And, as is usuall for me, someone

March 25, 2006 at 10:51 AM (Blogger's about impairment) (, )

picks up the thought I’d started and expands it in some thought provoking directions…

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Another step in shedding my

March 20, 2006 at 3:28 PM (Uncategorized) ()

“overcomer” skin. Happened in 1991….1992

This will, of course, sound like more whiny useless griping to many.

But it was the moment I realized that a mountain that someone able made, that someone able expected me to ‘climb’ was a huge construct that had nothing to do with me.

I had cancer.

And intermittently continued to work…as best I could.

And went briefly nuts (side effect of chemo: Note to my faithful readers….Don’t let them give you 50mg of prednisone *every day* for nine months running as part of a chemo regimen without telling you the stuff might hit the cerebrospinal fluid, and thence the brain and then the audiovisual hallucinations set up shop for two weeks, and go away as quickly as the end scene in the “Wizard of OZ,” once the medical guys decide (!) to intervene. )

While my husband gradually got sicker

As I gradually had less and less to do with cancer…and that part of my disabilities became officially “cured.” I realized that my friends and family were:

Damn lucky I was alive at all to hang around with. And, if I managed to hold down a job, instead of wrestling with me about how it wasn’t the “right” one, just (at least part of the time!?) keep their own counsel and be glad I *had * it.

And, still later, when I realized that a lot of people were going to stay stuck on what I “ought” to be doing, *to their own detriment* and I certainly wasn’t in line waiting to get dismissed, disrespected, or sad spaniel looks.

They could either groove with me about what still worked, what commonalities still existed after Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and losing my spouse…or not.

And most recently…to enjoy the family and friends that when they criticize, they do so constructively…

and, to be able to let go, from my end, of troubles, and issues with some that are/were close to me that simply will not resolve about differences of opinion about what my life ought to be…

Some have done excellently well at it. Some have cooperated with me in building things we can discuss, even when we come from different universes religiously, politically or socio-economically.

I’ve been pleasantly surprised by some recent (in the past two years) rapprochements.

I still won’t be who they want….but I’ll be about 60 percent of what they want…. Better than the Presiden’t’s approval ratings, hey?

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Another "West Wing" note

March 19, 2006 at 7:31 PM (Uncategorized)

I’m glad it’s ending…

If, halfway through tonight’s show, it appears that anyone’s considering, let alone going to *use* the opposing campaign’s private information they um, stumbled upon by accident…

Crap.

If the candidate *uses* it he’ll be a great strategist who is haunted by how he got the White House.

If the candidate doesn’t use it, he’ll lose the White House by the slimmest of margins, and he’ll sleep well at night but neither of his campaign goons will…and we’ll be treated to half an hour of angst by Ron Silver, who I cannot stand the sight of anyway…

I believe such a twist would have been highly unlikely under Sorkin…the staffers were dumb enough to lose their underwear in a public place, but *not* sensitive personal info about the President or a presidential candidate.

And, it makes Santos, and his staff look so mind numbingly stupid for losing the information.

Gargh.

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More from my corner on Cerebral Palsy

March 19, 2006 at 10:09 AM (Uncategorized)

“brain damage,” and a thought or two about, subtext and words.

I was being driven home from college by a family member. This family member and most of the others on both sides are/were good at math, or other jobs or abilities that mean the logical, linear side of the brain is not only working “on all thrusters” but has some extra juice in there somewhere. The family member said well, it’s obvious *where* my brain got damaged…not just in the cerebellum, the coordination stuff that is the outward and obvious manifestation of Cerebral Palsy….that the *math side* of my brain must have taken some kind of a hit as well.

Then, there’s me. And the same group of past aquaintainces that I mentioned in an earlier post.
We write well, we are facile and complex with our use of language, and foreign languages also came easily to us…but then there was math.

Math is the one area that begins as facile for me (I add subtract multiply and divide in my head most times…another one of those things it’s faster to do than write down….)

But then, when you get to the complexity say of Algebra I (what I took in around ninth grade in junior high) and then went on to Geometry, and then Trigonometry which I gave up halfway through) *that* sort of math and what comes after is a murky, pathless place that not only do I not understand, I have no way in or out. Completely and utterly foreign.

The group of past aquaintances had equal difficulty with mathematics as well and some incredibly traumatic experiences with math teachers and parental expectation that surpassed my own.

