Thursday, February 27, 2014

Depression session, what's your lesson?

I am at my wit's end.

Some of you might not think I had far to go, but let me assure you: I am hilarious and my wit is like a billion miles long. So being at the end is hard.

This week a guy at work announced his retirement. I am not sure 42-year-olds are allowed to have mentors, but this guy was it. I will miss him tremendously.

Today, my first boss at this job died. She had cancer. It was weird, 15 minutes before we got the news, I emailed someone about her because I was thinking about her.

And it is cold.

I want to hibernate until it is warm.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

At least I'm no longer worried

Ever since I got a save-the-date card last year for a friend's wedding next month, I have worried.

I really wanted to go.

It will be a fun wedding, I am sure. If I don't go to things, people will stop inviting me. I already worry that I don't get invited to things not because people don't want me there but because they forget about me and it never occurs to them to invite me. Mostly, though, I wanted to be part of my friend's big day.

I am also worried that I am growing complacent, too, happy to sit at home and do nothing. I spent the recent three-day President's Day Weekend napping, reading, watching TV and goofing around on my computer. Yes, it was a snowy weekend but still …

This wedding would be a way to show myself that I still do stuff.

I engaged one niece to give up the first part of her spring break and go with me as a helper. I'd fly her here, then we'd head to New York City by train. Yes, NYC, I dislike the very idea of New York, but I wanted to go to the wedding.

I started looking into hotels, and at some point both Mom and my sister asked whether we should check whether the venues are accessible. Sure, I said, but naively I was thinking, "Of course they are; that's the law, right?"

Isn't my naivete cute?

On that same President's Day Weekend, one of the things I did was check out the venues. They were historic sites at Columbia University. Even my trust is limited. When I heard that, I started doubting I'd be going.

An email from the Disability Services Office confirmed it. The accessible bathroom is in the building the reception is, but it requires you to go outside,  go to another entrance, use an intercom to get in, then head to the bathroom.

I am not sure  where but I know that somewhere along that route, my bladder would decide that enough is enough.

So that was it. I RSVP'd no. I texted my niece. 

I am trying to be less complacent. I went out with co -woekers last week, though hearing was im[possible. I made plans to do stuff -- a movie, dinner, lunch when it warms up. I went to my nephew and niece'sa hockey game.

And I'll hope I still get invitations.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

10-minute transfer

Gee, I thought in mid-transfer from my chaise to my chair last night, I haven't had to call my sister for help after she's gone to bed in a while.

I had more than enough time to have this thought and other less PG ones because it was a 10-minute transfer. I got stuck.

My chaise is a few inches lower than my chair, so I have to rise up to get on the chair. Last night, my legs decided they weren't up to the task.

In their defense, I made it to the metal seat of my chair, but my cushion is several inches above that. And they could not push me past and onto the cushion. Also in their defense, the cushion was blocking me.

I sat there on a razor's edge of wheelchair, my arms on the chaise holding me up.

Finally, I was able to move my arms without falling, and I used one to move my chair thisclose to the chaise. The other arm moved my legs into a better pushing position. Then I leaned back, grabbed my wheelchair arms and forced my butt into the seat.

And I haven't had to wake my sister up for a while and a day.

Monday, February 17, 2014

An American Prometheus Unbound

When I interned at The Patriot Ledger I was a copy editor of the Rim variety.

Rim editors read and edit stories after the reporters and their editors are done with them. Rim editors also write hedlines and captions. When rim editors finish with a story, it gets sent to a slot editor, who checks the rim edits and stuff. Good stuff, copyediting is awesome.

One of the slot editors (not my sister) had a rule about the phrase "homeless people." She didn't like it. They are people who do not have homes, she said. Referring to them as "homeless people" or "the homeless" made them into a different type of people, one that's easy to dismiss, she said, so I did not my best to keep adjectives  that labeled people out of the stories I edited.

I wonder what she'd think of "wheelchair-bound"? Talk about putting people in a less-than-human category.

