Saturday, December 01, 2007

In which I get Stuff, apply for Courses, go to Markets, and annoy a Girl.

I feel that I am spending too much time with The Girl*. She brings out a very odd side of me. We've spent the morning side-by-side in bed, both with laptops, reading the same blogs. There was a slight time delay between laughs while I read a joke first and then she caught up. We are not cool. Then she broke a cup - an honour generally reserved for me and my pointless over-bendy hands - and was eulogizing it. ("Oh, dear cup, your life was too short. Although you survived longer than any other piece of crockery I own." I did point out that she owns several other cups from the same set, and the statement is therefore inaccurate.) And now she's coming up with philosophical theories to explain why the world appears to slow down when you have a traumatic event (like, um, breaking a cup). She needs her own blog. I think that's today's project. Along with going to Camden Market to buy weird stuff. A Tibetan fleece has been mentioned.

So. Next week I'm going up to Leeds to visit the Centre for Disability Studies in an attempt to work out whether they'll accept my application for the MA in Disability Studies (or possibly the one in Equality and Diversity, which would include many of the same modules, and I would still intend to a Disability Studies dissertation). It must be a good sign that they're willing to meet me. The Accommodation Office is also being very helpful, showing me around some accessible rooms in halls on/near campus. I really mustn't get my hopes up - especially because I've done no sociology study before, which might mean I won't exactly be a preferred candidate if they have a lot of applicants. But, I want this. This really hit me earlier this morning (while I was sitting on the toilet, and thinking about things while wondering how I was going to get up again - I still don't have a toilet frame from the OT). I haven't been this excited about something since, ooh, about two years ago this month, when a certain virus kicked a certain genetic condition from a low-level problem into a full-blown, painful, completely exhausting, thoroughly depressing and very dull mess. (And I maintain that it's not anti-social model to get irritated with my impairment occasionally.)

I mean, I've been into Disability Studies for a long time. I first discovered it around 1997, when the social model was much more the domain of academics than 'ordinary' disabled people (now there's an unhelpful binary opposition for you), and we weren't really expected to understand it - and definitely not to question it, work with it, play with it, develop it, live it. All the things that many of us mere mortals do with it now, whether affectionately, critically, suspiciously, devotedly or philosophically. From the moment I encountered the disability rights movement, I knew I was going to be what Tom Shakespeare calls a "critical friend" of the social model. In all my reading and considering of social-contextual approaches to disability since then, I haven't encountered someone saying exactly what I want to say. But I can't yet voice my response to the social model, to the disability rights movement that I have great affection and respect for (but that I've never felt all that included in, for all manner of reasons), because I don't yet have the academic understanding, the terminology, the history, the sociology. And I want to. My painful exhausting depressing dull condition could be a real positive here, because not much else would give me the time and opportunity to go for this. Not to mention the focus, and revitalization of my interest in disability rights and Disability Studies, that it's providing. So. We shall see.

In other news, we're rather pleased that we're starting to learn how to take on the system and win. Two weeks ago I asked my social worker for three more Direct Payment hours per week, plus extra hours for the various times The Girl will be away over the next few months. And - most interestingly, as my social worker had no experience of this ever happening in his area before - we asked if I could take my PA on holiday with me in January, so I didn't have to compromise my dignity and continually ask my friends for assistance. I thought I'd get one, maybe two of those requests granted, especially as social worker wasn't looking positive about any of it. Yesterday we heard that I've got three and a half extra regular hours (where the other half hour came from, I don't know), plus *everything* else I asked for. At work, I now have a PDA to do my paperwork on (still no automatic doors into the other building, but you can't have everything all at once in this world of corporate leviathans) and a decent chair and other helpful desk stuff is on its way. In the OT/physio world, I have crutches that are helping me getting around a bit easier, because wobbling on a stick and occasionally falling off it was getting dull. The crutches are marvellous, although I'm trying to balance my need for a bit of exercise with not overdoing it just because I think I can. That way lies pain, suffering and The Girl picking me up off the floor a lot. So, yes. Stuff. Lots of it. And a bit of support. And just about enough money to cope. I'd say that life's starting to look a bit brighter, but I might jinx it. Also, my readers come to read my rants, not to see me being smug about getting things. So I shall be quiet now. But I wanted a teeny tiny celebration of me and my Girl and our teeny tiny bit of success. Yes.

Right. We are now off to Camden Market. That is, if I can tear The Girl away from the audioblog she's created in the hour it took me to write this, and is now finding very entertaining to play with. And because I object to a blog that's inaccessible to D/deaf people by definition, I'm guessing I'll be doing the transcribing. Because it's not like I have enough to do.

*I don't, of course. I'm always complaining that I don't see her enough. Actually, I think I swing between the two extremes...


Anonymous said...

Good luck with the MA application! Your thesis would be wonderful, I bet!

grace said...

Good to hear such positive things... you have a lovely way of writing about your life. I haven't been to Camden Market for years.... hope you enjoy!

Anonymous said...

Alternatively, have you thought about doing a postgrad law conversion and specialising in Equalities that way? You remember how you helped me out a few months back... you told me almost everything that the "official" advice I later received confirmed, and you explained it too me very much more clearly than anyone "official" did. I think you'd make a brilliant solicitor.

Naomi J. said...

HTCWP: Thanks. If I ever write one, you can be sure I'll go on about it. At length. :)

Grace: Camden Market was a bit of a let-down in the end. It was cold and there were too many cobblestones. I did get a lot of shoelaces to tie round my crutches, though. They are pretty.

Joy: Ugh. Dear Lord, no. I couldn't be a solicitor (quite apart from how there's no way I could cope with the level of study involved). My calling is to challenge the law... I think. :D Thanks, though!

Anonymous said...

On Sociology... I hadn't done any before applying for my MA in Sociology, but they valued my work experience more than previous academic experience, so I don't think you've anything to worry about there.

On the social model... you're in exactly the right place I think, to be interviewed. The disability movement is general is going 'social model is great, but it's time we moved on, where do we go next?' which sounds like what you're thinking too.

Brilliant news about the PA. Is she going to Leeds with you too?

Anonymous said...

rejoicing over successes, however tiny, is A Good Thing.

Elizabeth McClung said...

Hey! I found this post in which I am glad and amazed at things going your way (a PA on holiday? Fab!). Also discovered today isn't December 1st and that you didn't post this yesterday (Talk about time moving at different speeds).

Please pass on condolances to The Girl for the cup, and you can ask her, how much does time slow down when you hear your homecare person smash a cup and have to sit waiting to find out exactly which one it was?

I hope you get in at Leeds. I wish you would voice your response to the social model since you have a connection to it (wasn't that you social modeling away to me?). My major problem with the disability rights movement is the feeling "who am I to speak for/about anything other than myself?" Also because people like Dave Hingburger are nice, kind people with amusing stories which are free of foul language and illustrate an important point. HE is a good voice for disability rights. I am the embarressing relative who laughes too loud, keeps saying, "So this stuff to eat is FREE right?" and stuffs most of the napkins in her purse "For later...just in case, ya know!" and wears a hat that was possibly retrieved by digging up a grave. Are those your objections too?

I am very happy that you are focused and wanting tings and, you know, vitalized (is that a word?). I do find it interesting that academics came up with the model.

Lypiphera said...

The Spouse and I do the blog thing too. We are very Not Cool. But we enjoy it. :)