Saturday, July 31, 2021

Cripples Talking Cripple Talk



I can certainly understand how being around packs of cripples can be intimidating, what with all the acronyms and initialisms and other inside references flying around. It’s enough to make your brain explode if you’re a vert (which is what I call people who walk because it’s short for vertical).

Like for instance, I am crippled because of MD and so is one of my friends. But his MD isn’t anything like my MD. My MD is muscular dystrophy but his MD is macular degeneration, which means he’s legally blind. People always refer to my type of MD as MD but I never heard anyone call macular degeneration MD. I don’t know who decides these things.

And then there’s multiple sclerosis, which is called MS, which is why people always get it mixed up with MD.

And what about TBI, which stands for traumatic brain injury? Don’t confuse that with UTI, which stands for urinary tract infection. But there’s no such thing as a UBI or untraumatic brain injury. Maybe it’s because every brain injury is traumatic. But again, I don’t know who decides these things.

Perhaps the most popular initialism in cripple circles is SSI because it stands for Supplemental Security Income and that’s the Social Security fund through which a lot of cripples get the money they live off of.  SSI isn’t the same as SCI, which stands for spinal cord injury, although a lot of people who are crippled because of an SCI live off of SSI.

Just about every cripple uses some sort of DME, which stands for durable medical equipment, which is stuff like wheelchairs. And there’s a lot of talk about ADLs, which stands for activities of daily living, which is the stuff everybody (crippled or not ) does every day, like the putting on pants and brushing teeth. Cripples are often evaluated to see how much we suck at performing our ADLs so we can prove that we are crippled enough to receive stuff like DME and SSI.

So if you hang around cripple circles long enough, you’ll hear such dizzying banter as, “That guy with the TBI has a UTI.” Or, “That guy with the SCI really needs DME but he can’t afford it because he’s on SSI.”

And that’s just the beginning of it all. There are tons and tons more acronyms and initialisms in cripple circles. But rather than drive the poor verts nuts trying to keep it all straight, if we just lock all the cripples up in institutions then no one else has to worry about it. 

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