I woke up one morning this summer with a pain in the area of my right shoulder blade. I assumed that I’d just pulled or strained a muscle in my neck or back–that’s a fairly common but very temporary hazard of lifting weights and trying to maintain an active lifestyle for us "baby boomers".
Six weeks later, it was clear that there was more involved than just a muscle strain. By the time my MRI revealed that I had several herniated discs in my neck, the discomfort and pain radiating down my right arm into my hand made it difficult–if not impossible–for me to work at my desk or on my computer for more than a few minutes at a time.
While I’ve managed to cope by answering emails on my iPhone, on my home laptop, or by installing an unwieldy device on my office chair, I feel like I’m functioning at perhaps 50% capacity and by the time I leave the office at the end of the day I can’t wait to collapse on a couch at my home with an ice pack on my aching shoulder.
Here’s the point I’d like to make today: there’s absolutely no way anyone can tell how much pain and discomfort I feel–I have no cast, sling, nor any other visible signs to show that I have a condition that causes me great pain and will require surgery to correct.
Not every disability is readily apparent. Board members and managers in resident owned communities are often requested to grant requests for reasonable accommodations under the Fair Housing Act to persons who show no outward signs of any disability.
I’ve continually stressed to ROC board members and managers the tremendous risks involved when a board refuses to grant a resident’s request for a reasonable accommodation simply because there’s no visible evidence that the resident is disabled.
As someone who has now "walked in the shoes" of many of these residents, I have a much better understanding of their anger and frustration when their legitimate requests are denied by ROC boards. That anger and frustration may very well lead to a Fair Housing complaint and that’s certainly not in the best interests of an association or its members.
I’ll be submitting my materials for a board certification training seminar to the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes later this week and hope to have those materials approved within the next few weeks. These materials will focus on training board members in resident owned cooperatives and once approved will be sufficient for those board members to meet the new board certification requirements under Chapter 719 of the Florida Statutes.
Once I get the approval from the Division, we’ll schedule a few board training seminars and I’ll post the times and locations on my blog.
In the meantime, I’ll be taking care of those herniated discs within the next few days and hope to be back at work and posting entries on this blog before all of our "snowbirds" return for the holidays!