Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Redefining Disability Project~ Post #16

Today we have a two-fer because they are so closely related.


What are the biggest challenges that you face in regard to disability?
What do you think are the biggest challenges that your family members face in regard to disability?


We are a two person household with only me being the only one capable of doing everything or anything, I'll answer both of these at once. My biggest challenge is dealing with my husband, and just doing what needs to be done and accepting what doesn't get done.

For over a decade, my husband has slowly been winding down on what he can do. It left me to fill in where he couldn't. Up until last year, he could walk outside, get the paper and the mail. Now he can barely walk to the door. Ten steps from where he lays. Because of all his medications and the tumors in his body he is easily confused and instructing him to do anything is like talking to a two-year old in a grown man's body.

The male ego is easily crushed so I include him in most tasks even if it is only discussion. I'll ask him to open jars that I've popped the seal on. He'll cut out coupons for groceries for me. We'll discuss the bills before I pay them. We'll talk about meals even though  I've got it planned. I'll bring him my grocery list so he thinks he's budgeting even though I've done it already while making the list.

In my mind the male ego is like egg shells. Strong enough to hold the egg's contents, but can't be stepped on without exploding its contents all over the place. Similar to a man dealing with a woman going through severe PMS. One wrong step and there are explosive consequences. So I basically weigh in on all sides before doing anything. It's quite a stressful way to live, but I manage.

Able to do before my stroke
On the other hand, I have my limits because of my disabilities to deal with also. There are some things I positively can't do like clapping my hands with both hands. I'm having to adapt with almost everything I do. But there are limits to how much adaptation is necessary for a successful outcome and there are varying degrees of success. For example, I used to be able to decorate a cake or cupcakes almost in my sleep, and they would be picture perfect every time. Now, I do good if I manage to slap the frosting on where it needs to be. No matter how much care I take with the job, it will look like a child did it. I just don't have the dexterity in my left hand. I never will because of gross injuries to it in my past. I have to accept this and grudgingly do. Cake pops are me settling and achieving success.

There are many examples of this in daily life post stroke. Adaption is never as good as the original ability to do. It can be close but never perfect. While not a "A" type personality, there are areas where my drive for perfection can take over. Cooking and writing are two of these areas.

It irritates me to no end that I can't lift a pan or pot without two hands. I always have to downsize what I've planned to lift it with one hand. Every day I'm thankful that we are empty nesters instead of having small children who need to be fed, bathed and well, just about everything done for them. Yes, I do most of this for my husband, but he isn't thrashing around and fighting me while I do it. Or at least not usually. But I digress.

I cook now in small quantities for one and a quarter people or maybe a large serving for one person. So I can make things that take the now required multiple steps to prepare. I can chop the tablespoons of vegetables. For example, one large onion will make four recipes or meals for us. I can chop one half cooked chicken, a tablespoon of celery and onions for chicken salad and it will make four sandwiches...two meals for us. A two- pound roast equals  three meals and sandwiches. You get the idea.

With writing, my frustration level blows the top off the meter. Even writing this blog takes three hours just to get the words on the screen and another two in an attempt to get it legibly edited. Trying to write like I used to do is almost impossible right now. This blog is my adaption. It helps make it possible for me to write again one day. Or at least, that's what I telling myself. Yes, my typing and writing have improved over the years, but no where near good enough to attempt the simplest of stories let alone a novel.

Even with all of this, one of my goals for the year is to restart writing my nonfiction, Don't Get Your Panties in a Wad. I hear you out there,
"You're a glutton for punishment, aren't you?"
"With all you got on your plate?"
"Why stress yourself and add to your frustration?"
"Cut yourself so slack. Just chill more a while more and it will get easier."
Nope to all of the above. I'm a writer. Writers write. The frustration I feel in writing is only half as much as my overwhelming desire to write. It is almost an undeniable urge to write that only another author understands. It's almost causes physical pain not to do it. The call will be answered.

In the mean time, the challenges are met or accepted when not met. I've always taken the bull by the horns and handled it.To reiterate a slogan from the seventies, I'm gonna keep on truckin'.

What do you find is the most challenging things in your life and how do you conquer them?

Until next Tuesday, I'm outta here for the Redefining Disabilities Project.

1 comment:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

What's amazing is you would never know the struggles you endure to write while reading this.
The way you treat your husband is to be commended. You treat him with respect. That will prevent that male ego from shattering.