I've been experiencing a "flare" of POTS symptoms - meaning that being upright causes me to feel really sick and a long walk takes me days-weeks to recover. It's much better for me to exercise on a recumbent bike or laying down. But that means I don't get outside much.
So the solution is to use a wheelchair and get an arm workout while enjoying the sunshine. But I have a hang up about using my wheelchair that I haven't been able to fully overcome yet. That is - I can very clearly walk fine.
Before I got POTS, when I saw someone in a wheelchair I assumed either they were paralyzed or had a physical disability that made walking challenging. I even remember when I was a kid, I once saw someone in a wheelchair get up and walk, and all I could think about was, "they were faking!!!"
I'm really embarrassed to admit that I thought that way. Yet it gives me an insight into what others may be thinking.
I have friends with POTS who've been yelled at or chastised for using wheelchair accessible parking, etc. Most of the time people with POTS look totally normal.
I kinda want to have a sign that says, "Just because I use a wheelchair, doesn't mean I can't walk. I have a fainting condition called P.O.T.S." AKA please don't gasp that there's been a miracle or shout at me for faking if you see me get up and walk...
But alas it always comes down to this - Come on Lisa, who cares what others think?!!!
I don't know why this has been so difficult for me to get over, yet when I talk to friends with POTS who use wheelchairs, I learn I'm not alone. No one wants to worry about being yelled at or be called a faker when they're out in the community.
Here's a meme from George Takei (who later removed the photo with an apology) that illustrates why I feel this way. While I admit it is kinda funny, it also furthers the misconception that people with wheelchairs shouldn't be able to stand or walk.