Bobby Kimbrough: Racing And The American Disabilities Act
Life happens. Sometimes things happen fast and the stuff comes flying at you from all directions. So quickly in fact, you don’t get a chance to think about it, you just react. That’s what happened to me. Three weeks ago I had the displeasure of being diagnosed with diabetes. It just came out of the blue and smacked me right in the face. Next thing I know, I had all kinds of tests being ordered by my primary care physician.
My physician and I got very close in short order. She’s an attractive doctor that seemingly doesn’t have a sense of humor, or at least she doesn’t laugh at my jokes. That in itself is not unique. My wife says that I am the only one that laughs at my jokes. To put the nail in the coffin, she also adds; “No one understands your jokes and they are only funny to you.” So I guess it’s not odd that my doctor doesn’t laugh when I make smart-ass comments.
As I was saying, my doctor has gotten to know me real well. I’m quite certain that some of the “tests” that she has performed on me are the equivalent of a honeymoon in some countries. Perhaps not a marriage ritual but in the state of California, certainly these acts constitute that we must be engaged (at bare minimum). These “tests” are intimate enough that I feel like we should have dinner and see a movie before the test is performed.
However we got here doesn’t matter. The diagnoses is still the same and I’ve had some serious life changing behaviors to adopt and some life long behaviors to drop. I miss chili cheese fries (or even french fries for that matter), hamburgers, hotdogs, BBQ pork pig sandwiches, fried chicken and any beverage that has sugar or carbohydrates in it. I’d love to have a big 124 ounce Orange Belly Washer soda from the 7/11 down the street.
I still question why this disease came my way. I could understand if I was 80 pound heavier but in no way would I be considered fat or obese. Go figure.
I smoke. I have enjoyed smoking for a lot of years now. Even when it became unpopular to smoke, I still enjoyed it. When the doctor told me that 90% of the diabetics that loose their feet are smokers, Then I began to not enjoy it anymore. Public opinion be damned! I don’t care what you think about my smoking, but I do care about losing my feet. So I started a program to wean myself off of cigarettes.
Now that I have had a massive change in diet and dramatically reduced my intake of tobacco products, I have been able to take a closer look at this situation. I asked my doctor in one of my many follow up visits, “can I still race?” My humorless doctor told me that if I didn’t have any nerve damage to my feet, and if I didn’t have any problems with my eyes or vision, there isn’t any problem with racing. I have an appointment to see the eye doctor next week.
OK. I get it. For years I have treated my body horribly. I haven’t exercised as much as I should have. I ate poorly. This is my fault and I understand that. So let’s take a look at what is right with the situation. I still have racing, and that’s a good thing. But I still have the diagnoses and I’m looking to champion the cause, so here’s where my focus is: Racers with disabilities.
That’s right. I plan on getting my blue placard and parking in the handicapped parking spaces. That’s not a problem however. Just about anyone with a hang nail can get a disable person placard in the state of California. The problem, and the cause that I am choosing to campaign for; is pit parking for disabled racers. You betcha! The pit stall next to the tech pad. I have been working on getting through the legalese and red tape that is the American Disabilities Act of 1990 (with amendments). As soon as I can understand the lingo in that document, I am positive that all of us racers with disabilities can get special pit stalls, porta-pottys that are wheel chair accessible and even hand rails for inclines.
The only issue that remains to be worked out is; Do we have to have the blue placard hanging from the roll cage in the driver’s cockpit?