Friday, September 10, 2010

Awkward Moments, 3

A close friend of mine and I went to an Obama campaign rally in Indianapolis. This was one of my first big events in my wheelchair and I was very nervous about it.

It was cold, and I was wearing a coat. Hoping to make things a little easier, I put the minimum amount of stuff I needed into my coat pockets. This was a terrible, bad, no good call!

We get to the event and park the car. By the time we are halfway across the state fairgrounds parking lot, I am thankful for the chair already.

We get to the entry lines, and we are shuffled over to the leftmost line, as they are handling those of us that cannot get through the regular security lines. When it gets to be my turn, I have about half my pockets emptied into my lap, and half left unfortunately to make people wait while I finish. My friend and the security staff are pretty gracious while I fumble through my stuff to put it on the scanner conveyer belt. One staffer asks me about my meditation beads and makes other conversation as I finish up. The staff has me lean up for a pat-down, and then everything is fine.

So, this one is more about me getting used to the chair than anything else. I recommend, if possible, that one of your first wheelchair outings not be at such a high security event!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Tongue Day!

Hello! This is just a quick note to apologize for taking extra time to approve comments, and for not getting a post out today as planned. I had a meeting, and then had a brush biopsy done to a small spot on my tongue. So, apologies for the inordinate delay, and things should be smoothed out by tomorrow.

Thanks for checking in!

PS: Please do not worry, this biopsy was a "just in case" measure, and I am only default-level concerned about it. I will know results in 10-12 days or so.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Cat Gargoyle Redux

Wow, people, thank you for getting the word out about PatientC. I am very excited, and very thankful! I have one more SmartAss Guide to polish up, and will get to working on some more. I also have a terrible, no good, very bad day write up that is turning into a post on identity, and I think I will work on getting it ready for the next Disability Carnival!

So, for a little treat, here is Umbra, helping out with the blog again!

When my cat, Umbra, is not perched on my back or shoulders, she sometimes seeks comfort on the arm of the couch, which is not coincidentally where I rest my arm and trackball. *sigh* This arrangement always starts out okay, but through the course of an hour or so will move towards my hand, and eventually rest her chin on my wrist or the back of my hand. As you can probably guess, this makes mousing difficult and switching to the keyboard to type nearly impossible (without upsetting one or both of us!).

My grey cat, Umbra, on the arm of the couch, sharing space with my arm and my trackball!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

DC Cabs - No Rides for Service Animals

Two posts in one day! Wow! 

Anyway, first off -- animal guides are not my bailiwick. However, I saw this on Twitter (hat-tip to s.e. smith, of this ain't living, and is fantastic!) and since we had a lot of useful dialog about animal service yesterday, I thought I should post this here as well.

People with Service Animals Can't Catch a Cab in D.C.

The article includes information on a study done by the Equal Rights Center, which is both interesting and depressing, in my opinion. They also include a YouTube video in the article that shows people trying to hail cabs and being passed over in favor of people without companions. A direct link to the study is here.

Awkward Moment, 2

The other day I was in the hospital with some friends I was supporting, and since the day was long (what day in a hospital isn’t?), I spent it in my wheelchair.

I was at the corner of my friend’s bed, and pretty out of the way. A nurse came in to prep for a new patient in the room’s other bed, which is fine. She decided I was in her way, looks down at me, and says “I’m going to have to move you.” A nurse! I responded, “No, you are going to ask me to move and I will move.”

My friend saw it, even with all she was going through, and mentions it in the comments here.

Alright, I am occasionally known amongst my friends as having high expectations for other people… But I will be damned before I find it unreasonable to expect a medical professional in a hospital to know some damn wheelchair etiquette!

Would you tell an able-bodied person that you needed to move them? No. If you would not say it to a temporarily able-bodied person, then do not say it to a person in a wheelchair!

Edit: for grammar.

Friday, September 3, 2010

The SmartAss Guide to Wheelchair Etiquette


Alright, this is going to consist of one solid concept and then variations on what to do with that concept. With the amount of faux paux, ignorance, and just straight up bad behavior I have seen myself, I feel like this is necessary. I do not believe that I should have to add a sarcasm warning to something with the words "smart ass" in the title, but there you go.

If you find yourself sputtering “But, but…” or getting angry or defensive – well, you will have to deal with that. There are guides out there that are more politic, nice, and cater to the discomfort that the able-bodied or temporarily able-bodied feel in these situations. I do not give a damn about that. You have been warned!

Main concept: a person in a wheelchair is just that – a person in a chair. Person. Chair. That is it. The corollary to that is this: do not do ridiculous shit. If you remember nothing else, remember this, and it should guide you well.

Editorial note: I often just say "wheelchair" as that is the scope of my experience. As far as I know, all this also applies to the users of scooters and power chairs. If I am mistaken, please let me know in the comments and I will happily make appropriate changes.

Now let’s talk about how that plays out in real life.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Watch This Space!

Heya! This is just an update post to let you know I have been back in town for a couple of days, and things are okay. I am still really fatigued, but I expected and planned for that, no worries there.

Here is a taste of the next several upcoming posts:

  • I Have Politics, Get to Know Them (Me),
  • The SmartAss Guide to Puking for Pros,
  • An Awkward Moments post, and
  • The SmartAss Guide to Wheelchair Etiquette (in which I am decidedly not a good cripple!).
And since you have been nice enough to come here and read a maintenance post, I will treat you to even more of my crip-brilliant ideas:

  • Thoughts on House, MD and responsible portrayal of opiate use,
  • Hospital Visits, and why people should damn-well go,
  • Advanced Directives,
  • More Awkward Moments,
  • Disability and Sexuality,
  • Caregiver Stress and ideas of what to do about it,
  • My story (yeah, this one may take a while),
  • Emergency Bag -- why you should have one, what should be in it, and
  • The Office Visit and the Social Contract (and why you should break it!)

So, there's a little peak into my brain and my notes. Thanks for stopping by, and watch this space!