Friday, February 10, 2017

Sick day

A couple of days ago I had to go pick up Kiana from the school health room because she wasn't feeling well.  When I arrived at the parking lot they were waiting for me and the nurse walked her to my car.  Kiana had told the nurse that I used a walker and probably wouldn't be able to come get her because of the steps up to the health room.  I thought that was sweet of Kiana to consider that because I don't always use my walker. 

Thursday, February 2, 2017

I have been volunteering in my daughter's first grade classroom.  I really enjoy working with children.  I also hope, that my presence in their classroom as someone with as disability, will increase their awareness and acceptance of people who are different.  So that if they have a classmate some year who is disabled that they would reach out as a friend rather than avoiding or teasing. 

A little about my childhood

I haven't had much to blog about lately, so here is a totally different topic.

I grew up in Alaska, 32 miles out the highway from a small town of approximately 2,500 people, and 7 miles from the Canadian border.  My high school was approx. 130 students with my graduating class of 32 students (20 years later I could probably name every student in my class including their middle names).  So yeah, small Alaskan town.

I wrote this list in May 2010
Remembering Alaska
The other day a friend from elementary school posted on her Facebook page a few things she missed about Alaska and it sparked some memories of my own. I decided to jot those down. It has been 13 years since I’ve lived in Alaska. Alaska will always be home to me. Here are just a few things I remember from growing up there.

1. Really cold water straight from the tap (no need for ice cubes)
2. Sharing a phone line with 3 other neighbors (and having to get in the car to drive over to the neighbor’s when they had left the phone off the hook)
3. Being able to play outside until 10pm in the summer because it doesn’t get dark
4. Swimming holes
5. Not being able to swim in the swimming holes until your body went numb from the cold glacier water
6. Snow
7. Snow forts and snow mazes
8. “bird” size mosquitoes
9. Coming home from school and having to start the generator in below zero temperatures (it didn’t always start so easily and sometimes my fingers would go numb)
10. Getting ready for school by the light of kerosene lanterns and candles
11. Eating breakfast and drinking hot chocolate next to the wood cook stove
12. Mosquito Lake School (K-4th grade, 2 classrooms)
13. No t.v.
14. Snow days
15. Bears
16. Counting eagles on the 32 mile drive to town as a game (although most of the time it ended in an argument between my sister and I)
17. People’s addresses were in miles (I lived at Mile 32)
18. Ice fishing
19. Fire place fires
20. Snow pants, boots, jacket, gloves, and hat were just part of every Halloween costume
21. Having to drive to the neighbor’s to Trick-or-Treat because they were miles apart
22. Having a good bear dog - a dog to warn you of bears when you were outside
23. Northern Lights
24. Stars
25. Moon light reflecting off the snow
26. The absolute quiet of snow falling
27. Sledding
28. Wild strawberries
29. Blueberry picking
30. Logging roads
31. Stacking wood to heat our home for winter
32. Mountains
33. No stop lights
34. Knowing everyone in the entire high school by first and last name
35. Common question: “can I flush the toilet?”
36. Outhouses
37. The closest “neighboring” town was either a 4 hour drive into Canada or a 4 ½ hour ferry ride
38. Salmon
39. Halibut
40. Fishing
41. Camping
42. Making your Christmas Wish List from the Sears catalog
43. Having icicle sword fights
44. Painting the snow with the left-over Easter egg dye in April
45. Only one radio station and it was pretty much on all day
46. Never having to lock your house or car
47. Wild flowers
48. Taking evening drives in the fall to look for bears
49. Moose
50. The Little Red Store

Yes, I grew up stacking wood every fall with my sister.  There were many afternoons, coming home from school in the dark, in below freezing temperatures, where I had to start the generator because my mom was still at work.  Or when I was 5 and 6, before I could walk, crawling around outdoors with my friend having "adventures".  My parents eventually got me one of those battery powered vehicles to drive up and down the drive-way so I could keep up with my sister.  (Side note:  I remember when I started walking on my own, at the age of 7, I only walked at home for awhile.  I put off walking at school because I didn't want to draw attention to myself.  Before that I had used a 4 wheeled seat thing that I pushed myself along using my feet.  It was blue and I called it my "horsey".  And sure enough, one day without thinking about it, I walked down the hall, a classmate saw me, was amazed, and then the entire class was out in the hall watching me.  I was embarrassed.)

