The Healing Horse, Ch. 24, Scene 10: Karen Helps Mama

image of red valentine heartSometimes, when we learn to love and accept ourselves we can love others more than we knew we could. Love rises to a new level, and we find that acting from that place of love changes how we live. In this scene thirteen-year-old Karen takes a big step toward growing up into the kind, loving person she hopes to become by seeing her Mama’s love for her as something she can return.

(Image by Kurt Kaiser, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Scene 10: Karen Helps Mama

When Karen got off the school bus, that afternoon, she did not hurry to visit Pegasus. She hurried into the house and found her Mama in the kitchen.

“Mama,” she asked, “can I help you fix dinner?”

“Yes, of course, my Krana Layala.”

“And can I help you clean up afterwards?”

“Sure, but why are you being so nice to me? Don’t you want to go for a ride on Pegasus?”

“If it’s okay with you, I’ll visit Pegasus after we clean up from dinner.”

“As long as you don’t stay out too late. But you still haven’t told me why you’re being so nice to me.”

“Because I know how much you do for me, Mama, and I want to be as kind to you as you are to me.”

Mama hugged her and they both cried for joy.

Original text ©2022 by Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.

The Healing Horse, Ch. 24, Scene 9: Karen and Tammy Reflect on Their Human Value

image of alternative handicapped accessible sign

After the brutal clinic and eval, Karen turns to her friend, Tammy, for sympathy, but Tammy had an even worse experience at the hands of the experts. Nevertheless, they do not let this undermine their sense of self-worth.

(Image courtesy of The Accessible Icon Project, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Scene 9: Karen and Tammy Reflect on Their Human Value

The next day, Kitten rolled Tammy’s wheelchair into the bustling lunchroom and took a seat beside her. She felt subdued after her ordeal the previous afternoon, and she wanted to talk about it with someone her own age.

“Tammy, you’ll never guess where I was yesterday.”

Tammy answered by giggling, “Disneyland!”

“No! I spent the day in clinic and eval!”

“Oh, no!” Tammy groaned. Then she asked, “Could you please help feed me?”

In between taking bites for herself, Kitten helped Tammy eat and tried to think of a way of telling her about what had happened the day before.

After a few minutes, Tammy said, “Karen, I can tell something’s really bothering you. Could you tell me what it is? Is it the clinic and eval?”

Karen told Tammy about her fear during the morning, about the horrors of the clinic, about Mama rescuing her, about what she overheard in the ladies’ room, and about the terrible evaluation in the afternoon. She even said a little about visiting Pegasus, but she kept his talking a secret.

Tammy then revealed what happened during her own clinic.

“Kitten, these experts have no idea what it’s like to be disabled. They’ve been able to use their limbs all their lives to do exactly what they want, and they don’t have any sympathy for us.

“When I was in clinic, the day before yesterday, they stripped me naked, except for my braces and underwear, and then they locked my leg braces at the knee and tried to make me walk. Dr. Lambert made Mrs. Pinzetti stand behind me. She held me around my torso brace and pushed my feet forward with her feet. On the one hand, they insist that brain damage is permanent, but then they say this is going to make my brain repair itself. They know my knees won’t straighten out, and my legs can’t bear weight. Besides, I don’t have any control over them. They flail about when I’m upright, just like when I’m in my chair. I was terrified that, with my legs and feet flying around, Mrs. Pinzetti would drop me. I almost cried, but then I looked over at Mommy, and she was already crying!

“I was so upset, I started screaming and told them all off. I told Mrs. Pinzetti that I thought she was a cruel woman who enjoyed hurting children, and that was why she had become a PT. And I told Dr. Lambert that I knew he just wanted to collect fees for unnecessary surgeries. I really let them have it. Finally, Mommy made them put me back into my chair and took me home.

