Wednesday, October 30, 2013

If only I had thought of the Chevy Uplander

Last night I was trying to think of a car that begins with U. Actually, I was trying to think of a car for each letter, and U was the lone holdout.

I thought of unicycle, which led to stilts, which led to thoughts about things I couldn't do when I was little.

Surprisingly, they were not a ton. I did a lot, not well maybe, but I did it.

  • I was never able to walk on my eldest brother's stilts. My other brother, who also has FA, could.
  • I could not use my sister's full-shoe roller-skates at all. They fit, but no balancce. I could use the clunky clip-on skates.
  • I could not stand with my eyes shut, my knees bent and my arms in front of me. I remember reading that this was a good way to test your balance.
  • I could not walk the balance beam at a local playground.
I chose not to do a lot, probably because I knew I couldn't, but those were four things I thought I could do and wanted to do. Oh well.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Up with people

How freaking ecstatic am I when not one, but two, guys get off an elevator at the subway so I can fit on?

Crazy happy.

I felt like clicking my heels as I left the station. Of course, that is not really doable in a chair. Plus, one of the guys who got off had to excuse himself past others who did not get off. But hey ...

Two people got off the elevator so I could get on!

And that was the only people-affirming incident today.  I was returning from lunch and hit the button to open the door. It didn't work. I hit it a bunch of times thinking the guard might sew me. I also figured someone else returning from lunch was due to arrive and they'd help me.

I then spotted someone I assumed was a co-worker, because she was headed toward the building. She came up, opened the door for me, then left. She wasn't a co-worker, just a good person who saw my futile button-pushing.

Sunday, October 27, 2013


I suppose I won the bet, but I don't feel much like a winner.

On Thursday, I had a handyman come and put up some shelves and remove the Brondell Swash bidet that had stopped working after two years. In Brondell's defense, I sometimes sit down on the seat hard. Not in their defense, the seat moves. I am still trying to decide whether to get it fixed or not.

Anyway, I wanted the handyman to put the original toilet seat back on. It was missing a screw, so Mom warned me I needed to be "extremely careful" when I sit. Oh good, I thought, because I do careful so well.

I told my sister and asked her when she thought I'd fall. She said that night Thursday. I bet I'd make it to Saturday.

I didn't fall in, but on Saturday I did use the toilet and knock it off its hinges.

Another seat is on now so no more extreme care.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

What happens in the stall stays in the stall

Gene Weingarten had an article last week about the embarrassment some people feel about pooping in the workplace. In the toilet at work, of course.

He talked about people upset by their own smells or pooping sounds. I am OK with them -- everybody does it, and it always stinks. But I am not real sure he covered my worry; however, after today I am much more confident.

My embarrassment is sound but not farts. 

There's the near-constant grunting, leading me to believe other people to think I am passing an elephant. Nevermind that I am just grunting as I transfer, pull up or down my pants, reach for the toilet paper or anything else. 

There is also the noise when I am adjusting my chair pre- or post-transfer. Do they think I am birthing a Prius?

But no longer will I worry!

Today I went into the wheelchair stall. The other stall was occupied. I undid my seatbelt and began my transfer, leaning forward to grab the bar on the wall between the stalls. I missed the bar for some reason; my feet slid under the chair, sending my head and hands into the wall between the stalls. My butt was resting precariously on the chair, but I couldn't really recover without using my hands, which I couldn't really use because they were keeping me from falling.

All through that, no response from the other stall.

No response when my hands moved to the floor.

No response when one of my hands slid into his stall.

No response when I finally fell.

I thought maybe he was uncomfortable talking mid-movement, so  when  he flushed and opened his door, I was primed to tell him my stall door was locked but I really would love help. But no response.

Then he left.

I finally was able to pull myself up and no worries and no more embarrassment.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Squished butt syndrome

My office-mate started using a standing desk today. I asked him how it was and he said his buss no longer felt squashed. Not to be a jerk, but that sounds sort of cool. I think my butt is permanently squished.

All I can do is stand up at my super-pole. I don't think that'll unsquish a thing.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Picked last

I am feeling bad -- technically for my nephew but really it is for me.

He lost an election for Student Council, which his sister is on. Even worse, he said he was picked last in football at recess.

In the primary grades, I remember being chased by older girls, but after that ended I do not remember ever playing games at recess. I never thought it was odd either. I stood around and talked with a few other less athletically inclined guys.

I do remember being chosen last in just about every gym class. How about that for a kick in the old self-esteem? Every week for eight years, I was told I was essentially worthless. Then, for the first two years of high school, it was a lesson learned daily. And people wonder why I am bitter.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Health care is so awesome

I have paid about  $7,000 in medical expenses this year.

Some are for Claren -- care and upkeep of a service dog are legitimate expenses -- and some are for glasses and other items I have bought without involving insurance.

Take those out, and it is about $5,000.

My insurance provider, Geha, has a $5,000 out-of-pocket annual maximum, but I am still getting bills. Surely, you say, it must be some error.

So I called to see what the error is.

It's two actually.

  1. The out-of-pocket maximum does not include the out-of-pockets costs from the pharmacy.
  2. The out-of-pocket maximum also does not apply to my wheelchair purchase, which I got in October 2012 but was not billed for till April of this year. Geha did not even process the wheelchair until April, so I could not have paid.