When I got labled “brain damaged” by my family member though, I took offense that in retrospect I shouldn’t have taken. Because that *is* what Cerebral Palsy entails, factually, leaving the subtext out of it. Cerebral Palsy is various types of *damage to the brain.*

And, I’ve really had to examine my own prejudice over my lifetime about cognitive disabilities.
I have put a huge censor on my public speech, because I realize that nobody is really competent to judge the value of somebody’s life with cognitive disabilities, except themselves, and their loved ones, friends and (in some limited ways) their advocates.

I took the words “brain damage,” with all their loaded subtext and felt injured again…because I was in the middle of that time period where I consoled myself with my intellect.

I may have no boyfriend, but at least I’m *smart*
I may have difficulty walking, running or understanding Trigonomety, but by Gawd I’m in Advanced Placement History classes.
I may not have the future that the rest of them have, but at least I can outthink most of them in social situations with several braincells tied behind my back.

And, importantly, when my parents delivered me out of the wilderness of Chemistry and Trigonomety I brought in a 4.0 GPA for my last semester in high school

(and how sucessful have I been at parlaying the things I’m actually good at into paying employment??? Heh, lousy. but that’s another post)

But, *by* taking those words to injure me, I wasn’t seeing my own value, and also unconsiously I was devaluing anybody with cognitive disabilities. My attitude was part of their problem, instead of using the conversation to educate both myself and my family about what words like, full, productive,useful, and *brain damage* really mean, and how they can go together.

We shouldn’t let the able throw around words to hurt us. But, we also need to look at why they hurt, or even if they should.

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New Words

March 15, 2006 at 11:05 AM (Uncategorized) (, , , )

Over the past eleven months or so, persons close to me have used words about me that they’ve never used before.

It’s all been done in allowed joshing or polite discussions so I’m not angry about it.

“Stubborn,” has been said of me before, so it doesn’t count as new.

“Opinionated” doesn’t count either, because it’s been said before.

“Ham” or “High Verbal” same notation.

Here are the new ones:

Rigid

Nuts

Crazy

And I have to fight the notion to run back to those that I really want approval from, that used those words, and backpedal on items that seem to make sense to me, socially or politically that they oppose.

I won’t

The decision to go to war in Iraq forced me to actually pick a side, become a partisan leftist…I was moving that way, …but the wrong war at the wrong time for the wrong reasons….etc etc etc.

I oppose the political and religious right for more reasons than will fit on this page. Read the archives. I’m no neocon’s friend.

And, even those who stand on the same side as myself, well, my attitude is distasteful to them as well because:

I oppose abortions of convienence by wealthy people so they can avoid the trauma of having a disabled child. That’s the only choice I can find that I do oppose, but I do, and remaining silent or disavowing that opinion because many strong smart feminists say they don’t agree…can’t anymore sorry.

I’m no environmentalist. When *people* aren’t losing jobs and homes due to bad governance, bad wars, bad economic policy and a few outright evil people, *then* I’ll save the Grand Canyon, or the neighbors dog.

(Update 3/19/2006) When I’m wrong, I’ll admit it. The clock is ticking on the environment a lot quicker than I realized. Still aint my priority, but it damn sure needs to be someone’s in the next decade. CBS News won’t let me link, but they have the story tonight.

Death with Dignity, isn’t, if the disabled are the ones pressured most often and most inimically by economic or famillial interference to sign the advance directive, right here please, thank you.

Because, Good Lord, people with disabilities are invisible enough. And we’re finding out that the Internet means we have quicker access to attitudes as well as information. So we’re finding out the depth of the (instinct?,habit?desire? prevailing societal bias?) to “make them go away”

We saw the outrage and public outcry last summer when someone was mistaken for a terrorist in London and shot.

When a man with multiple disabilities is mistaken for an escaped prisoner and shot, there’s a small blurb in the local paper. That’s it.

When children and civilians are dying in a war that many many people have questions about, there’s activism and concern

When children with HIV or chronic ilness need a feeding tube to survive they’re told in a media covered story that their survival consists of abuse of the Medicaid system.

Or, a professor with disabilities that has been teaching long term…gets asked to step away from lecturing as a probable precursor to an attempt to fire them.

Or the piece of the abortion issue that the right would like to exploit and many on the left support.

The idea that the right to choose isn’t just about choosing to give birth, but choosing what kind of child to give birth to…

Yeah, rigid,nuts, and crazy. That’s the new me all right.

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