Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt

Motivational Speaker

Inaccessibility Strikes in Small, Personal Packages

Filed under: Living with a disability — by at 7:10 pm on Tuesday, September 28, 2010

This year I have ziplined across Robson Square, traveled across the continent to present, and toured around Washington DC all with barely any accessibility hiccups.

This morning, while getting dressed, an unexpected accessibility glitch struck that nearly did me in. For the life of me, I could not open the new plasticy wrapper on the Tampax tampons. The new wrapper does not tear like the old paper one, but rather has two flaps that, I guess, are meant to open when pulled in opposite directions. For someone with one quasi-functioning hand, this is not doable…this is definitely an accessibility issue, a usability issue!

Wrapped Tampax tampons on a counter

Finally, totally frustrated and cursing under my breath, I darted out to the kitchen for the scissors to carefully snip open the end, making sure not to cut the string, which would only lead to other accessibility issues I’m sure…

Cutting open the package is a solution that works at home, but will not work when I cannot pack scissors while traveling. Hopefully, tampons with cardboard applicators and paper wrappers can still be obtained, otherwise future travel plans may be off-limits one week per month.

A note to the guys: when sent out for Rocky Road ice cream and tampons, be sure to avoid the Tampax Pearl Plastic unless instructed otherwise. You’ll both be happier, trust me!

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Attention Drivers: What Makes Your Time More Precious than My Life?

Filed under: Living with a disability — by at 6:39 pm on Friday, September 24, 2010

Dear Careless, Inconsiderate Drivers,

When the driver in front of you has stopped at a marked crosswalk, chances are that someone – perhaps me – is crossing the street. Stop! Do not drive around the vehicle and keep going! Stop and wait!

Glenda Watson Hyatt in her red mobility scooterIf you can not see me in my big, bright red scooter attempting to cross the street, chances are you won’t see the parent pushing the baby stroller, the senior citizen using the walker or cane, or the child walking the dog. Surrender your driver’s license now! You are not fit for the privilege of driving.

If you are distracted by the cell phone, iPod, lipstick or razor, put the damn thing away, preferably in the trunk – beyond reach of temptation! Driving – with your own and others’ safety in your hands – requires your full attention. This is not the time for mindless multitasking.

If you are in a hurry, take a deep breath, count to twenty and wait! What makes your time more valuable, more precious than my life?

In a split second, you may judge my life in a wheelchair as not worthwhile, not valuable. But many others – around the world – would vehemently disagree and would be extremely upset and angry if you injured or killed me while I was crossing the street.

I was a hit-and-run victim once. A driver turned right as I wheeled down the curb cut. His van turned my entire scooter ninety-degrees. He drove off, leaving me trembling and with soft tissue injuries.

I was lucky that time; I survived. Next time I may not be so lucky. And why? Because you didn’t see me? Because you were distracted? Because you were in a hurry? What will you tell my husband, my parents, my brothers, my nieces and nephews, and my friends?

Crossing the street should not be the most dangerous thing I face each day.

Slow down, pay attention and put away distractions so we both safely reach our destinations.

Thank you for doing the right thing,

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For a Satisfying Evening, Ditch the High School Reunion

Filed under: Motivation — by at 5:59 pm on Saturday, September 18, 2010

After much deliberation and agonizing indecision, I have decided not to attend the mega high school reunion tonight. I feel that’s not what I need right at this moment; even using the event as research for an iPad experiment isn’t enough of an enticement.

This evening I’d much rather:

  • Plan what needs to happen before I relaunch the Blog Accessibility Mastermind course,
  • Choose – or, at least, narrow it done to the our top 3 choices – the colours for Darrell’s office, our bedroom and the ensuite, which will be painted while we are in Vegas,
  • Order in Chinese food and play Wii with Darrell – something we haven’t done in months because we’ve been too busy, and then
  • Climb into a still-to-be-made clean bed and read the current issue of O Magazine.

That would make for a peaceful, content and satisfying evening for me.

What would make this evening enjoyable and satisfying for you?

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Can the iPad Make My High School Reunion Bearable?

Filed under: Living with a disability — by at 6:48 pm on Friday, September 17, 2010

Glenda's grad photo Saturday night is a mega high school reunion for the schools in North Delta. Can you believe I graduated from high school twenty-five years ago this September? I can’t!

I am very tempted to go, but I’m also somewhat hesitant. Being the only one with a significant physical disability…which I really didn’t mind…it was my corner…everyone knew me, but not many really knew me. Only a small handful of close friends understood Glenda-ish.

Conversations at previous reunions went something like “Hey Glenda! Great seeing you! You’re looking good.”.…then they moved onto the next vaguely familiar face.

I am much more looking forward to seeing my bloggy friends at BlogWorld and New Media Expo in Vegas in three weeks! They know the current me from my blog and my tweets, which make face-to-face encounters more comfortable, more familiar. And, now with my iPad, conversations can even go deeper than ever possible before.

Is it possible the iPad could help me take conversations beyond the superficial at this reunion? Is it possible my high school classmates could finally get to know me beyond my letter grades – and vice versa? Is it possible using the iPad for communication could make my high school reunion bearable, even enjoyable? Is it worth going to the reunion to find out?

Will I spend a quiet evening at home, wondering what I’m missing but saving myself from revisiting the past…or will I don my favourite purple blouse, grab my iPad and catch the bus to Scottsdale – in the name of this blogger doing research for another blog post? I’m still undecided.

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Just breathe…easier said than done

Filed under: Living with a disability — by at 7:40 pm on Friday, September 10, 2010

Relax. Just breathe.

Just breathe? Do you know how comforting those words are not? With my cerebral palsy, when my body hears those words,the opposite happens: the act of putting focus and effort into breathing causes muscles to tighten – the result least desired in that moment.

And yet, do you know how many times I’ve been told to “just breathe”? I might as well be told to “just walk it off”. Both are as equally likely.

Reading September’s issue of O Magazine the other night, I finally found an alternative that might actually work:

“If you are too upset to focus on your breath [it’s not that I’m too upset, but anyway…], try describing your surroundings in detail: Notice the shades, lines, colours and shadows in a painting, or the view out of the window — anything to pull your attention to external things.”

Yes! Shifting my focus from internally to externally might be enough to trick this body into doing what I need it to do in that moment.

Now…to remember, for me, “just breathe” means “stare out the window”…

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