Standing Tall

The story of a 6'10(2.08m) disabled man as he copes with the challenges of life with disabilities.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

19 years later and where are we?

After a long hiatus I'm back. I'll explain more generally in a later post though. Tonight I have a rather specific topic in mind.

For anyone who is Canadian, December 6 marks an anniversary they will remember, and, if not then they should. Nineteen years ago, on this day, 14 women were shot and killed in Montreal at their University. They were murdered for being women and because their murderer felt that a woman attending university deserved to die.

Since that day, December 6th has marked a time of memorial for the fourteen women and also for all women who have suffered from violence in our misogynistic world. This year marked the first time in my life that I was both aware enough and brave enough to attend such a memorial.

Its been many hours and I still can't gather my thoughts properly in most respects. Too much powerful emotion is at work. One thing struck me in a way that I can articulate. As I sat there, being the only person of any gender in a wheelchair, I felt the absence of those with disabilities, the absence of acknowledgment of those with disabilities, as though a bind eye was turned to the violence against women with disabilities, especially those in some form of care facility who are so disproportionately targets of violence.

Part of the memorial was to make it a day of action and we were asked to consider and record what we intended to do for the rest of the year, so that our voices were not raised on one day and one day only. People were then given a chance to come forward to share their plans.

I am, by happenstance of birth, male and largely self identify as such. I am also a feminist ally. As such I was there to give my support as a visitor, but it was not my space. It was not my place to step forward. Instead I make my voice heard here in a space that is mine, to add my voice and my pledge to those already made publicly or privately.

I make my pledge to remind people that women with disability are amongst the most common targets of violence in our society. That I will respect my role as an Ally/man but to the extent that role permits, and to the best of my ability and courage I will be a voice on this issue. Ideally giving support on this issue when a spokeswoman is present or if needs be as a reminder, both visible and vocal on the issue of disability and its close ties with violence against women.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Those of you who follow Canadian news sources may have noticed a few days ago, that once again Tracy Latimer's murderer (her father) was in the news. He's asking for a new trial because he deserves to be free. Apparently the courts haven't been lenient enough on him with his early day parole. I make no bones about my dislike of sympathy for the man. He is every bit the murderer and justice applies just as much in this case as in any other murder.

A few days later I came across this article:

I'm struggling on what to think. How much difference is there between this boy's father and Tracy's killer? At the same time, who has the right to control the treatments a person receives.

This is a child who is fully capable of communicating. Granted, he is young, but if the father is to be believed then the boy has been an active participant in the decision not to pursue treatment. I don't know where the line is.

My experiences with Chemotherapy/ Radiation / Bone Marrow Transplants are second hand and rather personal. My father contracted cancer of the bone marrow when I was five and died when I was thirteen. The ultimate cause of death was side effects from the particular chemotherapy he was on at the time. He was one of the first people to use it.

I'm not a neutral observer and am torn in many ways. The article leaves me with more questions and a deep desire to understand the nuances of the situation because it seems such an impossible choice. I can only hope an pray for the best for all those involved.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Blogging Against Disabilism

So its half past ten on blog for disability day an my cunning plans for a post have gone out the window. I had intended to focus the post on the history of disability in Canada and devote some research to those like Tracy Latimer who have been murdered because of being disabled. I think that discussing our history as people with disability is important and being aware of the violence that we face is a terrifying but important part of that history.

Instead of doing the research today, I wound up doing next to nothing. I spent a good part of yesterday running errands. There was a doctor’s appointment and some books to return to the library and a meeting at the bank. By the end of the day I was exhausted.

So today dawns with the best of intentions. Only I’m still exhausted and the cold I thought I’d kicked is back. Simple things right? A cold isn’t a big deal and is gone in a couple of days. At least that’s how it works if your basically healthy. When you’re body is already run down from a dozen issues relating to your disabilitie(s) the cold that should take two days to shake, takes more like a week.

The same idea with recouping from a busy day. That busy day doesn’t take nearly as many tasks to qualify as busy and the recovery time takes significantly longer. Energy that an able bodied person might spend without thought becomes carefully hoarded.

