How many times I've heard those patronizing words since I've acquired my disability. In fact, it's so common I've taken to clocking people to see who gets the record.
So far the winner is a secretary at a local DME provider who "decided" which wheelchair was best for me in less than a minute. I suppose she had a chart in front of her which indicated the exact model to "prescribe" for a quadriplegic. When I brought up the issue of what medical folks thought I should have, she promptly replied "Oh no. The model I gave you is the one you need. Let me set up a fitting." Just like that. No wonder people just buy online.
Then there was the nurse who kept insisting I should take a medicine - which I was allergic to. Instead of checking my file, she kept interrupting me and then said "This is best for you. All quadriplegics take it." I shuddered and left the doctor's office without a prescription -or paying for the visit, considering they were apparently treating another quad who didn't have the allergy!
Then there are the hordes of (well meaning) friends and family who tell me what is best for me. "Stop working," they say. "And go on whatever the government gives you. If I were you, I wouldn't work."
To which I reply "Go ahead and stop working if you want. I'm not stopping you."
"But -" here it comes - "this is best for you."
Arggghhhh! Or how about this one? One friend handed me a Silvert's catalogue full of specialized clothing for the elderly and disabled and told me that I was being inconsiderate of those who assisted me if I didn't dress in these sack-like dresses "to make things easier". Oh, please. Why not just drape a plastic lawn bag over me in the morning, shower me in it since it's waterproof and whisk it off at night? That would be easier if we're going to throw all fashion sense out the window. Of course, when I protested, she used the words "This is best for you." And she added "Also for everyone else."
I hate when what's best for me is wedged in there with a guilt trip about it being best for everyone else too. But at least it's more honest. Because about 95% of the time when people tell me something is best for me, the bottom line is it's the easiest way to go about things for other people. What they really should be saying is "This is best for everyone else".
That list could include all kinds of things because, let's face it, having a quad around is work. It could lead to a scene where someone decides it's best for everyone if I "go somewhere where they can take care of me" or best if I "take a little pill so I'm not a burden anymore".
So the next time someone out there wants to label me as difficult, just stop and remember that those five little words are mighty dangerous for a quad who just agrees with them no matter whose mouth they pop out of. I'd like to suggest to people that they be more discerning before using them in situations they know nothing about, especially as concerns my health, life, clothing or decisions I make as an adult.
If they're listening (which I doubt) I really need to say "This is best for you."