Friday, December 28, 2007

Perceptions and Family and Grouchiness

To begin with a Note To Self: given that you have poor circulation, do not lie in bed resting your laptop on your feet for extended periods of time. Ow ow ow. So anyway, now that the feeling has finally returned to my right leg...

And then there was Christmas.

"You'll love my new house," says my mother. "It's nearly a bungalow. Just one or two steps inside." Yes, just two - flights. Two big flights of stairs. You enter at kitchen-level, then you have to go down to the basement for the lounge, and up to the first floor for the bedrooms. I was up-and-down so often in the two days I was there that I ran out of tramadol and may have killed off my knees altogether. I also had to refuse to sit at her kitchen table, which was so high up that I kept falling off the stools. She couldn't find a plastic chair for the shower (although I'm sure I mentioned it), so I didn't. Then there was my dad's, where I was persuaded to go for A Walk. It was short, but it was a mistake. Next time I will try to remember that the crutches are for support and preventing nasty falls, not for encouraging me to take up bloody hiking. Not even for 100 metres. Shame, really. No shower there either. I'm happy to have returned home to my lovely safe bath bench and PA. It was all quite good otherwise, though. I slept a lot. I played with my baby niece, who seems to like me. Midnight Mass at the Minster - ooh, alliterative - was awe-inspiring. I enjoyed hanging out with family - which is, um, unusual and interesting. But good.

Perceptions are funny things. My perception of life, access, prejudice, disability, all these issues and more, has changed drastically over the past couple of years, give or take. I was into the disability rights, but I didn't fully understand things like the importance of accessible transport and shops (not to mention homes), the whole issue of independent/inclusive living, or (in the less-political arena) what it's like to be in pain 24-hours a day (actually I always lived with a fair amount of pain that doctors told me was 'normal', but having that suddenly increase to levels of 'not normal by anyone's perception of anything that might ever possibly pass for normal' is a bit different). I mean, I had awareness of these things, but I didn't really *get* them. And that was with a half-decent understanding of Disability Equality.

So I'm not all that bothered by my mother's perception that her house is almost accessible, because I can see how I wouldn't have noticed the two flights of stairs myself just a couple of years ago. And because, once she did realise the problem, she was lovely and wouldn't let me climb those stairs too often, and made me sit down while she arranged everything (much as I protested), and encouraged me to take regular naps, and baked me a lemon drizzle cake (ah, the taste of childhood) and all of that. Her new-and-improving attitudes took down a few social barriers, if they couldn't do much about the physical ones. And that's new. Same goes for the better reactions of other family members. They're getting the point. I like it. Next year I'll try and find ways to be more useful.

So that's just a little passing thought for the day. I am working on the annual pre-NYE post. It may or may not materialize. I'd like to avoid it being too maudlin this year, and so let's get some of that out of the way now: I am not sleeping, I'm too tired to move, I miss my Girl (who went away for a very long family holiday), I experienced my curry dinner in reverse thanks to painkiller side effects last night, and if I want to be (relatively) pain-free I have to pay for it in far too many ways because tramadol is EVIL (but truly marvellous for three hours at a time - it's just a shame about the mess it makes of the following twenty-four hours). And I was stuck in bed today because I overdid it yesterday (Luna is a truly marvellous thing, but I really need to learn that I can't push myself in her for half an hour and still expect to feel all right the next day). And I still don't know what I'm doing about work. And I'm in a crappy mood. Oh, and people keep asking me if I am OK. No, I am not bloody OK. I am grouchy, people. You have been warned. Merry Christmas. But I am consoling myself with season three of Buffy. There is very little that's more wonderful than watching 'Doppelgangland' in your pyjamas at 6pm on a Saturday. Happy weekend, folks. :)


Never That Easy said...

And I'm in a crappy mood. Oh, and people keep asking me if I am OK. No, I am not bloody OK. I am grouchy, people. You have been warned. Merry Christmas

wow, do I second that... And happy new year too. Now let me have some peace and quiet, please?

andrea said...

Gack! My sympathies.

Tramadol, well, yeah it did blur the pain for a few hours but ye gods and little fishes the nauseous weirdness it does in mind and body wasn't worth it.

Here's to hoping you can get a better medication!

lilwatchergirl said...

never that easy: Heh. People do keep wanting to be festive and loving and giving at this time of year, don't they? It's nice, and I should appreciate it. But mostly I just want to be left alone. :D

andrea: I find tramadol really good for pain, but dealing with the headaches and nausea is a challenge. We're getting there, though, mostly through the joys of antihistimines. When I remember to take them. Um.

grace said...

Enjoy Buffy! I think that accessibility, yes, you have to experience the barriers to know *grace recalls her recent attempt to crawl round her flat at toddler height in preparation for toddler visit, during which finger got stuck in plug socket within minutes - same principle, perhaps* There was also the time I made it all the way to the local (basket-only) supermarket on crutches before realising that I'd not worked out how to hold a basket...

Elizabeth McClung said...

Willow in leather and Lace - yum, yum (have you seen the online comic: Buffy and Evil Willow (lots of lesbian and vibrator jokes).

I'm glad your mom got it, or at least part of it. I am curious of your post effects of tramadol as you say it is lovely for 3-3.5 hours. I too am realizing that pushing yourself in the chair is still pushing yourself, in the double meaning.

My least favorite question from people who know I am "ill": "So how are" Is there a good response to that. I used to say, "sentient" but once people figured out what I was saying they got pissy. "I'm having Rosemary's Baby" and "When I woke up there was an alien attached to my face planting eggs in my stomach...but other than that okay" - weren't well recieved either.

Have a better break and new years and happy reunion with The Girl.

rosamundi said...

So I'm not all that bothered by my mother's perception that her house is almost accessible, because I can see how I wouldn't have noticed the two flights of stairs myself just a couple of years ago.

that, I think, is one of the main issues with disability awareness, until you've experienced it first hand, you can't know about all the issues.

It wasn't until I developed carpal tunnel syndrome myself that I realised how crappy mum's life must have been until hers got sorted (take one woman who's a demon knitter and say "har har, you can't do that any more,") and all my various injuries have made me a lot more aware of stuff, but I don't know what it's like to live with it day in and day out - usually I break something and I'm a right mardy cow for six weeks and then it's all better. Even reading about stuff on here, whilst it helps, can't really make you know what it's like.

This is turning into a blog post all by itself! And I'm rambling, so I'll shut up now.

About me said...

Ah, I haven't got round to my NY post yet, I wrote something rubbish that is languishing in my drafts folder whilst I procrastinate on the www. Jealous of the Buffy watching... no matter how many birthday and xmas hints I drop Mr F never picks them up.