Tag Archives: disability

Failure is an Option

 

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I was told recently that I needed to give myself permission to fail. Failure. It took me a few minutes to get my head around the concept. It was a physiotherapist who gave me these words of wisdom. I must admit I did not at first see them as wise words. My first thought was that here was another one in authority who wanted me to give up. I was wrong, she was right. I do need to give myself permission to fail and so do you. Failure is not giving up. There are things that I am unable to do at this time. Perhaps in the future I will be able to but not right now. I get frustrated because I have so much difficulty. I want to do it right, right now. That frustration is actually working against me. What I need to do is to acknowledge that it is difficult right now but that must not stop me from working at it continually. Eventually it should get easier. I will only completely fail when I stop trying.

 Once that goal is met I will make another one, and another one. I must always look forward but I have to admit that it is not going to be easy or quick. It is the journey that I am taking that is important not the destination. And yes, there will be failures on the way. I will learn from them and I will be stronger and wiser for it.

WHEELCHAIR 5

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My Life is Worthwhile!

IMG_0863Why is it that we place so much stock in what other people think we can end up sabotaging ourselves? What other people think is important only in a peripheral sense. I do not need another person to tell me that I have worth in this world or that my beliefs are important. They are important to me. Just as another person’s beliefs are important to them and should be respected by everyone. No one has the right to belittle another just because they may not understand.

Religion is a very good example. We all have different ideas, different faiths, different practices and no one belief should have any more value than another. Just because someone doesn’t believe the same dogma as I do does not make them wrong, just different. Faith is very personal and private. Religion is one thing, faith is another. Religion was created by people to make sense of the darkness, to reach out to each other for comfort and for strength.

Faith is God given. It is from within. It does not promise you the world and all its wonders. It does allow you to see those wonders if you believe in them.

Are you afraid of what the future holds? Do you fear that you will never marry because you have a disability? Or that you will be unable to work or attend school? You may never marry. You may have to quit work or school. Is that the end of your life? You decide. We are put on this earth for many, many reasons, none of which I know. What I do know is that I am the architect of my own future and I will not throw in the towel. Life is precious yes, but life is easy – inhale, exhale. What is difficult, and a lot more valuable, is living. Each and every day brings us wonders, heartache and beauty. We may have to look for it but it is there. You must try to find the good in every situation and the more you try, the easier it will become. That is the way one has a life, work at it, every day.

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What exactly is independence?

I often hear people talking about the need to be ‘independent’. What does that mean to you? According to Webster’s dictionary: “ Independent is to be free from the influence, control, or determination of another, relying only on one’s self or one’s own abilities and judgments; a person who is self-sufficient in thinking and action”. I submit to you that no one is truly independent. In this very small world of ours we all depend on each other for our very survival. Our actual independence is merely how we approach each day and each situation that we encounter. If we are capable of acting and reacting on our own initiative then we can truly say we are independent.

Independence is a frame of mind as much as it is a physical manifestation. Challenges may be different for each of us but we all face them. Now for a moment place yourself in a wheelchair.

 

Do you ever feel as if you should apologize for being in a wheelchair? Why? What have you done that is wrong? Okay, if you purposely drove over someone’s foot you should apologize. That is actually considered a bad thing. Unless of course they were being a jerk . . no, that still is not a good enough excuse. Running over toes in a wheelchair is not considered polite.

I sometimes feel that I should apologize for taking up space in a hallway or on a sidewalk, but I don’t. I may joke with the people around me about running over their feet but it is just to ease any concerns. I know there are those who think all people with disabilities are the same. But we are just as varied and as individual as able-bodied people are. I know there is some fear or concern about saying the wrong thing and offending people with disabilities. I almost feel it is my duty to alleviate that concern. In a perfect world people would judge me as a person first and disregard the wheelchair. I just take my front row seat with me wherever I go. In many ways I am pushy. I refuse to allow people to treat me like a cripple. Perhaps that is a lesson for everyone. If you act like a victim you will become a victim. I may have a disability but I am not crippled.

rose

 

 

 

 

Independence

doghfrr

What exactly is independence?