But really, no problem. The health-care system rocks.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Laughing to death

We joke about how my nephew is likely to kill me at the dinner table with an ill-timed quip. And it's true: My nephew cracks me up. Almost  everything about him makes me  laugh. But I don't need my nephew to laugh to death. Heck, I don't even need people.

Kenny the puppy knows that if he gets to me when I am bent over, I am doomed. I can't ward him off as my arms are trying to keep balance or get me back up (Thank you, weak-ass trunk).

This afternoon I was removing my coat, which required bending over. In an instant, he was on me -- licking me everywhere ... lips, ears, glasses. I had to call my niece for assistance before he tickled me to death. Plus, I laugh beyond the tickling because it is awesome to be around a puppy.

But I don't t even need other beings.

Earlier this week I took my nightly pills, then before swallowing thought of something funny and started laughing with a mouth of pills. Or the other night I laughed at a Daily Show joke when I did not have my seatbelt on.

It probably would be embarrassing but all in all not a bad way to go.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

I'd be offended if they were the Washington Cripples

I don't like Dan Snyder. I am pretty confident that he is  huge fan but that he is also a key reason the failures of the Washington Redskins in recent years. It was easy then to call him a jerk when he told USA TODAY to use caps to write that he'd NEVER change the team name. It is harder to hate him when he speaks softly and from his heart about keeping a name offensive to some American Indians.

It's not impossible. I find it ridiculously offensive that a rich white guy has the audacity to tell American Indians that they should not be offended by a name that mocks their skin color. He says it was so named because the team had several American Indians on it, so it isn't a slur but a point of pride. But, who is he to determine what should or should not be offensive?

This guy I used to work with said society should call be people who are disabled crippled because they are. He would side with Snyder, no doubt, explaining that redskin was originally not disparaging.

That's fine, and if American Indians wish to reclaim the word fine. But the white owner of a pro football team has no business using the word. Change the name.

Monday, October 7, 2013


OK, not to brag, but I have a disability and use a wheelchair. (Cue screaming girls, ala Beatlemania.)

I cannot recall a time when having a disability was frankly just smoking hot.

We have two primetime TV shows where the lead actor has a disability, and in both shows -- The Michael J. Fox Show and Ironside -- disabilidy and living with one are major themes.

Even better, one star (Michael J. Fox) actually really has a disability! Shocking, I know. Even my brother-in-law gave a thumbs-up to The Michael J. Fox Show. It is about a family dealing with the dad's Parkinson's disease. It is hilarious and sad at the same time.

The dad throws a roll at a son who is texting at the dinner table and the son says if that was Parkinson's, OK; otherwise, come on ... I am sure everyone with a disability can relate to people not knowing whether some action was on purpose or disability-related.

It mocks the culture that calls people heroes merely because they have a disability.

Ironside stars poseur Blair Underwood as a detective using a chair after he was shot. I do not know what it is like to lose the use of your legs but maintain normal control of the rest of you. But I think Underwood may be a little more-abled. He had a scene in the premiere that reminded me of the scene in Footloose when Kevin Bacon dances all through that abandoned factory. I almost expected Underwood to leap onto some uneven bars and do flips. And he has a really hot girlfriend, too.

As I said I do not know if it is realistic, but like Artie on Glee loses points for not being a wheelchair user in real life.

Not like say the Push Girls, which I have never seen.

And I just saw a photo of Lady Gaga in a chair. WTF? This is what.

And there is the Guinness' wheelchair basketball ad that AdWeek says spun circles around competitors in Q3. It does tug at your heart-strings, a bunch of pals playing wheelchair basketball and at the end all of them get out of the chairs but one. You think, What a great bunch of friends. on the realistic scale, again I wasn't sure. I would think wheelchair athletes would have crazy upper-body strength from pushing a wheelchair, not sure friends could learn it.

But who cares? It shows that we are effing hip. I am ready for my close-up.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Little of this, little of that

I have decided to ride my handcycle every day we are on furlough. I have ridden 8.5 miles so far. That does not sound that impressive, but I am pretty pleased with myself. If nothing else, I am exhausting myself.

I forgot the best moment of Boston. Claren and I, Mom and my oldest sister were heading to the hotel Sunday night after dinner. We at at Legal Test Kitchen, down the street from the hotel so were just walking back.

Two women passed me, one wheeling, one walking.

"Hey beautiful," one said. "Hi babe," the other said.

I'd have been so happy to have been treated like eye candy, but I knew they were talking to Claren.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Of course I went to work

My sister came into my room last night and said: Can I ask you something without you getting all angry?

I agreed and she asked: Did you even ask if you could not go in tomorrow? Tomorrow meaning today, the day the government shut down. We cleaned our desks, set our out-of-office reply, forwarded the phones and signed a furlough notice. Then we left. I was home by 10 a.m.

I told my sister no I didn't ask; they told us to come in.

She replied that my bosses seem to like me so they'd probably let me work from home. They do seem to like me and would have let me not come in, I agreed, but I said they told us all to come in.

So why wouldn't I?

Blog Archive