In my teens and 20's I feel like I've done things to "challenge my disability".  I've always been stubborn, persistent, and patient.  One summer in high school I went away to a college camp for 6 weeks at one of the universities, as a "practice" for college.  To see if I could handle dorm life, walking around a campus, getting food in a cafeteria setting, being away from the support of my family and friends who knew my physical abilities.  And then in my senior year of college I took a leap of faith and studied abroad in Australia for 5 month and traveled on my own.  That was an adventure, one that taught me so much.

I'd like to think that tough, independent Alaskan spirit is still in me. 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sunday

Well, I made it to church this morning despite all of the roadblocks Satan tried to put in my way, and I am proud of myself.  Tim is in training, and that alone was a big enough excuse for me to just stay home, but I really wanted to go.  And after the kids had breakfast they were busy, and my bed just looked so inviting, that I layed down for 5 minutes and could have easily got in another hour of sleep, but  I fought it and forced myself to get up and get ready for church, knowing I would feel much better about myself and my day having gone.  Then, when we got to church there was no disabled parking, which never happens, and no where close to park.  Kiana wondered if we were going to go home.  My anxiety level was high all morning, but we did it.  I used my walker.  I calmed down during service, and had a nice visit with a friend after church while the kids played on the playground.  God is good!  

Kiana asked before church, "So we're going without dad?  How are you going to get in?  How are you going to check us in to Sunday School?  Will you be able to pick us up afterwards?"  Part of my motivation for doing things like this on my own is to show my kids that I am brave, I am confident, and that I can do this on my own. I want them to be brave, have confidence, and be independent so I need to be an example of those qualities to them. 

Friday, August 12, 2016

Okay, this is ridiculous.  I am getting a walker.  I can walk just fine, no cane, no assistance in some situations, like the public pool.  But then last night and today I went to my son's preschool to meet his teachers and I could barely walk at all even with my cane.  It's mental.  And it's frustrating. 

Sunday, August 7, 2016

My Husband

Last year I had someone ask me how I met my husband and what attracted me to him.  I replied that it was his kindness and patience that I was attracted to, but after further thought it was not just this, but actually how he didn't "see" me as disabled.  From the moment we met he treated me as "normal".  There was no awkwardness.  He was completely comfortable around me.

Unfortunately, even I, when I meet a disabled person I feel awkward around them.   I don't know how to approach them, how to feel at ease when talking to them... yeah, it's weird.  Maybe because I don't  "see" myself as disabled.  (I know "handicapped" is the P.C. term, but I figure I can use whatever term I want since I am included in that demographic.)   Even if I wasn't disabled, I'm not an outgoing kind of person anyway.

It's hard to explain but it's a first impression thing that I can just feel.  That people want to get to get to know me and don't see me as any different from anyone else.  Although I don't mind talking about my disability and like it when people feel comfortable enough to ask me about it. 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Botox

Yes, I got Botox.  But no, not as a beautifying treatment to get rid of wrinkles.  :)  I got Botox in my foot and calf.  Now I have a young looking foot, right?  LOL.  No.  It's amazing what they use Botox for these days: muscular disorders, excessive sweating, to treat chronic migraine headaches, etc.  I got it to relax my toes on my right foot so they don't curl so tightly when I walk. They curl more when I'm nervous, and it makes it difficult to walk or stand with curled toes.

I got 2 injections in my calf and 2 in the bottom of my foot.  There was no pain when injecting into my  calf, but the bottom of my foot was very painful, and it wasn't a "quick shot" sort of pain.  But once it was over with there was no pain.  It took 3-4 days to notice a difference.  My toes are definitely more relaxed.   I can still curl them, but they no longer curl up when I walk.  And it does make it easier to walk.  I took Kiana to the doctor today for an ear infection and I barely needed her assistance in the parking lot, just a light touch, and inside I was walking on my own.  While standing at the counter I was relaxed, my toes were relaxed, and I didn't feel off balance.  It's supposed to last 3 months.