I often hear people talking about the need to be ‘independent’. What does that mean to you? According to Webster’s dictionary: “ Independent is to be free from the influence, control, or determination of another, relying only on one’s self or one’s own abilities and judgments; a person who is self-sufficient in thinking and action”. I submit to you that no one is truly independent. In this very small world of ours we all depend on each other for our very survival. Our actual independence is merely how we approach each day and each situation that we encounter. If we are capable of acting and reacting on our own initiative then we can truly say we are independent.

Independence is a frame of mind as much as it is a physical manifestation. Challenges may be different for each of us but we all face them. Now for a moment place yourself in a wheelchair.

Do you ever feel as if you should apologize for being in a wheelchair? Why? What have you done that is wrong? Okay, if you purposely drove over someone’s foot you should apologize. That is actually considered a bad thing. Unless of course they were being a jerk . . no, that still is not a good enough excuse. Running over toes in a wheelchair is not considered polite.

I sometimes feel that I should apologize for taking up space in a hallway or on a sidewalk, but I don’t. I may joke with the people around me about running over their feet but it is just to ease any concerns. I know there are those who think all people with disabilities are the same. But we are just as varied and as individual as able-bodied people are. I know there is some fear or concern about saying the wrong thing and offending people with disabilities. I almost feel it is my duty to alleviate that concern. In a perfect world people would judge me as a person first and disregard the wheelchair. I just take my front row seat with me wherever I go. In many ways I am pushy. I refuse to allow people to treat me like a cripple. Perhaps that is a lesson for everyone. If you act like a victim you will become a victim. I may have a disability but I am not crippled.

rose

 

 

 

 

The Experts?

 

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I know, I know, I am just a poor slob who carries around my own stumbling blocks.  But I am intimately involved with those stumbling blocks.  I am in a wheelchair.  I have used a walker, canes and a scooter.  I think I am perhaps more aware of what the benefits and problems are with each aid than some of these ‘experts’ appear to be.  My scooter was wonderful.  It was comfortable, had a great basket for shopping and it is no longer available to purchase.  Why?  It is, was, the most inexpensive of all the scooters I could find, it is one of only a few scooters that has the basket attached to the body of the vehicle as opposed to the tiller.  If the basket is attached to the tiller then the weight of anything you put into the basket is transferred to the tiller.  As the tiller is used to steer the scooter, steering becomes very stiff.  Lack of control is simply an accident waiting to happen.  The ‘experts/designers’ must have realized this because the baskets are very small.  I could maybe get a carton of milk and a loaf of bread in some of them. I guess this means the users of these vehicles are not supposed to do any shopping.  Ah yes, another vote for independence.

I am now using a power wheelchair.  They do not have any baskets.  I have been told that I can put anything I buy in a bag on the back of my chair. If I were a contortionist that would be an option.  I am not.  On my first chair I developed a solution.  You see I may have a disability, but I am not without some intelligence.  There may be those that disagree but we will talk about them later, much later.  Back to the basket.  I took a bungee cord, a little one, and attached it to the chair just behind my footrests.  Then I took a basket and placed in on the footrest and on the bungee cord and voila! A shopping basket.  Now I can go shopping when I want or take it off and go without.  AND I CAN DO IT ALL BY MYSELF!  Now that is independence.  Everyone told me that a power chair would allow me to remain independent.  They didn’t mention that as long as I had someone to do my shopping.  I just added that remark to the YEAH RIGHT column and deleted it with the rest of the garbage. My second chair was modified by a friend based on my designed and is even better. A small shelf was attached to the chair just above the footrests.  When not needed it tucks out of the way.

Are you getting the impression that there is a conspiracy to keep the undesirables down?  Silly thought.  There are those who may consider me an eyesore but I do not believe it is because of my disability.  I think it is just their inability to see.  They are not blind just really, really dense.   With the cost of everything for those with a ‘disability’ so expensive it is no surprise the makers of these devices want to keep the lucrative market to themselves.  If everyone were able to purchase items that were made to last and had all the right devices on them, the market would collapse.  Yep, my cynicism is just bubbling to the surface here.  I deal with a store that services my equipment and they have tried to explain problems to the makers and were rebuffed.  Even when the makers were wrong, they would not admit it and correct the problem.  How sad.  I am sure there are good people out there but it is sometimes tough to find them.  When I find something that works, I hang on to it.

That philosophy just never worked on men!