Episode 11 of Growing Up Fisher is about secrets, but not just "Daddy's Little Secret". Every member of the Fisher family has a secret and they all are too worried to disclose it. Mel has the reputation of being a tough guy so when he gets a strain in his low back and is in intense pain, he tries to hide his pain. He sneaks into Joyce's house to use her tub and then next thing you know Joyce is also in the bathroom acting as Mel's mental counselor that she is going to school to be. Well, I take that back, the mental counselor that she was going to school to be. Joyce dropped out of school but keeps it a secret because she is afraid of looking like a bad example to the kids. Katie on the other hand is still trying to chase Anthony so she gets a job working with him. Mel had already told Katie that she could not have a job at this point. Katie of course didn't listen and got the job and then kept it a secret. Henry was hanging out with older 8th graders and when he finds out that the 8th graders think his mom is a MILF, he tries to put on a tough guy front. All of these issues come to a climax in which there is a "Fisher Family Tell All" moment at the end of the show and everyone just goes back to being themselves.
Mel Takes His Issues to the Tub: After a trip to the MD for his back, Mel finally decides he needs to do something. He decides to sneak into Joyce's house and start soaking a warm tub each day while everyone else is at school. Joyce keeps cutting class and finding Mel in the tub. Next thing you know she is giving him counceling sessions. Mel begins to explain that he has too many things to worry about, "I have to take care of two kids, you and now this little furry guy." After Mel says this they pan down to Elvis on the floor licking something. This cracked me up. Maybe its just because I have a dog and I know exactly what he is talking about. Mel then states that he appreciates Joyce's help because at least now he's not "screeching like a hunted monkey.". Never heard of this analogy but I may have to use it someday. Later while in the tub, Katie opens the door and Elvis pops out from under the water all covered in bubbles. Again this may just be a dog lover thing but I thought it was absolutely hysterical.
Pressure to Prove: In this episode, Mel hits on an issue that a high percentage of blind/VI including myself struggle with daily. The pressure to prove to everyone that we are not less capable or less of a human being because we are blind. Just like Mel, I am pretty hard on myself with regards to proving my abilities. I don't know how much the average person in society realizes the constant internal and psychological struggle that goes on in the head of someone that has a "disability". In particular, "blindness," where it is essential to come to the acceptance that there are times you will need to ask for assistance. Where does the line between maximizing your potential by utilizing resources and being less able as a person get drawn in the minds of others in society? Many times, we never really know the answer to this question until it is already too late and that line is drawn. Once someone draws this line in their head, the only way to alter it is to prove to them that their perception is incorrect. I know this to be true. I have been perceived as being incapable or unsafe many times and have been forced to prove myself.
To demonstrate my above point, I will give a few examples. Both of these examples have to deal with my physical therapy schooling but it has happened countless other times in my life.
Example 1 Entry into PT school: After applying to four PT schools and attending interviews at the school's that had it as part of their selection process, I got a phone call from one school and here's how it went.
Me: (Phone rings I pick up) "Hello"
PT School: "Hi, may I speak to Aaron"
Me: "This is Aaron"
PT School: "Hi Aaron my name is so and so from _______ Physical Therapy program, I just wanted to inform you that based upon your application and your interview you would definitely get accepted but your status is pending based upon the Standards of Practice that our curriculum has created. You will receive a ether in the mail explaining this in the next few days"
Me: (Not knowing how to respond) "Oh, ok thanks for the call, I will look for that in the mail."
A day or so later I got a letter from this PT School and pulled out the Standards of Practice Letter. I began to read
In accordance with the American with Disability Act (ADA), the Department of Physical Therapy at ____ , has created these Standards of Practice for the profession of Physical Therapy:
1. Vision: We believe vision is an essential tool needed for the profession of Physical Therapy....
The letter went on but I stopped reading. I had read all Ineeded to read from that school. It was very unfortunate that they felt that way. I'm not sure what ADA laws they had been reading but this document was definitely not in accordance with the real ADA. I did not respond back to them by phone but a few weeks later I saw on CNN or somewhere that a totally blind person had just completed and graduated from University of Wisconsin ed School. I found the article online and printed it up and placed it in the mail to the Department of Physical Therapy of the program. Never heard back from them but I am sure they read it.
Example 2 Patient Evaluations in PT School: While in my second year of PT school, I was in a class and we were asked to evaluate a patient in groups of three. People in each group were asked to split up parts of the evaluation and perform the assessment on the patient and then as a group complete the evaluation write up. I on the other hand was pulled aside later and asked to complete an additional evaluation on a patient on my own. The professor didn't have confidence that I was safe treating patients because of my vision. Despite, realizing this was completely unfair and shouldn't be allowed, I completed the additional evaluation, passed it and in my practice as a PT have yet to have a patient fall and injure themselves on my watch.
These are just two examples in my life when I have been questioned or forced to try to prove myself to be of the same ability of my sighted counterparts. I am sure Mel went through a ton of this living during the period that he lived and going through law school. The days where people encounter something unthinkable and convince themselves that it is impossible are not over.
Proving My Ability to Practice Safely in PT - Pt evaluation on own that everyone else didn't need to do.