“They’re like a pack of wolves! They surround you. The alpha wolf chews off the best piece of meat for himself, and then the others tear you apart. Dr. Lambert is the leader with his MD and PhD. He uses his surgeries to cut off parts for himself. That’s how he makes money. And then the others take whatever’s left and divide it among themselves.

“I see how tired my mother is every morning, when she wakes me up. She spends forty minutes just putting on my braces. Then she dresses me, feeds me, cleans my teeth, and brushes my hair—all before she has time for her own cup of coffee. Did you know that my daddy abandoned my mother to raise me and Sandy when he found out I was paralyzed? With my father gone, I wonder who will take care of me if Mommy can’t. That’s what really worries me. I don’t want to kill my mother taking care of me, and then end up in an institution, anyway.

Karen touched Tammy’s shoulder in sympathy, as her friend’s feet began beating on her footrests. Tammy’s words had taken Karen out of her trance of negativity. They had reached into Karen’s heart and enlightened her.

“Tammy, my daddy isn’t with us, either. He died in a car crash when I was a baby, so my mother has carried the burden of raising me all alone. I don’t know which would be worse, to be abandoned or to lose your husband to death. People don’t understand how hard it is to raise a child alone, much less to raise a handicapped child alone. It hurts me, when I see Mama doing everything she does to help me with my learning disability and my physical needs. I try to make it easier for her by being good. She works too hard. She never has a moment’s rest. I can see it in her eyes.

“Last night, she had to help me with my bath. I was exhausted from the clinic and eval. She looked furious, and I asked if she were angry with me. Of course, she denied it, but I knew that if I were not disabled, then life would be much easier for her. Every morning, no matter how tired she is, she puts my hair into a ponytail, ties my shoes, zips my zippers, buttons my cuffs and makes me a full breakfast, so I’ll have the strength to get through the day. But at night, I overhear her crying on the phone when she talks to her friends from the PTA. She’s so frustrated and upset that she can’t make me better. Mama would give her right arm to make me well, again. She can’t get over her feeling of guilt for giving me the DPT shot. During the day, she’s always smiling and never mentions it, but I know inside she feels as if she committed a crime and that my condition is her fault.”

“Tammy, who you are, and your worth, have absolutely nothing to do with what you need. The experts don’t see you as a person, but I do. You don’t have to earn the right to exist.”

Tammy sat up straight in her chair. For a moment, her limbs became absolutely still as she took a long, slow breath. This was a moment of enlightenment, a moment of illumination, as she glowed with an inner light.

For a moment, they were both silent. Karen knew that the idea she had just voiced was the most important idea she would ever have. She and Tammy were humans with disabilities. Their needs did not define them or reduce their worth.

Original text ©2022 by Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.

 

Tips on How to Run a Successful Business, Even if You’re Disabled, by Jillian Day

[Editor’s note: Jillian Day created 508Assist.org to help people all across the web make their sites accessible to individuals with disabilities. She was inspired to start 508Assist.org when a close family member, who happens to have a visual impairment, had trouble finding a dinner recipe online that he could read easily. When she’s not chasing after her little ones, Jillian enjoys being outside, whether she’s fishing, hiking, or geocaching with her family.]

Tips on How to Run a Successful Business, Even if You’re Disabled, by Jillian Day

Starting a business can be one of the most challenging things you can take on in life. After all, you’re never guaranteed success, no matter how much effort you put into it. And if you’re disabled, you may face challenges that make getting your new business off the ground seem unlikely. However, that’s not to say it’s impossible. So here are some helpful tips to help you move forward on your entrepreneurial journey.

Get the right funding.

This is, perhaps, the most challenging step for business owners with limited capital. However, concerning as it may be, there are many avenues that you can explore to get the funding you need. You may even be eligible for business grants specifically for people with disabilities.

Find business opportunities that suit your needs.

If you are undecided about which industry you should go into, it’s better to start with the most straightforward ideas first. There are many businesses you can operate from the comfort of your home, instead of finding work where the environment may not suit your needs. For example, pet sitting, tutoring, freelancing, and virtual assistant work are just a few of the businesses you can do from home.

