Friday, September 26, 2008


My neck was squeaking like mice in an old sofa. And it had been doing this since I had awoken in the morning, with no sign that it was going to simply click into place like I had been hoping. So, out came the cervical collar. I slapped it on over my hair, little caring how it looked. I could fix my hair later. Besides, it isn't like no one isn't going to notice it no matter what. Eventually, people get used to seeing me with bits of gear, depending on the trouble of the day.

A lovely young woman came in to the office a moment later, asking for her paperwork. But she didn't have her official identification. She'd been in before, and we'd let it slide once but couldn't again. She really didn't want to have a picture made, not like she is right now. "How much longer with the eye patch?" "At least two more months. Do I really need to get it made now?"

I was trying to think if I dared assume the authority to grant another extension. "Oh," she asked, "are you alright? What happened?" "Huh? Oh, yeah. Nothing happened. Sometimes I have to wear this. It's how I am. It's OK. ....Your ID, you know, you really need it."

She smiled. "It's fine. I'll get it."

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Support EFM!

Why should you help Elizabeth McClung? If you follow her blog, you know that she is a good friend, a generous person, and way, way too self-deprecating to have accepted help before now. Her wife Linda can tell you what they need help with specifically. Linda has finally gotten a Paypal button working at her brand new blog, A Girl's Gotta Fly, because so many of us have begged to be able to help.

Let me tell you how Elizabeth came into my life. She's the one who took the initiative, browsing blogs during a night of insomnia. She found mine, and posted a comment about pain and dislocation. I'm a chronic insomniac so I responded right off, and then went to look at her blog. And I posted. And she responded! She responds to everyone! She's great that way! To Elizabeth, everyone is important, and everyday is a day to be grabbed and lived. And she is astonishingly honest about the reality of life with a rapidly progressive disability.

I said she was generous, didn't I? There's no need to take my word for it. When she and Linda went to Japan, they took all Beth's readers along, too. Tell me, if your health was steadily deteriorating and you had the chance to go on the vacation of a life time while you still had life, would you bring along a motley assortment of people you've never seen? But Beth did, posting wonderful photographs and in-depth coverage of her Big Adventure every single day, no matter how badly she was feeling at the end of a day of sightseeing. While there, she made a point of buying postcards to send to all of us who had asked for one, and she mailed them off steadily while she was still there! And since then, she has continued the fabulous Postcard Project. If you haven't gotten a personalized postcard from Elizabeth, it's only because it's either in the mail right now or you haven't asked.

Probably, if you are reading this, you are already a friend of Elizabeth, and I am telling you nothing new. But I wanted to post about her again anyway, and the advent of the Paypal donation button seems like as good an excuse as any.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Blue Tag

For months, Carapace and I told ourselves we'd be sure to bring the camera to take a picture of this parking space sign.  Today, at last, we did.  Underneath the traditional blue handicapped parking sign is another sign, in red and white:  "If you don't have a handicapped sign, and if you are planning to park in this space, the owners of this property will place on your bumper the following sticker:  I (heart) parking in handicapped spaces and I don't care."

I suppose it would be better if the owners would simply call the police to have the vehicle ticketed, but maybe some people are motivated more by the threat of a public shaming than by a fine.  In any case, I've never seen the two spots with these signs being abused by non-placard holders.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


In case anyone is waiting to decide who to vote for until I officially announce my support:


Check out Obama's disability issues platform!  

And if you are in Texas, vote for Noriega for Senator.  We can do without Big Bad John, who has chiefly contributed to the state image through his hilarious comedy video and concerns for box turtles.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

How wheat causes dislocations

It began innocently enough. I saw the fried catfish on the menu and, hopeful, asked the waitress how it was prepared. "Oh," she gushed, "it's coated in corn meal. "Just cornmeal?  I wanted to make sure. "Yep. I've worked here nine years, I know all about how everything is cooked."

By midnight, I knew wasn't as familiar with the kitchen as she thought she was. The evidence? The sores that were developing in my mouth. Sores that make their painful appearance when I've been eating something with wheat in it.  Damn. Damn damn. I took a benedryl, washed my mouth out with antiseptic mouthwash and went to bed.

When I woke up, I instantly wished to stay home.  Some mule driver had come into my room during the night and had their jackass kick me square in the face.  I felt horrible. The sores were hot little wounds. And my sinuses were swollen--another effect of the wheat, combined with the ragweed in the air. I ate some plain yogurt, making sure to get it all over my gums. I took another benedryl. I sat down in despair. Damn that mule. I should take something for the pain. Naproxen? Who was I kidding? I already had sores in my mouth and probably my entire gut. Maybe Darvocet would help.  

I went to work, hoping the Darvocet would kick in. Or the benedryl. Or that my face would explode and kill me. Really, any change would have been welcome.  After a couple of hours, the sinus swelling from the allergies started to go down, though the pain was still relentlessly hanging on. Another couple of dispiriting hours went by. Suddenly---Pop!  My jaw went into place and the pain began to dissipate.  

Wow, my mouth sores had been annoying me so much I hadn't even noticed that I had dislocated my jaw. Too bad, because I could have fixed that right off.  So that's why I felt like I had been kicked in the face. I must have been grinding my teeth in discomfort during the night. I'll try to avoid a repeat of this experience, and take the pain killer before going to bed tonight. Because those mouth sores? Still there. I'm sticking with the grilled catfish from now on.