Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Redefining Disability Project~ Post #9

It's Tuesday again. Time for the Redefining Disability Project. There are some questions I'm going to skip because they don't apply to a sexagenarian (like school activity questions). It's all ancient history anyhow. I haven't been to school k-12 in decades even as a teacher and college graduations were at least a decade ago. Who really wants to hear rantings of an elder woman about how things were? What am I talking about??!! My readers read everything I write about what happened, but still school questions are out.


Is your family life affected by disability?
You better believe it on multiple fronts. I don't know if dying or having a terminal disease counts as disability, but my husband has been disabled since 2003. As his condition worsened, it been up to the gfmily to take up the slack for what he isn't/can't be doing any more.

After multiple spinal surgeries, I could no longer tie my own tennis shoes. Was I ever thankful I'd taught my older girls how to do it before my last two back surgeries. Now with my stroke, I'm depending of aides, family, and volunteers to do the things I can't like changing a light bulb or getting cobwebs near the ceiling. Since my stroke, I can't look up without severe vertigo to the point of falling. I can't operate a chainsaw or weed whacker with only one useable hand and arm, so I'm stuck depending on others. These are just a few instances of how our disabilities impact our life.

How long it takes to cook a meal even with a microwave is twice as long because of preparing and serving with one hand. I actually don't fry chicken any more for just the two of us because of the mess, but doesn't this plate of food look yummy? I buy it from Kentucky Fried Chicken or the grocery store deli because one store bought chicken breast will feed both of us.

Turning on a dime is now a four to six step process in walking, and in driving, it takes a steering knob on the wheel. The logistics of doing anything is twice if not quadruple more complicated. Putting the keys in the ignition means leaning around the steering wheel to do it because I can't use my right arm. The same thing goes for the cruise control, gear shifter, and wipers. They are all on the right. It also means letting go of the steering wheel. Totally not a safe thing to do. My other choice, letting someone else drive. I had a chauffeur for the first ten months after my stroke, my daughter. Then she got transferred to Savannah, 80 miles away. In fact, my closest family is 45 miles away now so I had to learn to do and adapt.

There's always room for adaption in your life, but you have to be open to it. I did away with my regular house broom and bought a push one like you use in the garage. It's way easier and faster sweeping the floors. I bought one of those nifty fan brushes to clean my ceiling fans with. Granted I look like a child trying to crack open a pinata when I do it, but the point is, I DO IT. It may not be a perfect cleaning of the blades, but they are a sight better than they were. And yes, I will have to wash my hair afterwards for those dust bunnies too.

So why can't I wait for others to do it for me? Well, I could just sit by and watch those dust bunnies turn into OVERWEIGHT rabbits, but my allergy to dust kicks in. Waiting causes me more problems in the long run and more money for a doctor and more drugs. Now light bulbs, I usually wait. I have lamps and four bulbs in the ceiling lights so I'm not totally in the dark. Not all those four bulbs will burn out at the same time.

For yard work, I'm at the mercy of other people's schedules. I actually do miss the yard work, but my grandsons do it most of the time. Now chain sawing bushes or trees takes their daddy to do, not that these teenage boys couldn't handle it. It's a me issue. I've learned that son-in-laws come and go, but my grandchildren are mine forever. It makes a difference to me.

Granted we Murpheys are a closed knit family and extended family group. I could call any one of my sister's spouses or one of my brothers to do things for me too. I just keep hating to ask them when they are dealing with other family issues. Remember, my first planned homestead land was 20 acres to feed and house everyone. My kin would drop everything to help and in that respect I'm luckier than most. But somehow, I feel guilty about asking them when I know they do what they can, when they can. That is also a me problem, but if I get desperate enough I will.

So how does disability affect families? In every way or plane of existence and on so many levels. From the sister that barely talks to you to the children who hug your neck every time they see you. In family life, what affects one,affects them all.


1 comment:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Glad you have family close enough to help and not thousands of miles away. A knob on the steering wheel? Never would've thought of that.