Sunday, September 07, 2008

Ho hum...

I've been feeling really down lately and refraining from posting because I don't want all my posts to be about how my life sucks. I am in the last week of my contract and I will miss this job, although it has been crazy crazy crazy busy. I am really tired and could really use some time off, but the good news is, as of next week, I will be starting a new PERMANENT job! And guess what population it's with?... for those of you who have read my previous posts, you'll understand my hesitance when I say... "rehab!". Yes, I applied for the job, it's true. But I know that's where my boss has seen me all along (and you think my disability had anything to do with that??). So, while I am extremely happy to at least have an in (and that is exactly why I decided to apply to the position in the first place... use my boss' wishes to my advantage) and can apply to other positions as they come up. Actually, only half of my job will deal with disability, the other is a different type of rehab (and no, not alcohol ;)). So, we'll see how it goes. The pace and work will be very different from what I'm doing now, and that will be a welcome break. So yay benefits! Boo loss of pay in lieu of benefits!

As for why I've been feeling down, as usual, I am stuck. I've previously mentioned that most of my friends have either moved away or had babies this year. Of the two who moved away, I was really close to one, not so close to the other. And since they've been gone, I have hardly heard from either. The one who I was close to actually came back into town and I received an email from another close friend of hers saying she was organizing a dinner out (her usual big do with 20 of her closest friends... which is just not the type of thing an introvert like me enjoys). I opted not to go for 2 reasons. One was precisely because of the number of people invited and I knew I'd maybe get to talk to her for 5 minutes. The other was I was a little miffed that she didn't call or email me herself. Not to tell me she was coming, not to say hi when she was actually here. Since she moved away almost a year ago, I have had a few emails, and one phone call. She never gave me her new cell phone #, and she's never home to answer her home phone (left 2 messages). It's left me really hurt.

My pregnant or newly mommied friends are all into their kids, obviously. When we meet we don't really talk about much other stuff. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy for them, truly, but I miss my social life, what little of it there actually was. And I feel helpless to change this pattern of meeting people, becoming friends, and they either not liking me, or me not liking them. I've been contemplating counseling, but part of me is hesitant for 2 reasons; 1, I've been in therapy before, for about 7 years for the same issues. 2, with my new permanent job comes the substantial pay cut and I don't know if I'll be able to afford it. I will be starting some new activities in the fall, so it'll be nice to get busy again and meet some new people, but I always feel like I'm starting again. Of the two friends I have who are not pregnant or moving away, one I could call up and do stuff with, but I don't really enjoy being around her. I wish I did, it would make my life much easier. But I don't. And there's no point hanging with someone you just don't want to be around.

Anyway, forgive the whiny post. I obviously need to do something to get off this whiny downward spiral, just not sure what yet.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Does anyone have an extra social life to spare?

In the last 12 months, there has been a baby boom in my city. I can name about 15 people who have had a baby. Among my friend circle, which wasn't huge to begin with, 2 have moved away, 2 have had babies, and one is currently pregnant. There remain 2 who are not likely to become pregnant nor move away. The thing is, I don't see them that often. One of the two is someone I find it increasingly difficult to be around and I don't really contact her much anymore. The other is a friend, but someone I don't see all that often. The summer has, well, sucked. Big time. Not only do I have no social life whatsoever, it has rained, rained, rained, and, oh yeah, rained. We're approaching mid-August and I feel like I've had absolutely no summer at all. Add to that the fact that I've not taken any time off work due to the fact that I don't get vacation pay. The position I've been covering for over 6 months became available, but, as my luck would have it, someone with 15+ years experience at my place of work also applied. She's actually done my job for about 6 of those years. So, I didn't stand a chance. So now I'm applying for her job. It's not somewhere I really want to be, but it's in an area my boss really wants me, so I figured I may as well give it a try and if I get it, I can try it for a while, and apply to move internally if I don't like it. I feel very much like I have no control over my life these days. There are all these things I'd like to do, but they are all hinging on other things. I'm one who usually doesn't mind spending time with myself, but right now I'm pretty sick of myself!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Found it!

