you don't have to be perfect at self care to deserve medical treatment

Disabilities and chronic conditions often require difficult and time-consuming self care.

For instance:

  • People who are paralyzed have to pay very close attention to their skin to avoid dangerous pressure sores
  • People with CF have to do a lot of breathing treatments
  • A lot of people have to keep track of a very complicated medication schedule
  • Or any number of other things

A lot of medical complications are preventable with the right self care. But no one manages perfect self care, because self care is hard, and people are human and nobody is perfect.

Making a mistake that leads to an injury that was theoretically preventable sometimes pisses off doctors. It’s also something that people sometimes feel very ashamed of. This can be a deterrent to getting medical care.

It’s not right that it’s this way. You don’t have to be perfect to deserve medical care. Sometimes you make mistakes and need treatment. That’s part of the human condition, and it doesn’t mean you’re somehow less deserving.

Nondisabled people injure themselves doing careless things all the time. People who fall off bikes in a moment of carelessness and break bones get to have medical treatment without facing that kind of hate. So do people who burn themselves cooking. Doctors are capable of understanding that people make mistakes and get hurt — and people with disabilities deserve this understanding just as much as anyone else.

Everyone who needs medical care deserves it. Including people who make mistakes. Including people with disabilities who make mistakes. You don’t have to be perfect at self care to deserve treatment.

Rigorous attention to self care is important. So is medical support for needs that arise, including as the result of mistakes.