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General

The Opioid Crisis: A Dissenting Voice

You’ve heard a lot about the opioid epidemic in the news lately. I’m going to give my own perspective on it, and I will preface it by emphasizing that that’s just what it is—one person’s perspective. I arrived at my position by observation and experience, not by scientific research. It certainly doesn’t make your perspective wrong if it is different from mine. I just had a friend lose his brother to an overdose; I do not negate his story by telling my own. I think, though, that we as a society are looking at the wrong issue. The pills are only a symptom of the real problem.



General

Packaging: Getting Steadily Stupider Since 1982


I spit upon the grave of the Tylenol Murderer. Remember in 1982, the chilling string of random murders by tampering with Tylenol capsules? It seems so tame now in light of the mass shootings we now see. "Only" seven people died, and we as a society agreed immediately on quick and decisive action to prevent more deaths (probably because no one was buying over-the-counter medicine.)



General

Miracle Recovery: How TV and Movies Distort the Perception of Injury


“So, are you back to 100% now?”

People actually ask me that. Smart people. People who I thought understood the extent of my injuries, but nobody could ask that who really understands.

Anyone who has ever rolled a vehicle knows that a body shop can make it look shiny and new, but it’s never right again. The doors never close with that satisfying “thunk,” and the electrical system is haywire more often than not. My body is like a vehicle that’s been in a rollover accident. It looks okay, then when you look closer, you can see a lot of cosmetic damage. It looks like the frame is fine, but it’s bolted together in places and the electrical—nervous—system is heavily damaged. It drives okay, but don’t leave town without a backup plan.



Disability

Who Would You Be Without Your Disability?

My friend Susan deserves the credit for this week’s topic. She reminded me of the episode of ER, called “Out on a Limb,” in which Dr. Kerry Weaver finally has her hip surgery.

For those of you who don’t readily beam back to 2006, when you either saw or didn’t see the show, here’s the rundown. Dr. Kerry Weaver, played by Laura Innes, is a doctor with a difficult personality. For the first few episodes, she’s just a flaming bitch on wheels and you wonder how she got to her position in life. Gradually, we are shown her human side and how her brilliance as a doctor allows her to get away with her abrasive personality.



General

Platitude Culture: Type Aaaaaugh! if You’ve Had Enough


Once again I’m harnessing the current of social media that has flooded my way; this week there has been a lot of buzz about control. I read one fairly good article about it, and saw many fluffy new-agey memes about it. Now, if my intention truly manifested in my life 100 percent, I would never see another meme ruined by “type yes if you agree,” but there they are.



General

Invisible Fences: Life on the Borderline


My crash put me on many borderlines, belonging on neither side. I’m drawn to fish-out-of-water stories for this reason; I empathize with the scholarship student at the ivy-league college, the adopted child who looks different from the rest of the family, the “lost generation” stories of Native American residential schools. I’m drawn to people who don’t fit in boxes.



General

The Coney Thing: Our Go-To Gadgets That Make Life Better


I hope you all had a lovely holiday, whatever you were celebrating. I celebrate the Solstice, but also Christmas because my family does. My favorite present this year was from a dear friend, a Tupperware garlic press with an ergonomic handle that will make short work of the fresh garlic I love to put in my cooking. That was the most dreaded part of meal prep for me before; my sad $5 garlic press was hard to use and it was starting to flake paint into my food. My new press is ideal for my damaged hand. It will make me forget my hand is even a problem.



General

Using Accessibility Features When You Don’t Look Like You Need To

Here is a story that many of you will relate to. My friend Alice went to a local variety store to shop, and took the one remaining handicap parking space. She hung her blue (permanent) placard on the mirror stem and got out of the car. As she walked toward the door, a woman she didn’t know stepped in front of her and screamed in her face that she was using a handicap space illegally. This woman did not need the space, she simply took it upon herself to notice Alice’s activity, judge it, and mete out her punishment—in this case, beating my friend with a large purse. (Alice did charge the woman with assault.)



General

What the Health-Privileged Don’t Understand: There’s Buildup Activity and Tear-Down Activity

I got a question from my boss a few years ago, the owner of a company I contract to part-time. He wanted me to do some field work that was too physically strenuous and involved sleeping in a small-town motel where the odds of a good bed were poor. I declined the work because it wasn’t worth the pay rate for the recovery time it was going to take. My boss said, “I don’t understand how you can go on these long bike trips but you can’t do field work.” To him, it resembled situational ethics, where the context influences your interpretation of the rules.



General

Open Season On ACA Health Plan Enrollment; What About Us?

I hadn’t planned to get into the heavy stuff this quickly, but it’s what’s on my mind and heart this week, and I don’t seem to be able to write anything else. This is the tip of a very big iceberg involving work, disability, poverty, what it’s like to obtain and receive social services… the list goes on. This week I’ll just share the nightmare I went through and hope it spares someone else from making the same mistake.