Here's a link to the advertisement in question:

Maybe One Day video.

Tell me what you think.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Stupid commercials on disability

There's a new advertising campaign put out by some people (haven't paid enough attention to take note of who exactly is promoting this) promoting hiring people with disabilities. Honestly, I find these commercials extremely embarrassing and condescending. There's one where this woman with some disability (down syndrome or something like it... sorry, I'll have to pay more attention next time and clarify), and this customer is being really condescending saying things like "it's great that you people can find jobs" etc.. It's so stereotypically simple, it's embarrassing to watch. I cringe when I see it. Yes, I agree that some people don't think people with disabilities can work, etc, but I'm not a big supporter of the "in your face" approach. I think there's something intrinsically wrong with a commercial telling society that people with disabilities are human beings and have value in that tone. Sure, many people have preconceived ideas of what someone with a disability can or can't do, but I really don't think an in your face commercial is going to help. In fact, it was such a stupid commercial, I think it could be more damaging than not.

Actually, I have trouble with any commercial that tells you how you should see someone. Are we really that stupid that we need advertising to get involved?? Wait, don't answer that.

I can't seem to find a video of the commercial in question. If anyone can find a link to it, please let me know! Here are some links to some other pro-disability commercials. The MADD ones make me particularly squeamish. I'd like to hear your comments!

Disability Means Possibility
Disability Awareness
MADD commercial

I can't help but love the Wallace and Gromitness of this commercial, but still...

Leonard Chershire Disability Creature Discomforts

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Dry spell

Howdy folks,

It seems I've hit a dry spell. It's been almost 10 months that I've hardly posted anything. I've been wracking my brain for things to say. It's not that I don't have fodder in my life. I do, for sure. I just feel uninspired to write. The thing I've been struggling with most lately is the fact that most of my friends, in the past year, have either moved away or gotten pregnant/had babies. I am left with 2 friends who will not be having babies, although one of those will probably move away in the future. Though that may be a good thing because I find more and more she's not someone I enjoy spending a lot of time with. So that leaves my social life kind of a solo act these days, which sucks.

I've been ruminating a lot lately about finding that balance between accepting my neuroticism, and making myself not too scary to others. Still looking. I've also been ruminating about adopting a kid. It's been on the burner for a while, but it's just not an option, financially, at the moment.

I read a comment from someone saying they are reading this and other blogs because their nephew has a disability. I think that's great. It's so important to be informed and start to think about what this person may need for the rest of their life. I think people, for the most part, see people with disabilities differently than they did when I was growing up. And I think the change is for the better. Schools seem to make more effort to integrate people with disabilities into regular classrooms, rather than assuming they all need special education. And there are less physical barriers at school, though of course many still exist. Most schools seem to have wheelchair access now, as opposed to a chosen few.

I think, equally important, is to treat that person as "normal" as possible, without being TOO strict about it. For example, I used to work in an environment that had a lot of disabled children. The parents would often tell me that they know they "should" be letting their children do more things on their own (dress and push themselves), but it often took longer and they just wanted to get things done quicker so they could leave the house on time, etc. In my opinion, this is a HUGE, HUGE problem! I saw so much of myself in these kids, although I had a mother who tried to force me to be more independent than perhaps I should have, which was the opposite extreme. I saw teenagers who were urine-soaked, unkempt, generally unclean. I saw kids who were spoiled, whose parents hovered over them to overcompensate for the fact their child had no friends or "less opportunities". Kids whose social skills were less than par.

I don't have the magic answer to anything really. But I think if parents of disabled children can remain aware that their child is the same as all other children, yet different. They will have talents and abilities that others don't have, no matter what they may be. Feed that, but not to an unrealistic proportion. If I brought a drawing home when I was a kid, my dad would praise me for it, no matter if it were just a straight line in black and put it on the fridge. My mom would praise me if it were really good and put it on the fridge, otherwise would say thanks and it woudl end up in a drawer. There has to be a happy medium there somewhere. All kids need to feel self worth, and they only get this by people being genuine to them. If family treats them differently than that, for better or worse, spoiling and overpraising, or neglecting or over-criticizing, then the self-worth is in danger of running amok.

