Do you know how sometimes there is an issue that is in your head and you just can’t let it go? That can be nerve-wracking at times, but to me, it also means that the issue is important. The following issue is one of those for me. In the middle of March, Dr. Phil had guests on his show who were a couple. My first post about this situation can be found here.
In the weeks since, there has been an incredible movement on Instagram. Hundreds of interabled couples have shared their pictures, their voices, and their stories in an effort to correct the misinformation that Dr. Phil said as fact on that episode of the show. I have been so moved by the efforts of these couples that I thought I would share more on this subject.
I have a friend on Facebook named Angela Wigglesworth Titcombe. We have never met in person, but she has been an integral part of the Ms. Wheelchair America program and she knows a guy who was one of my biggest mentors when I was in high school. (Hey Scott!) Angela is a wheelchair user and she got married recently. The following is what she had to say about Dr. Phil’s comments.
“#100outof100 is a movement of interabled couples’ responses to Dr. Phil’s quote on his show last week that, “100 out of 100 times ’it’ (relationships involving caregiving) doesn’t work.” I’ve watched the episode, and although the quote was completely unsubstantiated and deflating, I am thrilled that it has sparked a conversation which will hopefully change minds and encourage people of all ability levels.
This morning Justin and I were riding to work together and I asked him what is the hardest part of having a spouse with a disability. He very quickly responded, “Having to drive a minivan.” Insert my eye rolling and his proud chuckle here.
My husband is not my primary caregiver. We currently have a rotation of six caregivers who help meet my daily needs. But to say that Justin does not provide my care would be untrue. He’s the best sock putter-on-er in the world when my feet are cold. He’s the most skilled hair-fixer-er when the wind gets the best of my curls. He’s the greatest flipper-over-er when I need to be turned every night (except for Tuesday- we call it “No Turn Tuesday”). I’ve only listed three of the…let’s ballpark it…three thousand things he does for me. But I’d bet you three million, that he never imagined he’d have to do any of the things he does for the woman he would choose to be his wife. But that’s the bottom line…he made a choice.
I don’t know all the reasons why he chose me, although he has mentioned a couple of times that even though I’m not even close to being as witty as he is, I make him laugh. And the other day when we were on vacation and had far too much champagne, he said, “You’re fun.” Other than that, you’ll have to ask him directly. I do know that he didn’t choose me because I use a wheelchair or because he has to drive my apparently obnoxious minivan or because he’d end up being a caregiver. He just chose me and I chose him back because I utterly and completely adore him.
My hope for you, @DrPhil, is that you read at least one of these beautiful testimonies of #100outof100. I hope that it will remind you that at any moment ANYONE can become a part of the disabled community. I hope that you will reflect on your own marriage and choice and vows. I hope that you will always be an able-bodied individual, but should you or your spouse ever be challenged with a physical disability, I hope that your love is strong enough to be caregivers.” She then shared the following quote.
“Caregiving often calls us to lean into love we didn’t know possible.” -Tia Walker, author
This morning I watched this video on Youtube. I think it sums up the whole issue beautifully.
I hope Dr. Phil can broaden his perspective…