Sunday, October 26, 2008

Miss Independent

After not feeling well last week, I did what I always do when I feel a bit better, I overdid it. For some reason I also got the brilliant idea that I could (yes) and should (no) open a door by myself while on the scooter. Given the length of the platform compared to my small scooter or a wheelchair, how I must angle and how far forward I must reach, how I must reposition to get myself through the door while holding it open...well, I pulled something around one of my thoracic vertebrae. Usually I'm smarter and just wait a few minutes for someone to come along. Or turn the scooter off and call someone in the building.

Friday night and most of Saturday I couldn't eat from pain, finally managed to get the edge off of it enough to take my daughter to the Girl Scout Halloween festival. I know how to prevent this (not open doors)--I know there are certain things I shouldn't do. I wonder if talking to an occupational therapist though would allow me to learn to do this kind of thing without pain or injury. I like doing things for myself.

The boys returned from their camping trip a bit ago, smelly, tired, and happy.

My in-laws saw on Friday how much my daughter helps out while they're still thinking what to do. I don't even ask her for help in this regard--I was going to ask a grown-up. But she spots the best seating for me, pulled out the right two chairs. She also helps me with the remote to reload the lift so I don't have to strain forward. And when I headed to the restroom at the game, she said the disability stall was accessible, that she'd already checked it out for me. She can tell as well as I can whether I can get the scooter into a space or not. And didn't seem to mind last night that I couldn't make the easy dinner I'd planned and could only warm up Amy's frozen meals.

What I've also noticed is that her friends become more observant from being around her, for example noticing which entrances I can get in and which I can't, how and why certain accommodations are needed. And her lack of self consciousness about all of it carries over to them.

I've injured myself like this before, actually much more overall during my first week of scooter use. I can't wait until it calms down again.


Wheelchair Dancer said...

gah. really annoying when the thing that is supposed to be freeing actually gets you hurt. gah.


FridaWrites said...

Yes, my first thought was pride that I could do this my myself again: "I can do it all by myself..." Second thought: "Oh shit."

Unknown said...

Would you consider mentioning my newly-published memoir on your blog? I would be happy to exchange blog feeds as well.

Seven Wheelchairs: A Life beyond Polio was recently released by The University of Iowa Press.

The memoir is a history -- an American tale -- of my fifty year wheelchair journey after being struck by both bulbar and lumbar poliomyelitis after a vaccine accident in 1959. The Press says Seven Wheelchairs gives "readers the unromantic truth about life in a wheelchair, he escapes stereotypes about people with disabilities and moves toward a place where every individual is irreplaceable."

Other reviewers have called Seven Wheelchairs "sardonic and blunt," "a compelling account," and "powerful and poetic."

I hope you can mention Seven Wheelchairs on your blog. We all live different disability stories, I know, but perhaps if you find the memoir worthwhile, you might want to recommend the book to others who are curious about what polio or disability in general.

Of course, the book is also available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Gary Presley
SEVEN WHEELCHAIRS: A Life beyond Polio
Fall 2008 University of Iowa Press

D Phoenix said...

I hope you've mended from your long reach. I've done similar things that seem simple at first and end up being too big a strain. You're not alone in your over-reaching into independence!

I have some people in my life like your daughter who, when they spend time with me, help out in a way that is just part of the everyday routine, just part of being an ally and it's so normal and the flow is great. I'm impressed that your daughter has come to this so young and it's really heartening to hear that her friends are learning from her.

It sounds like an OT assessment might be helpful. It might be good not to have to learn the hard way!

I'm sorry you've been in so much pain lately. Sucks. I've been thinking of you and hope that you're in a bit better shape or that you're coping okay.

FridaWrites said...

Gary, I look forward to reading your book. I'm sorry I've been too tired to do a regular post.

Donimo, I'm doing better but had to up the pain drugs this week. The chiropractor put me back in place, but I overdid at swim class yesterday. I need to pay attention to my limits more instead of what people tell me my limits are.

I'm going to ask about the OT assessment in a few weeks--it definitely wouldn't hurt and might help prevent injuries!!