To all you parents of children with disabilities: Good luck! You've got a tough job ahead of you. But rest assured that, no matter what you do, how fair and supportive, and equal you try to be, it's a constant process of trial and error. But there are so many resources out there now for info and support, which didn't exist as abundantly in the past. Use them. Learn. And keep going.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Ooey gooey messy magical Duoderm

So I've got a pressure sore. My occupational therapist had made some changes to my chair a few months back. One of them was to put a board under my Roho cushion. Since then I keep getting pressure sores on my coccyx. I've removed the board as a result, and hope this doesn't cause more problems with my back/shoulder/neck pain as it puts me a bit lower in the new hard back I have on my chair. I've always had foldable backs. But my toushie skin must be looked after too. So I'm using Duoderm. It's wonderful in the sense that nothing I've ever tried has ever worked as wonderful as it. It's almost magical that way. However, Duoderm's downfall is that it's messy. As it interacts with the pressure sore, it gets gooey and leaks. And the odour is foul. The rub is that Duoderm only seems to work optimally if you leave it on for about 3 days before changing it. The goo is needed in the healing process. So I keep adding tape around the leakage parts and wash around it. However, taking showers and getting it wet seems to impede the effectiveness of the tape and makes it easier for the goo to seep out. It's a huge nuisance, especially if you work and have to interact around people, wondering if it's oozing. Does anyone else have this problem? Are there any Duoderm secrets that people have for making it work best?

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Chronic Pain

So I've got this bad shoulder. I can remember clearly the exact moment it appeared too. I was walking home one March evening from dinner with a friend. There wasn't any pain, it was just this tired feeling that went right up my left arm. In the 5 years that have followed, I have seen 4 physios and 1 occupational therapist. All have pretty much given up. The verdict? I'll probably have to live with this from now on.

But I've been thinking. I spent a long, long amount of time with the occupational therapist going over changes in my chair. We changed the back from a soft foldable back to a hard one. They changed the canes on the back of my chair to angled ones because it was felt that part of the problem, aside from outright overuse of my arms in general, was that my arm hit the cane as I was reaching back to grab the wheel and stopped my arm from going back in the direction it should naturally go in. The interesting thing was, in this whole process, I have found it incredibly difficult to identify and verbalize exactly where and when the pain comes and if it gets better or worse over time. I think my O.T. was incredibly frustrated with me. I'd try a back and it felt fine for a while, and then just when I thought it was good, after about 10 days it started to hurt. Excruciatingly.

So we finally settled on this hard J-something back and I can't say unequivocally that it is better than my old back. Sure, I do notice some difference, like more support to my lower back. But I still have the shoulder and arm pain. I'm actually home from work today as a result of it. Although it may have been aggravated by lifting my Macbook repeatedly in the past 2 weeks with my bad arm only. I've stopped doing that to see if it makes a difference. One thing I do notice is that my height was a problem. I'm really short and I wasn't hitting the right parts of the back, even when it was installed as low as possible on the chair. It wasn't custom made for this particular chair. To add height and stability, my O.T. added a wooden board under my ROHO cushion. Even with a medium profile ROHO, I still get pressure sores on my coccyx with the board.

It's been a really frustrating few years. And I can't help but think the inevitable outcome will be an electric chair soon. I'd like to try these swanky Motion wheels that have batteries in them and give you more push for your push. I tried them out and they were awesome! The problem? $6,500!!! Did I mention I don't have insurance?

