i was at my weekly neurophysio appointment yesterday for first time in 2020. since it was the session of the new year, she asked if i had any goals or specific plans for this year – honestly, nothing came to mind and i hadn’t really thought about it.

she reiterated that my daily exercise routine was meant to improve my stability and balance. and that “putting it together” in a regular walk outside might be beneficial for me. i wouldn’t impose on my wife as she is tired from work and does household chores. although i exercise everyday, the last thing i want to do is go out exercise and do more of it.

so it might be more practical to arrange an NDIS-funded carer to take me for a walk. i sometimes already do this indoors in our “long” hallway at home so you might be perplexed. i’m not very confident walking alone on uneven surfaces. i was given an “assignment” before to walk around our house – case in point, i only tried this once as aside from it was slow going my walker kept getting “stuck”.

she thought walking outside may be beneficial (she was even willing to write the NDIS a letter to support an increased funding for this activity). i did some digging and i think it’s prudent to arrange a “trial” first using my current plan before “committing”to it in full.

they estimate about half of the island was affected (and it’s only the beginning of our summer). it’s such a shame as it’s a beautiful place that we were fortunate to take my brother and his family (visiting us from overseas) to this scenic place a few years back. for a tourist place, it was not “too touristy” – if that makes any sense. it’s harder for the residents (and the wildlife) as they are on an island and can’t “easily” evacuate.

you know the bushfires were “bad” because i left a window open and we could smell the smoke even in Adelaide (all the way on the mainland). my wife said that sometimes it’s “smoky” in the mornings but never like this. it’s significant because people outside Australia are offering aid and support – it truly is a global community.

we’ve had bushfires in OZ before but according to the people with direct experience fighting fires for years it’s more “extreme” now. thoughts and prayers are welcome but i don’t really know what the right thing to do is…

CAVEAT:  you might have noticed that my title format has slightly changed.  i’m still starting it off with what ever comes to mind and after the colon i’ve appended what i think the post is about (you might interpret it differently or have an alternative understanding when you “read between the lines”).  it has been brought to my attention that some readers may not want to go through the entire thing for the title to make any sense.  this is not an egregious attempt to increase ‘likes’  or to act as ‘click-bait’ but shouldn’t it be part of ‘sharing’ to make stuff ‘more digest-able’ – looks like i still have a ways to go.

i underwent a medical procedure recently – recovery time is typically from one to two days –  because of my age it took me three days. so i temporarily stopped my daily exercise program for about two weeks – this affected me but i didn’t notice right away.  it became first obvious to me at a speech pathology session.  i used to get through them just fine even if they were during the afternoons – i didn’t feel winded afterwords but my sound production performance faltered occasionally.  Moreover when i went to my regular neurophysio appointment, she could physically feel the difference – i found out that apparently pain can also cause your muscles to “relax”.  At first i had done this to reduce my anxiety levels (but perhaps because i now take a natural supplement for it it’s less pronounced) but, also very importantly, getting my core strength up not only helps me avoid falls (and minimises potential injury) but also helps my speech.  Suffice it to say i’ve started up again and hoping to get back to the level i once was.

these aren’t directly related but are also from recent “trips” outside my house so…

i want to whinge about the three (let me be clear: not all or even a majority of them) taxi drivers driving skills were really bad:  the sudden stops-and- starts, not slowing down enough to take a round about, or abrupt jerking of the steering wheel.  These gave me a headache despite sitting in front and having the road visible – imagine how much worse i would have felt if i sat in the back.  i was going to complain about another thing but in hindsight one of my drivers was “self-obsessed’ that he would have acted that way to an “able-bodied” passenger.

Despite using my “letter board”, some drivers (not only taxi drivers but one support worker), still misunderstood me.  i suspect it’s either because they’re not patient enough to listen or having a preconceived notion of what i’m going to say (Ding!  Ding!  Ding!:  it’s usually wrong).  i understand that my speech can be hard to understand especially since this is probably the first time we’ve talked (on a few occasions i get the same drivers) but mistakes ca be avoided:  like going the wrong direction, it’s on the other side, that’s the wrong address, accidentally running me over,  etc.

we just want to feel listened to.  here’s a video by Purple Orange (it kind of reminds me of the You Can’t Ask That format on the ABC) about diverse communication shared on Darryl Selwood(Ph.D.)’s blog:  http://darrylsellwood.com/?p=998.  While i don’t  relate to everything said, i agree with the central premise of respect and the underlying theme of “not judging a book by its cover”.

it is very easy for me to accuse the drivers of not thinking: parking too close to the incline, the ramp, or curb so it’s “tricky” for me to get into or out of the car;  dropping me off by an entrance with only stairs ; driving “far” the door so need to cross the street, walk “some” distance, or negotiate a challenging surface (like inclines, uneven surfaces, pebbles, etc.); ask me directions or instruct them where to pass or stop; or turn the meter on while i’m still trying to get in the car (i believe the law states it should be only activated when i’m seated).  sometimes they can’t be bothered or are in a rush but sometimes i think it’s because they haven’t been exposed to or educated about disability – these are tasks they take for granted so there’s a need for more “training”.

