Columnist and author Shane Burcaw suffers from Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a genetic disorder that causes the nerve cells responsible for controlling his body’s muscle to deteriorate.
Burcaw, who has been in a wheelchair since he was three-years-old, has been in a healthy relationship with Anna Reinalda for months, something that strangers have a hard processing at first glance.
Happy couple: On numerous occasions people have asked Shane Burcaw if his able-bodied girlfriend Anna Reinalda was his nurse or his sister while they are on dates together
Burcaw, who has a blog called Laughing at My Nightmare and a book with the same name he published last fall, wrote a blog published by The Morning Call which details a few of the social misconceptions people have about his disorder.
On numerous occasions people have asked Burcaw if his able-bodied girlfriend Anna Reinalda was his nurse or his sister.
‘If I saw two young people out having a nice meal together,’ Burcaw writes, ‘I would probably assume that they were dating. This, however, does not seem to be the assumption people make when you throw a wheelchair into the picture.’
He and his girlfriend often come up with humorous responses to people’s questions about their relationship.
‘My girlfriend has been asked if she was my nurse. We’ve gotten used to this bizarre, recurring question, and often find ways to poke fun at their ignorance,’ he writes.
The couple has a few hilarious and well-rehearsed comebacks up their sleeves.
Mutual care taking: Shane Burcaw explains that each partner takes an extra step in learning the way in which to literally care for one-another
‘He’s my dad,’ Anna Reinalda will sometimes answer.
‘I just pay her to be my friend,’ Burcaw adds.
The nerve condition has absolutely no effect on his ability to have a sexual relationship, but Burcaw explains that because of his condition he once believed he wasn’t worthy of romantic affection.
He once thought that if a girl were to go out on a date with him that she must be doing it out of pity.
Luckily, he was wrong.
‘Then college came and my brain opened up to the real truth. I met some spectacular people who helped me shake the notion that love was only for the physically-abled,’ writes Burcaw in his heartwarming essay.
‘Sure, I can’t hold hands in the traditional sense, but we make it work. To be fair, our fingers look like a catastrophic train wreck once they are intertwined in the precise position that I can manage. I can’t pick her up in my car, but so what? She enjoys driving and so we make it work,’ he writes with humor.
Not only can disabled people in relationships have a strong bond, he believes the union may be even better than relationships between two able-bodied people.
‘Today, I live with the firm belief that an able/disabled relationship can be even more satisfying than your average romance,’ he writes.
Writer: Shane Burcaw writes a humorous blog on his experiences called Laughing at My Nightmare and also published a book by the same name
Each partner takes an extra step in learning the way in which to literally care for one another.
Burcaw describes his first date with Anna in which she learned the ways she’d need to help him with tasks when they were together.
He though she might be turned off by the notion of cutting his meatloaf and helping him take sips of his drink.
She promised Burcaw she was excited to learn about the ways she could assist him.
‘There is something profoundly intimate about a promise like that. On my end, I felt a deep sense of serenity that could only be attributed to trusting her with my care,’ he writes.
Even though his relationship may seem bizarre to strangers who observe him, to him it seems perfectly natural.
‘That is why I get confused when strangers assume that she isn’t my girlfriend, because to us it has always seemed so normal. It is fun and it is silly and it is beautiful, and we never think twice about the fact that our relationship is abnormal in any way,’ he writes.
‘We simply make it work,’ he concludes.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2951724/Is-nurse-Disabled-man-22-able-bodied-girlfriend-describes-strangers-misconceptions-dates.html#ixzz3RcHuObum
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