Sunday, July 13, 2008

In which I take a moment to complain

I taught today, which means I was on my feet, up and down, for three hours. I feel it now. For a change-up it is my right leg that is killing me instead of my left. I shouldn't whine. I've had two really good weeks. Even though I have felt pretty much constantly like I was going to fall over at any moment, I only fell over once, and I have only had one incident of that horrible electric burning stabbing pain in the past 14 days, instead of having more like 14 in one day. So, all in all, good. But I have to repeat today's performance again on Sunday, and then every weekend until the second week of August. On top of working during the week. I hope the legs hold out, because I would very much like to go to the beach after all this is over, and the only way I am going to get there is if I drive myself.

OK, moment of complaint is over. On to other things. Elizabeth is talking about how some asshats think she is faking it. Apparently, you aren't allowed to be severely disabled and still get anything accomplished. Please. May I present Ivar the Boneless, Viking berserker? I particularly like how the Wikipedia article says that after his invasion of East Anglia, "An accommodation was quickly reached with the East Anglians." Yes, I know what it really means, but I prefer to envision old Ivar putting accessible transportation in his list of demands. Then there was Timur the Lame, who would totally have kicked your ass if you so much as hinted that, just because he took over all the territiory between the Levant and India, and was on his way to taking over China, that he was lying about being lame. Yes, and after he was done kicking your ass, he'd set you on fire and then toss your skull onto the closest big pile of skulls he had at hand.

Fortunately, most people with disabilities are nice folks who don't spend an inordinate amount of time plotting to take over the world. But the point is that people with disabilities, with diseases, with even terminal conditions aren't dead yet and have no intention of practicing being dead before drawing the last breath makes it mandatory. Harriet McBryde Johnson is one of the best known faces of that spirit of living fully. When she died, it was, as she had planned, while she was alive, not in a state of mournful waiting, but a state of planning for the next day and the next year, in a condition of action.

What about people in pain? Should they be out pushing themselves? Of course, they should! Distraction is necessary for living with pain. Sometimes, pain is too much to keep going in the way you had before, but life doesn't stop for pain. Usually, you have to do things simply because you have to do them. Not everyone is as full-bore determind as Elizabeth to push physical limits, but everyone stays as busy as possible for their situation. Boredom only makes everything worse. And spending part of your day in seizures doesn't count as boredom relieving. You can check ask my daughter about that. She constantly has projects going, different ones for different levels of daily ability. That's not unusual. That's what people do.

Me, I'm going to finish the laundry and go to sleep. And in five weeks time, I hope I will be driving two hundred miles to salt water and setting up camp.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Can this be real?

And why isn't it available yet?

The Manta

A power wheelchair that looks like an office chair and weighs less than 50 pounds! Wow!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Site changes

I have made changes to my blog roll. The main thing is that I replaced my list with my disability RSS feed. Stuff that wouldn't transfer as an RSS, I have kept as web links. Most of the blogs I had successfully made the change. Some didn't, either because I find myself not reading them, they update even less often than I do, or something weird just happens when I try to subscribe to them (Evil Lunch Lady, I'm looking at you!). And there's always the probability that I just screwed up and deleted something I meant to keep.

Anyway, I hope you like it, and if you are feeling left out, drop me a line.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Oh! One more thing!

I got to see the city fireworks display from my own backyard! I hollered at the neighbors that we could get a clear view, and then we sat out in the yard, listening to the squeals of the pre-schoolers in response to the brilliant display just over the tree tops. Hurray for fireworks! Hurray for neighbors to enjoy them with! Hurray for silly five year olds!


Well, I have reached ketosis on the induction phase of Atkins. After the first couple of days, this diet got much easier. Since I don't usually eat bread, pasta, or cookies to start with, about the only thing I've given up on a regular basis is corn tortillas. So, I just have to have my tacos in lettuce leaves instead.

Lettuce-leaf tacos (wow, that's a bad picture!)

Friday, I had roast beef with lettuce greens, lettuce, a bit of bell pepper, a jalapeno, 4 strips of bacon, more chicken, flax seeds, chicharrones with habenero sour cream, cream cheese and celery, and cream. And a small glass of red wine.

I have pretty much finished off that chicken, unless I want it to be soup, so I guess I should finish off one of the pork chops. And I intend to make some freezer ice cream, partly because it seems like a good way to mix in the fiber supplement I'm taking.

Now for speculation. Usually, I have terrible burning stabbing pains that erupt in my legs, hips, and abdomen. I haven't had one this week. Is it because of this diet? Or am I just having a lucky week?

Friday, July 04, 2008

Declaration of Interdependence

The best thing about disability is that it really brings home the truth that community and individualism are intertwined. The best community is one that supports individual achievement and difference, and the best individual is one that gives back to community.

