I was out riding today in central London. Admittedly, riding round Hyde Park Corner isn't a favourite part of riding my bike, but the bike is an awful lot cheaper than a London bus tour and I love riding round the landmarks of the city.
Trying to keep out of trouble in 4 lanes of traffic at Hyde Park Corner did make me think though. Not about if my cycling lycra should be bolstered with some body armour, but that having a hidden disability doesn't exactly make traffic kinder towards you when you're on a bike, nor would drivers be kinder if you were trying to cross a busy road. On one hand I would say why should they? We don't need wrapped in cotton wool. But having said that, it would be nice if there was a blanket kindness towards cyclists and pedestrians generally, but it goes two ways I guess and I've seen plenty cyclists and pedestrians that aren't exactly saints.
It made me think about it because a friend of mine, told me about someone she knew who's boss was getting irate at her friend for "drifting off" during work, which was actually petit-mal seizures. I wonder - would that same boss refrain from peeping at me, but not every other cyclist they came across for riding 5mph below the speed limit unlike their car? I think not.
The thing that bugged me most about the story was, I know so many people who have no health issues to worry about at all, that have their 'smoker's break' without their boss batting an eyelid. So to the boss I ask you this - if you were to count up the hours in a month taken up by employees who pop out for a cigarette and a chat Vs the hours in the month someone with Epilepsy had their petit-mals, would the person with Epilepsy come out as being less productive - I very much doubt it. Are they likely to work that much harder and be more determined to show that they are able to do their job?
Well, if the experience of people I know with Epilepsy is anything to go by - yes.
Take a young man called Dai Greene - you might have heard of him. The current 400m Hurdles World Champion, an international athlete, one of the UK's best gold medal hopes for London 2012 and he has Epilepsy. You can read just a small part of his story here:
I used to work in recruitment. Would his attitude make me want to employ him? You bet it would!
By the way, if this blog was a packet of cigarettes, it would say "Smoking Kills".