Create a business plan

Once you’ve decided on what you want to do, it’s always a good idea to start with a business plan, so you know where you’re headed. Of course, you’ll need to create a solid marketing plan to ensure your business gets the visibility it deserves. As part of your marketing strategy, your business needs a stellar-looking website. This job is best left to the professionals, such as the experienced web designers at Electric Silk. If you would like to try your hand at creating interesting infographics for your website, then by using free infographic templates you can choose from a range of templates and then add the colors, text, and background elements of your choice.

Take care of your own needs in the process.

If you’re living with a disability that requires you to get sufficient rest every day, you’ll also need to consider your personal needs. Again, it’s more about paying attention to what you need to function at your best, regardless of your situation in life. Then, when you’ve done what is necessary to feel better within yourself, you’re sure to become an even better business owner because you’ve taken the rest and space your body and mind require.

Lean on the advice and support of others

Many new owners rely on the advice and support of a trusted mentor to help guide them forward. Besides this, it’s a good idea to have someone you can confide in during times of discouragement, so you don’t end up quitting before you’ve even begun!

You may put off starting a business if you feel that you’re already at a disadvantage. However, it’s important to remember that the world needs your unique talents and ideas just as much as the next person’s. So, while your journey might look a bit different from the average Joe’s, you can still achieve your business dreams with the right resources and assistance to help you along in the difficult times.

Visit the Whispers of Hope website to get all the support, encouragement, and guidance to push on despite the obstacles you may be facing.

Image via Pexels

The Healing Horse, Ch. 24, Scenes 7 & 8: Two Brilliant Insights

image of blue sky at dawnI combined these two scenes because they are so short, and because they add up to an important message that every child with a disability needs to hear: find your own wisdom, and do not expect so-called experts to understand that you are growing up. Many of them will pigeonhole you as a helpless child, even though you are not. They cannot see past their ableism.

(Image courtesy of See page for author, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Scenes 7 & 8: Two Brilliant Insights

Mama parked in the driveway, and Karen followed her into the house.

“You should rest, now, my Krana Layala. You’ve been through a lot today.”

“I know, Mama, but I keep thinking about the experts and how they want to limit me. I need help understanding what happened.”

“You know as much or more as I do, my girl. Maybe you should take a walk and let your thoughts settle.”

They hugged, and Kitten headed for the stables. She needed to find her own wisdom, and she needed to talk with Pegasus.

 

At the stables, Pegasus asked, “Did you have that meeting?”

“Yes, and they looked at my whole being as if I were something of no value.”

“They don’t know what value is, do they? Nor do they have any insight into the repercussions this will have later in your life.”

“You’re right. They see me as a thing, not as a growing person. You would think that, with their education, they would have some compassion for people with disabilities. Instead, they have no respect at all for us and cannot imagine that someday we will grow up and need to care for ourselves.”

Pegasus replied, “Compassion is a trait that can be developed, but it isn’t something that a person learns from a book. It certainly isn’t part of what the experts learn. You don’t need experts who want to pigeonhole you. You need adults who can guide you.”

She felt her intuition light up. “You’re right, Pegasus. That’s exactly what the problem is. And it’s the same for every kid with a disability. The experts cannot imagine us growing into functioning adults. They think we’ll stay babies forever.”

They parted, and as she walked home, she looked up into the clear, blue sky, and said to herself, My potential is as unlimited as the sky, and I am on my way to fulfilling it. I will not let any phony experts stand in my way.

Original text ©2022 by Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.

The Healing Horse, Ch. 24, Scene 6: Mama Explains What She Learned

image of car radio
After an exhausting day, Karen and Mama make their way home. Mama thinks she can manage the situation at school, and Karen wisely chooses to look at the day as a learning experience that she can grow from.