Elizabeth is a great example of that in action. Beth has repeatedly defied society's vision of what someone in a terminal condition should be doing (i.e. looking at plants), and dared what so many of the rest of us have only dreamed. But she does it, in large part, knowing that she has supporters, people who think the world of her and her fierce determination. What she does, who she is, how could she do or be without any of us? When we cheer her, we cheer us, too. And she gives back fully. By daring to take risks, she encourages the fainter hearts among us to do what otherwise might only be a dream. Carapace (yes, I'm prejudiced here) is another person whose independence and individualism is supported by a community, and she gives back to make the community stronger. She doesn't do it the way Elizabeth does. She does it by dint of her sunny personality. Right now, she can only work a few hours a week, due to her seizures. But because her boss tolerates her seizures, her husband and I provide transportation, and the US taxpayer covers her medical expenses, the reward is that everyone who comes to the desk when she is on duty goes away feeling better about themselves. She has a compliment for everyone, insidiously spreading good will and positivity every chance she gets. Take a look at Stephen, over in the UK. He's the first to tell us all that his wellbeing is dependent upon a community that cares about him as an individual. From his loving wife, to his mother-in-law, to the infamous NHS, a community web exists that allows him to make his individual contribution to the greater good. Where would his kids be without him? Or the many friends and kinsmen who count on him as part of the joy in their world? I could go on, but I'd really rather people tell me about how they see this interdependence in their own lives. (Yes, that's a plea for comments).

Where the individual wheels, the path becomes smoother for those coming behind, who are not trailblazers, and for those who are adventurous by nature to take new, fresh risks that will continue to open the path for the community. So, by supporting individualism, the community benefits by having individuals who are more able to be part of the community.

Happy Interdependence Day, everyone.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Days 3 and 4, and this looks like it will be worth it

Wednesday, Carapace came to work with me and she made sure I ate just like I was supposed to. I had a piece of cheese, some proscuitto, and an onion for breakfast; beef, chicken, sour cream, lettuce and a bit of cheese and salsa for lunch; then a dinner of beef, zucchini, and mushrooms. For snack, I had chicharrones.

Today I didn't eat breakfast, what with needing to go to the store and to pay some bills before heading off to work. But lunch was roasted chicken, baby greens salad, a little cheese, and sour cream. I haven't eaten dinner yet tonight either, as it approaches midnight, though I just had a snack of chicharrones and sour cream with habanero salsa. I also had a Coke Plus today, which I had never had before. It is a diet Coke with vitamins and minerals. Other colas have been doing this for decades, but Coke just started this recently.

I split the Coke with Carapace, who was at work today, too, even though she thought she wouldn't be able to make it as she was anticipating a major brain meltdown. But it never happened! Sure, she was in pain and lost partial control of the right side of her body, but she never once went unconscious! Oh, let her tell it herself....

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Day 2

Having started the Atkins diet Monday, I wasn't sure what today would bring. I made some eggs with fiber supplement, cream, and a tablespoon of buckwheat for breakfast, and only ate half. Lunch/dinner was 3/4 of a small zucchini, 2 green onions, procuitto, and gouda cheese with mustard. Snack was the rest of the zucchini and a small piece of beef (about 2 inches square). And right now, I'm drinking a small glass of wine. I'm not positive about the wine, but I am willing to be convinced that it has effectively no carbs (really, that's what I read online. And if it's online, it must be true. If I want it to be.)

Anyway, Tuesday was much easier than Monday. I think that not eating as much overall was a help. I don't normally eat all that much, so the portions were daunting. And I ate more cheese than anything else today, and I very much like cheese.

In two weeks time, I dream I will have a large helping of kasha (buckwheat groats), many servings of vegetables, and a handful of my favorite cereal (Not all at once! That would wreck the diet. I'll just work them in during the week). My precious, precious cereal. My favorite cereal ever, for which I looked high and low for years and found the day before starting this diet. Ah, Mesa Sunrise, why aren't you on all store shelves, with your amaranth-y, flax-y goodness?

If you see this box of cereal, buy it. Oh, it is so good, even though it is pricey.

Butter that bacon, boy

(This salad in a bacon cup is from Not Martha)

Monday, I started the Atkins diet. I'm doing it with my daughter, Carapace, who is trying it to see if it will limit her seizures. Me, maybe I will lose weight. Or not. I'm mostly doing it as moral support. It's hard being on a diet all by oneself, and a lot easier if family participates.

I am doing it without the knowledge or blessing of my doctor, who is concerned about my cholesterol levels. Am I concerned about my cholesterol levels? No. They tend to run high in my family, yet no one seems to have any troubles until their 70s. The doctor wants me to stop eating bread and butter. As he told me what he wanted me to do, I kept pointing out that I don't eat wheat products, therefore, I have very little reason to use any sort of spreads. In an entire year, I don't quite finish off one quart of cooking oil or a pound of butter. Whatever caused my cholesterol to be too high for his satisfaction, it wasn't my diet. At least, by being on Atkins, in a couple of months, I will finally have something to give up. And I look forward to that day, because Monday's meals were tasty but way more fatty than I am used to.

Breakfast: 2 eggs, cooked in butter, one cup half decaf coffee
Snack: boiled egg
Lunch: A fatty pork chop and 2 cups of lettuce, with an olive oil dressing and cheese
Dinner: Who can eat dinner after all that fat? It took me all afternoon to eat lunch.
I have drunk a lot of water today, which I don't normally do, so I guess that's a benefit that I wasn't expecting.

I did breakdown and have a handful nuts, which I understand are a bit too carby for this stage of the diet. But I wasn't driving 30 miles home without something for my brain to burn.

Tomorrow, I'll try for more cheese and some zucchini. Doesn't that sound nice? Zucchini with cheese and proscuitto.

I'm really looking forward to more vegetables in two weeks time.