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Help, I've fallen and I can't stop eating

I have been attending weight watchers for 1 1/2 years and have lost 28 pounds. The first 20 pounds were easy. The next 8 were excruciatingly different. I have another 7 to go. Except I don't. I melted. It started with having to bake for a certain function. I should have said no, but I wanted to be a team player, so I baked. And I ate. And I ate. That was 3 weeks ago. And I'm still eating. I haven't been on a bender like this in a long, long time. I had gotten really far with changing my eating habits and thinking of this as a way of life, and not a diet. I am of the mentality that diets don't work. However, I'm a very short person and I was down to 117. It got to the point where I was following the program and not losing any more weight. For months. And months. Almost a year, in fact. I was so close, but it was feeling too restrictive and not fun anymore. I was starting to worry too much about everything that I was bound to collapse. And I did. Astronomically. I gained 12 pounds in 2 1/2 weeks. Now, I know a lot of that is water retention as I've stopped drinking as much water. I have been trying to get back on track for about 2 weeks and I just can't kick myself to do it. I stopped going to the gym, stopped going to meetings. Every day i say today will be the day, but I keep eating crap and to an extent that I just feel like crap all the time. I need to find a balance between eating healthily and feeling satisfied. Hopefully I'll get back on track soon.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Thinking about happiness...

Hello folks. Yes, I am alive and well. I just haven't felt inspired to blog in the past few months. Not that things haven't been going on, they certainly have. Let me catch you up, and then I'll go on to some ruminations I've been doing of late.

Well, I had a whirlwind summer and fall with The Police tour. I know I've posted in the fall, but some things I didn't mention. I will have witnessed about half a dozen shows by the end of the tour. It's been an amazing experience. And, as I am not about to post pictures of myself, you'll have to take my word for this next part. I had the good fortune to find out where they were staying in one city and staked out the hotel in the less than tepid weather. I was the only one there waiting. At first none of the hotel staff said anything to me, and I didn't say anything to them, as I was afraid they would try to get me to leave. But they didn't. The chauffer was waiting for a while and we started to chat and he agreed to take a picture of me with the boys if they agreed. So finally, after about 2 1/2 hours of waiting, Stewart came out. I meekly called out and asked if I could get an autograph. He obliged, but wasn't very friendly, I must say. He also allowed the chauffer to take a picture of us. Then a few minutes later Sting came out and ... same thing, except Sting was just absolutely lovely! He was very friendly and chatted a bit. Turns out Andy didn't come out until later, so I had to keep waiting, but ended up getting autographs and pictures of all 3! I've only waited since 1981.. if nothing else, I have stamina! ;)

And I went back home and reunited with a bunch of people I reconnected with on Facebook. Including "The Guy". We went to dinner, just the two of us, and it was really nice. We stayed out a couple hours. It was comfortable, but it was casual. I didn't bring any expectations with me, and I left with none. We still keep in contact on Facebook, but I'm not expecting us to be best friends. Whatever it is, it is, and I'm okay with that.

I'm still working at the hospital, in an area I enjoy. I'm in a contract until June, so it's not permanent, but I am recognizing the value of being somewhere I want, doing something I like. It was tough at first because I stopped talking to a lot of the people I thought I was close to at work. One woman I thought was a close friend turned out not to be. In hindsight, I should have seen that. It took a while to adjust. I didn't know how to act around them, but I was able to get myself finally to a place where I can be polite, say hello, chit chat, but not go beyond that. Workplace friendships can go sour, but you still have to work together. No matter what happens, you can't take it personally or it reflects on your work. I'm just concentrating now on the work, and showing my boss I'm in the right area and I am a worthy employee. And I like that task.

But it hasn't been all rosy and enlightening. I find my circle of friends has diminished this year. My closest friend here moved away, as did another friend. My other closest friend had a baby, as did another friend. So that's 4 friends I saw frequently that I don't see much anymore. I have 2 others that I still see often, but the social life has taken a beating. I've been thinking a lot about happiness lately, and what it takes to achieve that. Some people are more prone to it, and seem to find it wherever, no matter what life throws at them, while others struggle along.