(Image courtesy of sv1ambo, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Scene 6: Mama Explains What She Learned

As they walked, Mama said, “Oy veh! What a mess! I told Principal Stephie what you’d overheard in the ladies’ room, and for sure you won’t have to deal with Mrs. Pinzetti and Mrs. DeLuca, anymore. She can get rid of them. She thought something funny was going on. She just didn’t know what. So, now she knows. But these doctors, they don’t work for her, and there’s nothing much she can do about them. It’s up to me to keep telling him no, we don’t want his surgeries. I mean Dr. Lambert. This Dr. Muñoz sounds like he’s got his own screws loose. But he’s another one she can’t do anything about. She feels terrible about the situation, but she’s stuck with it. But it’s not all bad. She can ask the school board, again, for the money to hire a qualified special ed teacher. She has a meeting with them, tonight, so we should know, soon, and if that doesn’t work out, then she says she has the money to hire a tutor for you, anyway. She knew you were alone in that classroom, but she thought since you’re so determined to learn, that you would use the time to study on your own. She didn’t know you study at home, every night. Ach! Next time, you must tell Mama if there is a problem you cannot solve on your own. We don’t want to go through all this, again, not ever!”

They got into Mama’s car, and on the drive home Mama quietly listened to the radio.

Kitten looked out the window and thought to herself, Now, I can recover from this unpleasantness. Nothing those people said is going to hurt me. They are not going to decide my fate or take away my dreams. They are not going to define who I am. This has been a miserable day, but I am going to treat it as a learning experience, and I will never treat another human being the way these experts treat me.

Original text ©2022 by Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.

The Healing Horse, Ch. 24, Scene 5: Mama Coaxes Karen

image of man fighting off a wolf

How can highly-educated professionals shame a child like this? What can a mother do to make it right?

(Image courtesy of Fox Film Corporation, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Scene 5: Mama Coaxes Karen 

“My Krana Layala,” Mama said, as they walked down the school corridor toward the office. “Let’s take a few moments to talk things over. That was a very demanding and taxing experience for you, today. Now, there is only a half hour of school left. Perhaps you just want to go home? We can arrange that, if you want. All I have to do is tell your teacher or the main office. You just say the word, sweetheart.”

“Yes, Mama. I’ve had enough school for one day. I’m ready to go home.”

“And one other thing, my Krana Layala. Why didn’t you tell me about being left alone in an empty classroom? I thought you had a tutor. If I’d known the truth, I could have helped.”

“I was ashamed, Mama. I thought I must’ve done something to offend the teacher, and that was why she never came back. So, I tried to make the best of the situation and teach myself on my own.”

They arrived at the school office. Mama shook her head and then took a deep breath before opening the door.

“I need to see Principal Stephie right now!” Mama said to the school secretary.

The secretary opened her eyes wide, but before she could speak, the principal came out of her office and asked, “Katie, what’s wrong? Please, come in and tell me.”

Karen watched silently, as the principal led Mama into her private office and closed the door. Sitting in a chair, she stared at the office door and thought, Mama will know what to do. I should’ve told her long ago.

After a while, the door opened and Mama came out, followed by the principal. They shook hands, and Karen followed Mama to their car.

Original text ©2022 by Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.

The Healing Horse, Ch. 24, Scene 5: Mama Speaks

image of diorama of soviet interrogation of woman
The story continues as Mama speaks up and rescues Karen from the evil experts.

(Image courtesy of Adam Jones from Kelowna, BC, Canada, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Scene 5: Mama Speaks

“Now, look here! I’m sure you found out all you need to know. You disregarded my daughter’s feelings, while being very intrusive. You wouldn’t appreciate being taunted, if you were the ones with braces on your legs. She is not a criminal, and you are not here to interrogate her. This evaluation is completely pointless. You’ve put her through enough. It is time to conclude this meeting. I look forward to reviewing your evaluation and recommendations with the attorney I work for.”

Mama took Karen’s hand and walked toward the door. Mrs. Pinzetti hurried after them. She looked confused for a moment before putting on her false smile and coughing, before speaking in her syrupy voice.