This thought popped up first because the Jesuits' America magazine referred to those who use chairs as "wheelchair-bound." The Jesuits?! They're allegedly the smart Catholics. This annoyed Mom, whose letter to the editor, which was not printed, includes:
Please, dear editors at America, rummage around in the newsroom and find your stylebook.  Insert a blank sheet of paper and write on it, with a big black Sharpie, "Do not use the expression 'wheelchair-bound' to describe individuals who use wheelchairs.
The problem is not the stylebook, though. AP says clearly not to use it, just lazy editors who don't mind dehumanizing people by referring to them by their mode of travel, never mind that chairs aren't binding bur freeing. But hey, we can save some space and words by just using "wheelchair-bound," and it's not like we're calling you "cripples," so maybe you ought to say thank-you and go about your business.

I was further thinking about "wheelchair bound" because a friend included me in a wonderful blog she wrote about choosing love not fear. I certainly was not an example of that -- fear and I are close.  She was also talking about the "wheelchair bound" thing.

Apparently, one of the letters America did print complained about the use of "the disabled." I guess that's something.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Procrastination hurts

I know this is not smart, but I will  put things off because they are hard to do. Most of the time, though, it just makes it harder.

I was wearing my braces today, which means I can't walk around. Well, not that I normally can but with the braces on I can't put any weight on my feet.

Another thing about the braces, they cost about $500 more than the salesman told me they would. Guess who is paying most of that?

Anyway ... I had to use the bathroom, which meant a urinal given the braces.

The problem is when I am on the chaise I normally use my legs to push my body up higher than the urinal to allow gravity to prevent spillage.

I got things lined up and began to use the urinal, and then tried to just move my body a little higher. Ye, that is backward, and I don't know why I did it in that order.

But it was a bad move.

I popped out of the urinal, and sprayed my shirt in a fountain-like display.

Fortunately, my sister came to help. Unfortunately, I was just trying to convince her that she is lucky to have me in her house, and something tells me this wasn't making her feel lucky.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Puppy magnet

I know that kids like wheelchairs -- from the niece who explored my manual chair so intently that she got stuck under it to my nephew who just recently dropped everything at the offer to drive my old chair in from the garage.

What I didn't realize until recently is that it is not just human kids, it's puppies, too.

Kenny, the puppy, worships my chair. He licks it for any dropped food, of course. But he also drops his ball on the battery pack or under the wheels. Then he wedges himself under the wheels and chews the ball.

Claren still doesn't like him, but he makes me laugh.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

What happens in the stall stays in the stall, Part II

I slipped yesterday getting back into my chair from the toilet. I wasn't too worried. I had my pants pulled up, so even if no one came in, I knew I'd be OK.

But as I tried to stand my feet slid out in front of me, under the stall wall and into the other stall. Then the bathroom door opened. The stall next door, where my feet were, opened, so I started thinking how I'd unlock my stall door to let in my savior.

Then the person left -- didn't use the bathroom, didn't mention the legs -- he just left.

I almost cried.

But no time for tears.

I used a footrest on my chair to reach the door lock and unlatched it. Then I began repositioning myself so my feet would hit a wall and not be able to slip. This involved scooting the bathroom on the floor.

On the second try, I did get back in my chair.

What happens in the stall stays in the stall, Part I

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Not whistling in the dark

I wish I could tell you that when the power went out at work today, I had no problem using the bathroom. Alas ...

And WTF is up without having emergency lighting in the bathroom?

The power was off forever. I went once successfully but tried to hold it the second time because frankly  I knew I couldn't make it to the toilet in the dark twice.

But right before I left, I had to go. And I made it safely!

All the caution cost me, though. I didn't quite make it in time. Damn. But it was dark so it wasn't visible. And I left right after.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Condoms and crawling

It is a magical life I lead.

For instance, you could ask: What did you do today, Matt?

Well, this morning I  spent time playing with a condom, figuring out how I'd put it on.

I didn't have a date and wasn't planning to visit a bawdy house. I was preparing to test a condom catheter.

I remembered an LA Law where Arnie taught the mentally disabled guy to use a condom, but I never saw it. Finally, I decided to just wing it.

The testing complete, I then spent time on the floor of Mom and Dad's living room crawling. Again, Claren was a sympathetic obstacle, lying down just in front of me.

Then I came home and Mom put a bag on my leg. I put on the condom with less trouble than I thought, used it, took a nap, and woke up to find it leaked.

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