FINAL WORD (let me know if these prompt helps with readability or i should go for more “traditional” headings – i know a poll is a more suitable for this but i probably won’t get enough respondents for a truly statistically valid result and, frankly, confronting my readership numbers scares me).  There’s a tension between keeping the post short-and-sweet and making it comprehensive enough to be informative – after all like they say, perfect is the enemy of good. Moreover timing is an issue, some thoughts have an ‘expiry date’ while others not so much.  While Twitter isn’t for me (trolls aside), it take me some time to type – this has the added bonus of letting me reflect and not simply reacting, All-in-all, i’m still struggling with the balance.  Furthermore, i feel the pressure to post frequently – as evidenced by the number of “self-corrections” right after i publish – when i should learn to recheck my drafts first.

 

i have just got back from medical leave “recently” and have been “out of commission” for the last few days due to a procedure (it should have taken only two days to recuperate but due to my age it took me longer to recover – i’m still not 100%).  Lately, i’ve been “scrambling” to salvage any hope of completing my research degree.

kindly excuse my “radio silence” for the last few (and probably next few) days.

 

barely breathimg

October 5, 2019

i’m currently taking natural supplements daily to help combat my hay-fever (rhinitis to be technical),  It helps a little but I can feel when the pollen count is high (even when the entire house is closed) or even when it’s only moderate if a window’s left open.  It can manifest itself through itchy eyes, constant sneezing, blocked nostrils, or in really sever cases, an inability to breathe.

i noticed today that i exhibited the first two symptoms – which i noticeably have less of.  However, my wife propped a window open as she was cooking – even once i closed it i knew i was too late and the pollen had already gotten in the house because i couldn’t stop rubbing my eyes.  Later, i had a string of sneezes – which i now rarely do.

it was only once we lived in Adelaide that it became obvious – i lived in Melbourne for a year and was unaware of it then – some say it’s because the wind here blows through deserts.  even when i was in the Philippines and Victoria i sneezed consecutively ( my record is 27. if i recall correctly) so i must have had some form of allergy.

you need to understand that for someone with claustrophobia the prospect of not being able to breathe is a really terrifying proposition.  Moreover, sneezing “wildly” for anyone using a rollator, forget steering but trying to maintain upright balance.

it’s  more prominent now since it’s Spring.  It’s “harder” to do my daily speech exercises now as my nose is blocked. it can be quite challenging to produce the correct sounds while also multiplexing breathing with the mouth – co-ordination is not a strength these days!

(sliding) doors

January 24, 2019

as a pragmatist, I’m conscious that automated doors can be expensive or impractical for disability toilets but i don’t understand why some doors are really heavy and require at least two people to open it (and keep it open).  Some of them aren’t designed properly:  there are doors that open the wrong way, there are quite a few doors where you’ve got to form a plan in order to open a door with a walking aid or wheelchair, and there was even one where you couldn’t close the door with a walker inside.  Moreover, there are locks that are problematic as well: some don’t indicate when they’re locked (or are not that obvious to the occupant), there are a few double locks so you’re not sure which to use (and sometimes you need to use both as the engaged indicator is seperate), and few locks require fine, manual dexterity to operate.  It underscores how compliance isn’t a substitute about thinking about the practicalities of actual use.

last night we relocated to another place for dessert.  As we were about to leave, i went to the toilet.  Unfortunately once i unlocked the door after using the facilities, the door wouldn’t open!  Not exactly ideal for one with claustrophobia.  i had enough composure to ring the mobiles of the people i was with. i called several times, several individuals but no one picked up.  It was not until my son looked for me after several minutes (but it felt like an eternity to me) that i told him i was stuck inside. i was so panicked that i considered climbing out the window without my walking frame but the blinds didn’t want to open (it was hard to know because i was already in a panicked state.  Between me pulling and my wife pushing we were able to open the door.  i’m not going to lie: it was a very harrowing experience for me – generally, i face my fears but that is one i have yet to overcome. i’ve been told that writing about is part of “processing” it.  While i’m generally “cerebral”, fears are by their very nature irrational – it is cold comfort to me despite statistical probabilities not to “catastrophise”.

btw, we informed the remaining staff member of the incident and need to look into the issue.