“You don’t really believe that, do you, Mrs. Hershstein?”

“Yes, I do believe my child knows what she is talking about.”

Mrs. Pinzetti said,“I want to be your friend, Karen. Please don’t fight me. This is for your own good. Someday, you’ll thank me. I’m only trying to help you.”

Recalling the unbelievable words she had overheard in the ladies’ room, Karen replied,“I don’t think so! How could I trust someone who treats me like this?”

Mama frowned and glared into Mrs. Pinzetti’s eyes.“How dare you! What do you think you’re doing? One moment, you order Karen around as if she were sub-human, and the next you think she is so stupid that a phony smile and sweet words will trick her into cooperating with you. I thought things were bad, when I walked in on the clinic this morning, but they are even worse than I thought.”

Dr. Lambert interrupted them, as he announced,“There’s nothing more we can do here today. We will resume with the next child, tomorrow morning at nine. Mrs. Pinzetti, I will speak with you later.”

He pulled his coat together over his belly and glared at Mrs. Pinzetti, as he brushed past Karen and Mama on his way to the door. The other experts hurried after him, leaving Karen and Mama behind with Mrs. Pinzetti and Mrs. DeLuca. Without another word, Mama led Karen away.

Original text ©2022 by Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.

The Healing Horse, Ch. 24, Scene 4: Karen Explodes

image of drawing of bullhornKaren has had enough, and in this scene she tells off the whole room of experts.

(Image courtesy of Kurt Kaiser, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Scene 4: Karen Explodes

“Enough! I’ve had it! That’s it! I’m leaving! Your questions are humiliating and insulting. They take away a person’s pride. They make me feel like I am less than human. You have this bizarre idea that I’m obsessed with eating candy according to its color. And you’re armed with a binder of information about me that you won’t share with me or my mother. Every year, you ask the same questions, as if I might’ve forgotten how to tie my shoelaces or that Phoenix is the capital of Arizona. Then you have me do the same stupid tests of connecting dots, adding numbers and fitting together simple puzzles. You know the answers, and you know I know the answers. Yet, you put me through this humiliation and then assign me back to the same do-nothing classroom, where there isn’t a qualified special ed teacher, and where you know I’ll learn little or nothing. I am outraged at your refusal to help me—injured, violated and enraged at the low standard of your commitment.

Last year, you agreed that I needed more advanced education. But did I get it? You said you’d hire a tutor for me, because my classroom teacher couldn’t provide the educational assistance I needed. Did I get a tutor? No, I did not get a tutor. I got a teacher who stayed for three minutes to make sure I had something to study, and then left me alone in that classroom for a year. I’m the one who’s been sitting in an empty classroom for two hours every afternoon, for the past year, by myself, memorizing vocabulary words. I’m the one who’s been teaching myself. I’m the one who’s been trying to figure out how to educate myself.

You sit there putting on an attitude, and always going back to the same questions, looking for evidence to label me retarded. You don’t want to build a bridge between where I am now and where I’ll need to be, when I become an adult. You want to make me out to be worse off than I am! You want to write off my life.”

Karen paused, and Mama stood to speak.

Original text ©2022 by Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.

The Healing Horse, Ch. 24, Scene 3: The Questions

image of brightly colored pieces of candyIn this part of the story, thirteen-year-old Karen undergoes a humiliating series of questions in front of her mother and a room full of adults. These are not questions people ask normal teenagers.

(Image courtesy of Peterphotoman, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Scene 3: The Questions

Karen knew what the questions would be. The eval team was interested in psychology and education, not in medicine. They would go on all afternoon. The eval team would ask about her daily life. They would want to know everything from how she tied her shoes to what kind of socializing she did. The questions had not bothered her when she was a tiny child. They asked the same questions every year. These were not questions that adults asked normal thirteen-year-olds.

