It is Disability Insurance Awareness Month and the video below from Guardian got me thinking: Why is it that we always think that nothing will happen to us? That, maybe, we’ll be here, in this same physical condition and state, until we’re 90 years old?
The video says that when people hear the word “disability,” they associate the term as something that you are born with, rather than a life event that will impact your ability to work.
And it continues, “Disabilities are often caused by illness or injury at any age. One in four workers entering the workplace will be disabled before they retire,” Guardian’s video states.
Those are scary numbers. They’re meant to make viewers stop what they’re doing and think: Am I covered in case of an accident? And while I don’t believe myself to be an alarmist, it only took two seconds to remember a few stories from friends who have been partially “disabled” due to unexpected accidents. (So I guess the video worked.)
One of them went skiing and fell, then had problems with an injury to both a knee and coccyx. My friend had to work from home for about two full weeks because the knee had to be elevated at all times. Plus, my friend had to go on numerous occasions to acupuncturists, physical therapists, chiropractors and other doctors as part of the recovery.
My other friend slipped on ice and broke the left humerus. At the hospital, they had to insert a few screws. This was almost 10 years ago, but her arm was never the same. A few months ago, my friend started having a lot of pain where the screws were and went back to the hospital: they had to operate again because of an infection. My friend was hospitalized for about two weeks and spent another few days at home, recuperating.
I’m talking about people in their early thirties, the peak of their productive work lives, and about spending less than a month out of work. I can’t imagine what it would be like for someone to be out of work for longer than that, but there are cases. And maybe, that’s part of the problem, that I can’t “imagine” because I haven’t experienced it or haven’t spoken to other friends who have gone through the experience of being disabled for a short amount of time.
Even when we watch stories on the news about people having accidents doing mundane things, and see their struggle to overcome and get back on their feet or get used to their new normal, we might still not realize that, hey, that could happen to anyone, including me. And by “we,” I mean we as in all human beings. I don’t know if it’s part of our human nature to not realize that we could, at one point, become disabled, and loose our ability to be productive or to function.
We get so caught up in our daily lives and the safety we feel in our routines. Little things like someone taking our parking spot or cutting us off in traffic ruffle our feathers. But we fail to realize that everything is hanging in a dynamic balance and can change with the bat of an eye.
More than getting existential, this video made me seriously question my benefits and revise the details of my policy, again. Maybe by bringing a dose of reality, like Guardian is doing by telling people’s stories, we can reach out to more millennials and younger adults, who might think that they are going to live forever.