typical mundane tasks I normally do without thought (like dressing and undressing, carrying things, etc.) I found myself as inconvenienced as if my wrist were sprained or broken.
Or possibly missing.
It got me to thinking about what life must be life for someone who is missing whole body parts or has serious disabilities.
Now this might be a prime time to include a link or a video clip of a woman born without arms or legs who heroically lives a fully functioning life and has a healthy normal child to raise as well. Or a book about a man who has climbed serious mountains while being completely blind. Or a news article about a person who lost a leg in a tragic accident and has gone on to win national marathons with a prosthetic leg.
But I won't.
Instead I'm going to touch on a much more controversial topic.
And that would be, if or when is it appropriate to discontinue a pregnancy with a child who's life quality will be severely compromised due to being expected to be born with a severe disability.
When I was young, naive and deeply religious the answer was easy. Never.
Every life is unique and valuable and they and the people around them will benefit from the challenges that God chose to give them.
As I've gotten older, wiser (or at least hopefully less naive)and have moved away from religion, the answer is not so black and white.
A book called "Rethinking Life and Death" by Peter Singer played a large part in throwing my previous opinions out the window.
I had to admit that on a case-by-case basis there were many surprising situations that could not be easily categorize someone as being "alive" or "dead" or "deserving" to live or die. Add the amazing technological advancements in medicine and the varied shades of gray were staggering.
Considering how a normal existence can be so challenging that many people choose to end their own lives, it makes you wonder if it's even fair to bring a new person into the world severely less than adequate.
Let's face it, things go wrong sometimes when a living thing is being made. Sometimes the end result doesn't even seem human. I refuse to believe that a God "chose" this for a person and their family. It's just science. And science screws up royally sometimes.
Before you get all "godly" and preachy, really think about life would be like being deformed. Or mentally incompetent. Or being a human vegetable.
Would you really want to live like that? Wouldn't you want someone to have prevented you from all the pain, anguish and sorrow of having been born like that?
Once you are alive and living, certainly many things can and do go wrong. Accidents and diseases disfigure and maim people every day.
But if you could prevent that, wouldn't you?
And if you happen to believe that there are "spirits" that a God wants to live on this earth and you prevent them from being born in a half-life body, wouldn't God just give them another shot at another body? Possibly with an entire body and a whole mind?
Obviously there would need to be some serious thought put into what is considered a "severe" enough disability to end a life, and I doubt very much that anyone would put being one handed on the list for the chopping block. But, it does make you stop and think.
Now where's my Benadryl?