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Disability

A Life Reconstructed

Photo by Jill Bates

This is my last blog post for PsychCentral, because the site transferred ownership this month and if I reappear, it will be under a different banner. Coincidentally, Sunday was the 10-year anniversary of my being hit.

I’m not a big anniversary person; nothing actually happens on anniversaries. Not like the solar Sabbats I celebrate, when a solstice or equinox occurs to mark the passage of time. It does give me pause...


Disability

Inspiration Porn: It’s a Thing

Stella Young, photo from Wikipedia

While mindlessly scrolling through Facebook the other day, I saw a montage of memes showing people with disabilities behaving in hilarious and irreverent ways. They were basically thumbing their noses at the stereotypes and provoking a bit of pearl-clutching. I marked the post with “love” and started to comment on how my friends at the rehab center loved to prank the therapists. I was drawn up short by a...


Disability

The Bike Trip Diaries 2020: Summer on Earth-That-Was


Wow, it’s August already. Does that make anyone else’s stomach clench in panic? Wasn’t it just last week that I started riding my bike without long pants on? Where has the summer gone? When we can’t go anywhere, how does the time whiz by even faster? Shouldn’t it be dragging along like a long wait on a paper-covered table at the doctor’s office? Summer has barely started, how can it be half over?

This feels like a...


Disability

I Don’t Believe in Popular Kids: Heather’s Zine


Strumming my pain with his fingers, singing my life with his words, killing me softly with his song, killing me softly…”* This is the song that ran through my head as I read I Don’t Believe in Popular Kids:  Lessons From One Girl’s Fight for Inclusion, a zine by Heather and Liz Gold (pseudonyms for the girl and her mother, to protect the young author’s privacy).

For those of you unfamiliar with the term, a zine...


Disability

Reopening: When You’re Not Ready


What happened to “Shelly” shouldn’t happen to anyone, but it’s happening all over right now. Shelly has been anonymized to the point where she might not even recognize herself, but her plight is real.

Shelly has an autoimmune condition and struggles to maintain her job as manager of a small boutique at the local mall. With her you’d-be-surprised-how-little-over-minimum-wage income from this job, she supports her adult daughter who is disabled and has the same autoimmune condition. Shelly has relied on the local food bank off and on for a few years now, even though she works full time. Nonetheless, Shelly is known as a generous woman in her community, providing all kinds of help to neighbors in need. It’s true what people say—those who have the least, give the most.



Disability

Reopening: We Are Our Brother’s Keeper


Of course our phased reopening of the economy had to degenerate into a circus; there is nothing in the US right now that doesn’t split into factions somehow.

I live in Washington state, north of Seattle, almost at the Canadian border, which has been closed for months. My county made it to Phase 2 of the Safe Start Washington program. Phase 1 was total lockdown with essential businesses and services only. Phase 2 allowed some businesses to reopen with safeguards to prevent spreading the virus. Thanks to people who are overeager to let up on restrictions, we have failed miserably at reaching the milestones to allow us to move on to Phase 3. In the rural communities north of the college town of Bellingham, there are large numbers of protesters who refuse to wear masks and gather freely—you’ve seen the news stories. I’m baffled that these people exist within a “hot spot” area. I could see it in a rural county in a part of the US that hasn’t seen any cases, but how, in a region where everyone knows someone who has been seriously ill or died, do people maintain their position that COVID 19 is a hoax?



Disability

Sports and Disability—How are You Getting Outside?


It usually happens in May; it came late this year. It didn’t come at all in 2019 or 2018, because of my knee injury. I’m talking about that wonderful moment, after weeks of progressively longer bike rides, when you suddenly aren’t pushing it anymore; you want to keep going and you’re not thinking about the finish line. There’s joy of movement, endorphin production, and what I like to call “muscle confidence,” that solid feeling of strength as you move fast and easy down the road.



Disability

A Day in the Life of a Squirrel-Brained TBI Survivor


Here we go again—another week of meaty topics derailed by reality. I think sharing this with you may do more good for us all than trying to finish my researched topics this week. Maybe you’ll relate to my day.

Like my body, my brain (which is, after all, part of my body) has good and bad days. The poor thing has had a hard decade. After being slammed into by a hunk of metal hurtling along at 45 mph, with only an inch and a half of Styrofoam and a hard plastic shell to cushion the blow, most of the bloodflow was cut off when my carotid artery collapsed from the impact. My body’s effort to shunt blood to my brain by every other possible pathway while losing blood pressure from a severed radial artery resulted in a stroke. After hours of surgery to deal with other injuries in the ER, I was placed in a chilled coma to give my brain a chance to recover from this massive insult.



Disability

30 Years of the ADA—What Does it Mean for Us?


If you’re older than 40, you probably remember the passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act on June 26, 1990. George H.W. Bush signed it into law.

It seems like it’s been around a lot longer than that; maybe because the push for handicap parking started in the late 1960s and hit its stride in the late 1970s. I was 26 in 1990. There is a movie that came out in 2007, Music Within, about Richard Pimentel, the Vietnam veteran credited with starting the movement to pass the ADA. I saw the movie in 2009, and don’t remember the story very well, so I looked it up again. Pimentel lost his hearing in Vietnam, and when he tried to go out for pancakes with his veteran friend who used a wheelchair, they were discouraged by the steps up to the restaurant entrance. That’s what started it all.



General

Stupid Things Ruin the Best of Plans


This is an unapologetic fluff piece. I’ve been working on two meaty pieces, I’m not going to conclude either one today, and I'm a day late already. I’m losing my grip on the reins here, and it’s time to talk about why that is.

Number one, I have a day job. You didn’t think I made my living blogging, did you? If only that were true. While everyone else is losing jobs, I’m busier than ever. A few weeks ago I was complaining about missing out on the national summer vacation. My first adequate paycheck in months hit the bank yesterday, and with all the job carnage around me, I’m not complaining anymore. That said, I have 2 Environmental Assessments due tomorrow and can’t put them off any longer. Plus, the Canadian border is closed for another month, so it’s not like I was going to be able to run off on a bike tour any time soon anyway.