Without warning, a man stood up in the back of the room, and shouted,“Excuse me, Mrs. Pinzetti, but I have an important question related to my primate research. I work for the county zoo, and I’mm studying color preferences for foods among primates. Karen, when you eat colored candy, which colors do you eat first, second and third?”

Karen said, “I don’t pay any attention to the color.”

The man glowered at her, and then sat down.

One of the other experts interjected,“What is the color of the sky, Karen?”

“Baby blue, the last time I checked, ma’am. That’s also my favorite color of cotton candy,” Karen snapped back.

The specialist sniffed and gulped water from her paper cup before sitting back down.

Mrs. Pinzetti coughed and said,“Please, everyone! I am conducting the evaluation. If you have additional questions to ask Karen, please wait until the end. As for you, Karen, I’m not going to tolerate any attention-getting behaviors. You will cooperate with me, or you will be in big trouble. Do you understand?”

Karen knew what she meant by attention-getting behaviors. She meant anything Karen did or said that contradicted the rule of the experts.

Mrs. Pinzetti immediately ordered Karen to answer a series of questions, her voice cracking with the usual dry cough.

“Why don’t you like math?”

“Who is President of the United States?”

“Phoenix is the capital of what state?”

“If today is hump day, then yesterday was? And tomorrow will be?”

“What is today’s date and what year are we in?”

“How come you wear pink jumpers?”

“What brand of shampoo do you use?”

“Who is Judy Garland?”

“How does the rain fall from the sky?”

“How do you make a Raggedy-Ann doll?”

Between giving short answers, Kitten watched as Mama’s frown darkened and darkened. Mrs. Pinzetti scooted her chair closer to Karen and raised her voice.

“Now, Sugar, I want you to answer the following questions. However, I want you to write the answers down on paper. I don’t want you to say another word. So, listen very carefully.”

“Excuse me, but—“ Karen began to ask.

“No! Not another word, Karen. Connect the lines on this paper, now! Don’t show them to me. Just keep them to yourself.”

Silently, Karen drew a line that connected a series of dots on the paper. It made the outline of a bear.

Mrs. Pinzetti snatched the paper from her and leaned closer.

“Here’s another one. Add up this set of numbers!” she shouted.

The paper had a column of single-digit numbers. Karen added them and wrote the sum at the bottom. Again, Mrs. Pinzetti snatched the paper from her and replaced it with a jigsaw puzzle.

“Now, put the pieces of this puzzle together. You have only one minute. Begin, now!” she shouted even louder.

Karen felt Mrs. Pinzetti’s breath on her face. Mrs. Pinzetti looked over her head at the rows of experts, a triumphant smile on her face, as she demonstrated her authority over everyone in the room. Inside herself, Karen felt a flame ignite. She looked at Mama and gave her “their look.” Mama frowned and then nodded encouragement.

Original text ©2022 by Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.

The Healing Horse, Ch. 24, Scene 2: The Binders

After bracing themselves for another ordeal, Karen and Mama return for the evaluation.

Scene 2: The Binders

“Thank you for coming back, Mrs. Hearshstein and Karen. We are ready to begin the evaluation. I’m sure the afternoon will go better than the morning. Walk this way with me please.”

When she said that the afternoon would go better, Karen looked up at Mama. Their eyes met. They both had the same thought. Mrs. Pinzetti meant better for her, not for Karen.

Karen trailed along, as the therapist led Mama to a seat in the back of the room, behind the experts, as far from Karen as she could be. Then she followed her to a table in front of everyone. It had two chairs and a stack of thick binders in front of one of them. They held Karen’s school records, and the school policy was that no one but educators and therapists could see them—not even parents. Mrs. Pinzetti pulled out the chair without the binders.

“Please have a seat, Sugar. I have some questions to ask you.”

Karen knew what kind of questions they would be. Mrs. Pinzetti was not only a physical therapist. She was the closest thing the school had to an expert on special education.

Karen took a deep breath and sat down.

Original text ©2022 by Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.