The hardest part of talking about this is the fight not to apologise. All my life I’ve been told not to whine about how I feel or how tired I am. I’ve been told to make apologies for how I feel rather than respect them. So I won’t apologise for for whining here, but a part of me still wants to.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Blogging Against Disablism Day, May 1st 2008

Also planning to make Thursdays a regular feature day, focusing largely on our shared history as people with disability.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Painkillers vs Chocolate

This may prove to be a bit more rushed than I intended but its one in the morning and I’ve been distracted with writing and commenting on other issues. The result is that this may be a bit brief. In a sort of follow up to my last post I wanted to talk more about some of the alternatives to drugs that I use from time to time because I’m always on the look out for more. I’m thinking here about things like food or little practices that help alleviate pain rather than the herbal vs pharmaceutical debate.

Like a lot of people with chronic pain I find heat is frequently of help. It can get frustrating as a by and large prefer cooler temperatures but my joints like it hot. Heaven has become, more and more, a large tub of hot water, possibly involving jets.

My other great help is chocolate. Something, probably the dopamine, in chocolate has convinced my body that its an excellent solution to pain. Its reached the point that a chocolate craving has become one of my better indicators that my pain levels are on the rise.

Often these little boosts aren’t enough but its nice when I can do something other than turn to the pill bottle to manage my pain. I’m always on the lookout for other tricks and techniques that might help. Any day I can avoid drugs without having to endure more pain as the trade off is a big win in my book.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Back at last

Well, after a lengthy hiatus I’m back and trying to get into the pattern of reading disability blogs again, and keeping up with my own. The long pause has largely been due to a return to University. I handed the last of my papers a week ago, bringing the term to a successful end.

To a lot of people it doesn’t seem like much. I did three courses, the bare minimum to be full time and pretty much had to stop everything else to pull that off. Even then, if it weren’t for some good friends and the immense support of my wife I don’t think I could have pulled it off.

I’m now into recovery phase. This is both the obvious aspect of trying to catch up on some rest, but also letting my body recover from the toll of the medication levels I needed to get through the term. As much as I loath using drugs more than absolutely necessary I got well into the higher doses of the narcotic I use for pain management.

Amongst the result was a rush to the doctor’s a couple of weeks ago as side affects finally took their toll. Now I’m finishing a treatment for the side effects and getting ready to break the addiction to the narcotic itself.

I’m fortunate that its a synthetic opioid and as such the addiction is no where as severe as other narcotics I’ve had to use in the past. I’m also going to be coming of an anti-depressant in the next few weeks so that I can try a new daily pain management drug.
So, instead of catching up on all the things I had to put off during Uni, I’ll be sitting in bed letting my body recoup. At least it means I’ll be able to catch up on my reading.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Gah! Way to long since my last post. Seems like one thing after another the last few weeks and I still haven't gotten into the habit of Bloging regularly. The holidays went pretty well.

I'm now back in Canada. The flight was hellish but that's the sad reality of travel for me. I've been watching the Transport Canada ruling on Carers' fares and was glad to see that the needs of People with Disabilities are being met in this. I know from experience, how much easier it is for me to travel when my wife is with me.

A big one is how much less pain I'm in. While airlines and airports will provide a certain amount of assistance there is always at least a bit of carrying and lifting luggage. I can do it, but it means pain. Likewise the issue of getting carry on down from the bins is a hassle. I need bulkhead seating so my bag has to be up top and lifting it down is a fast way to plenty of pain. Flight attendants will help but it means waiting on their terms which can take a while.

Having my wife travel with me also reduces my stress level a lot. I spend the journey hopped up on painkillers. This means I'm not at my mental best. Trying to act as my own advocate for seating and assistance to the gates in a timely matter is a lot more difficult than I'd like. Having someone who's in full control of their faculties, and frankly just plain better at being assertive, is a huge relief to me.

Knowing that in the future I'll be able to arrange a carer so I can travel more comfortably and not pay an arm and a leg is a godsend. I'll be keeping a close eye on where things go from here. I love to travel and anything that makes getting from place to place is a winner in my books.