C is for…

C is for CP (Cerebral Palsy)

The letter C in yellow superimposed over the Blogging for A to Z challenge logo
The letter C in yellow superimposed over the Blogging for A to Z challenge logo

I am life long disabled (a full time wheelchair user) because I have Cerebral Palsy or CP.  I wouldn’t be who I am today if I didn’t have it so what else would I write about for C in what I’m calling the A to Z of Emma? (well, actually there was something thought about but then I realised that topic under a different name would do for a letter I was stumped on so…)

Here are five things I’d like people to know about CP

  1. CP is caused at or shortly after birth and is brain damage. There are many different types and no two people with CP are the same even if they have the same classifcation. I have spastic CP and it was caused by being born six weeks early and deprived of oxygen during birth. There has been a lot of debate about whether my CP is spastic diplegic CP or spastic quadriplegic CP. Diplegia/quadriplegia relate to the parts of my body affected and I know from friends with CP debates about those classifications are common.
  2. There is no cure and if I were offered one I would turn it down – I’ve literally never known any different than a life on wheels and I’m not sure I’d know how to cope if I suddenly didn’t need them any more.
  3. When people ask me what I’d do if I didn’t have CP or if I make a choice and they question “is that the choice you’d make if you didn’t have CP?” I get confused and can’t answer. Because I do have CP and Emma without CP would be a completely different person with different life experiences and needs and probably likes and dislikes so the question is moot. It’s a bit like me saying to someone non-disabled “you want coffee? Would you still want coffee if you were disabled?” It wouldn’t make any sense.
  4. I do not suffer from CP and I’m not “wheelchair bound”.  I have CP.  How can I suffer from something that’s my normal and that I’ve not known any different to?  And my wheelchairs set me free.  They’re what gives me my mobility and my independence (I can walk a few steps but use my chairs full time by choice for safety and independence walking couldn’t give me. And I can get out of my chair.  The only wheelchair user for whom wheelchair bound would be appropriate is the one who practices bondage using their chair. And that’s not me.
  5. Having CP is OK and I don’t need your pity.  A lot of the time what I find hard isn’t the physical barriers that can get in my way (I have lots of practice spotting those before they become and problem and working round them where possible) but the attitudes of people around me the way I’m treated. Last year a theatre I’d been to a lot had a broken lift when we went for my birthday treat. I was left feeling I could never go again not because the lift had been broken but because of the way I was spoken to by multiple members of their staff, how they implied not seeing the show was my choice and acted as though their having a lift for me to use was a luxury.


5 thoughts on “C is for…”

  1. Hi Emma, nice to meet another disabled writer and someone else is doing the A-Z Challenge. I’m disabled myself although I don’t have CB and one of the hardest things is people’s attitudes. I once went to a photography class and had to work in a group, and two people blatantly ignored me and wouldn’t talk to me all because I was in a wheelchair. So I can understand what you mean.

  2. Bravo, Emma! I love your attitude!I’m a writer, too. I agree whole heartedly with you that we each are complete, talented people. I feel like I’m richer for meeting you.

    Keep on writing,

  3. Thank you for your comment in my blog.
    Nice to meet you, Emma.

    I’ve found #4 in this post especially enlightening. Thank you for sharing this.

  4. Fab post. I don’t think of myself as disabled – i have an assistance dog and a continuous glucose interstitial monitor to read my blood sugar because it crashes for no reason and unexpectedly, and quickly. Leading to possible unconsciousness. My little dog is trained to tell me before it happens so I can take some glucose. I’m so lucky that she is cute as I think most prejudice I may have had is diverted into love of the dog, that looks like an eternal puppy. The worst was in a taxi, he had me in the back and I couldn’t escape and he shouted at me the whole journey about how i shouldn’t have a dog in his taxi. It’s not at all as difficult as being in a wheelchair and the access difficulties of that situation are unbelievably bad in the UK because of all the old buildings. We tool Lola to a theatre recently to see Private Peaceful and the staff visibly blanched as we entered as the show is very noisy with gunfire etc. One chased after me and asked if they could keep Lola with them in the staff room – nice try, but she’s with me for a reason! She was fine, she is bomb-proof, literally so, we found! Nice to meet you. Liz http://www.lizbrownleepoet.com

  5. Great post, Emma. My Spanish neighbours have a little boy, Miguel, who was damaged at birth and has what I think is CP. He’s very badly affected and can’t talk. I hope he enjoys his life as much as you do yours. Good luck with the A-Z

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