I have experienced depression. About 15 years ago, I experienced some changes and losses, and went into a depression that lasted about 3 months. I didn't want to eat, I had panic attacks almost every night and was afraid to go to sleep as a result. I was getting by on 3 1/2 to 4 hours sleep every night, lost 20 pounds. I cried all the time. Yet, deep down, I knew this was a phase I was going through, that I would get through. I never doubted that for a second. And I was right. I started behaviour therapy and learned how to relax. I learned that I could control the panic attacks, and they stopped. Immediately.

Yet, even though I have managed to avoid deep depression, I am left with an eternal grey. I ended up going on anti-depressants some time after that episode, even though I wasn't in the throes of a deep depression. And they helped. Except for the fact that I wanted to sleep all the time and they made my head queazy when I missed a dose.

I don't want to return to anti-depressants. I want to learn to be happy on my own. But I don't have the foggiest idea how to do that. I've tried to make friends, but I keep making the wrong ones, or the good ones move away. I have a history of making friends that I don't want to continue to be friends with. I either cut them out of my life, or they cut me. I'd like to have a relationship with someone, but I have no idea how to do that either. I've grown so accustomed to my being alone, that I've led myself to believe that no one I'm interested in could feel that way about me and all my quirks and hang-ups, not to mention the physical disability and all it encompasses. I have never had an easy time with friendships or relationships with family. How on earth does one get past all that crap and lead a healthy life with all that that entails?

Yet, people do. I know it's possible. But a large part of me has given up. And that's one of the biggest obstacles. Sure, I am still friendly to people. I still reach out and go to lunch with colleagues. I participate in dating websites because the idea of putting myself out there with people I actually know is beyond my comprehension. So I look at that as a half-hearted effort. Taking a real chance would be with real people, face to face. Part of my reasoning is if I have that much trouble making friends, it's going to be that much more impossible to make more than friends.

I was having coffee with a friend yesterday. This friend tends to be very negative and cynical most of the time and this really annoys me. She said "what scares me is that as I approach 30, I know that I'll be in the same boat when I'm 40". I told her she didn't know that and that she could do things in her life to change her circumstance. And at the time, I truly believed that if she just did such and such instead of whining, she'd get what she wanted. A little hypocritical, I know. Because that's exactly the way I feel about myself. I feel I've tried to do things to change my circumstances. I have game nights, dinner parties. Yet, I'm always in the same boat. So how can I judge someone who is exactly in my same position?

I have 2 more friends back in my hometown who are the same. And I get frustrated at them. I think what my frustration really represents is that I tend to find myself surrounded by people in the same boat as me, and that makes me feel more helpless about getting out of the boat. There's obviously something about me and my vibes that attracts the same. Yet how to change the vibes.

I was watching Oprah the other day. I am not a fan of Oprah, but I felt like lounging and she was there. The topic of the day was getting what you want out of life and she showcased three people and books. The books were The Secret, and The Laws of Attraction, and You Can Heal Your Life. I was bored and figured, hey, it can't hurt to check them out? So I literally did just that from the library. Well, one anyway, the other two are on request. I got my hands on The Laws of Attraction First. It made sense. Common sense. Of the "duh" variety. A very easy, quick read, with very little to say. The basic concept is you can attract what you want by changing your views on what it is that you do and don't want, and being open to that. I would have to agree. So far so good.

However, here is where they lose me. The author claims that if you want a million bucks, you can get a million bucks, just by the sheer act of believing you will get a million bucks. The concept is too simple to actually be that valid, in my humble opinion. I can believe that if you want a be married, have kids, live comfortably working in the job you enjoy, you can attain that by being positive, open and emitting that type of energy that gets picked on by others who are, in turn, attracted to that. I don't believe that just because you send out positive vibes that someone will call you that they will. And if they do, I believe it's a fluke, not the laws of attraction.

I don't really have an idea as to where this post is going, so I will wrap it up as it is already far too long and rambly. I am still trying to figure out how to get what I want out of life, but I also believe I am being realistic in thinking that I will not change drastically my personality and who I am, essentially. Or perhaps I actually will die an old, miserable maid after all ;).