Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt

Motivational Speaker

Responsible Blogging Afoot (or How I Advocate for Myself)

Filed under: Advocacy — by at 9:32 pm on Monday, May 30, 2011

Several weeks ago I shared what happened when my foot met the wall’s metal corner strip; the outcome wasn’t pretty for either one. I also shared my trip to the Emergency Room and how my husband was told to leave my side because there was not enough room for two wheelchairs, in spite of explaining I needed him for communication purposes.

Thanks to a concerned reader, my post was forwarded to the Emergency & Trauma’s Program Quality Improvement Assistant for the Fraser Health Authority. An investigation was launched and I was informed that I could expect a response within thirty business days. I made a note on my calendar.

Last Tuesday – thirty business days plus a few – I emailed the Program Quality Improvement Assistant to ask when I may hear the outcome of the investigation.

A short while later I received a call from the Emergency Department Manager. Thankfully Darrell was home to act as interpreter: the telephone isn’t my most effective means of communication. The manager apologized for her tardy response. She continued by explaining the ER is experiencing an extreme lack of space and that she is hoping the $700 million expansion will have more space. Space for patients in wheelchairs would be nice. She further explained that Darrell being told to leave should not have happened and she has discussed this with her staff.

When I asked what I should do if the situation should happen again, she offered her direct number, which, although kind, I wasn’t sure that would be practical in an emergency situation. She then said I could ask to speak to the nurse-in-charge – a much more direct and practical solution in my mind. I thanked her for her time.

in going through this process, I have come to two realizations:

  1. Initially, I felt that launching an investigation into a relatively minor incident (compared to the life and death situations the ER faces) was overkill. But I now have the words “ask for the nurse-in-charge” (words that hadn’t previously occurred to me) for next time, and next time might be more serious than an extremely sore foot.
  2. Sharing an upsetting experience in a blog post may be therapeutic, cathartic, and may garner a few comments or tweets. But readers might also be moved to take action based on words I have written. As a blogger, I feel I have a responsibility to not post a rant and leave it at that. I believe I need to write a follow-up post, much like this one, sharing what actions I took, what insights I gained, what lessons I learned, or something so that readers can also gain or benefit from it. I consider this responsible blogging.

In this specific situation, I can appreciate that the initial incident – Darrell being told to leave – was more a concern for keeping pathways clear should a stretcher need through urgently than a blatant denial of my access to communication; although the end result was still being denied access. I get that space is an issue; one symptom of our broken health care system. I did feel it necessary to allow the hospital staff the full thirty days for their investigation process without a barrage of emails on my part. I appreciate more urgent, more life threatening issues likely came up, delaying their response back to me.  I also felt it necessary to remain polite and understanding. At no point was there a reason for being rude or for escalating action, which may have resulted in me being blacklisted at the hospital, interfering with receiving appropriate care in the future. In the end, patience and understanding are key when advocating.

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My Oprah Moment, My Way

Filed under: I'll Do It Myself: The Book — by at 6:35 pm on Monday, May 23, 2011

Oprah’s final show is fast approaching. One of my dreams, at one point in my life as an ultimate Oprah fan, was to be interviewed by this self-made woman. While I was once pretty close to achieving this milestone, realizing this dream looks less likely as the hours tick by…so I have decided, instead, to imagine what might have been:

Oprah: Today I have the pleasure of interviewing a remarkable woman who, in spite of her parents being told to institutionalize her when she was a small child because she was too disabled to amount to anything, has proven all of the naysayers wrong. She has lived her life to the fullest and with meaning, which she shares in her autobiography I’ll Do It Myself – a humorous and inspiring read. Please welcome author, blogger and speaker Glenda Watson Hyatt.

Glenda: Thank you for this opportunity and for making my dream come true today.

O: The back cover on your autobiography I’ll Do It Myself reads, in part, “Glenda intimately shares her story to show others cerebral palsy is not a death sentence, but rather a life sentence.” Cerebral palsy is a life sentence, not a death sentence – can you explain what you mean by that?

G: When most people first see me, they see my chair, my jerky movements, they may hear my apparently unintelligible speech – and they tend to assume that I can’t do much, that my life isn’t meaningful or fulfilling. That, in a sense, I have been handed a death sentence, trapped inside a body that doesn’t work. When, in reality, nothing is further from the truth. Yes, cerebral palsy is a lifelong condition, but it hasn’t stopped me from living my life to its fullest, whether that was horseback riding and camping as a child, spending seven years at university getting my Bachelor degree, or more recently, ziplining across Robson Square in downtown Vancouver during the 2010 Olympic Games and traveling solo across the continent to give presentations, recently in Chicago, Alexandria (West Virginia), Austin and San Diego.

O: When one finishes reading I’ll Do It Myself, you want them to come away with what?

G: I am not looking for them to compare their situation with mine – that really bugs me when people measure their struggles against mine or someone else’s. I’d rather they put things into perspective within their own lives, within their own world. I want them to come away with hope, that amazing things are entirely possible and within their reach.

O: As you may know, I had a book deal to write my autobiography when I was about 40. But I decided against it because I felt I hadn’t lived enough yet to warrant an autobiography. Instead I ended up doing a cook book or something like that. Why did you write the book when you did?

G: I was 10 years old when the dream struck to write a book about my life to help others. For the next 30 years, I daydreamed, learned, took publishing courses, wrote, edited, asked a ton of questions and procrastinated a whole lot. Finally, in October 2005, after listening to messages from both you and Reverend Robert Schuller – at that time you both were saying things like “Live your best life”, “Follow your dream”, and “Live your passion” – I publicly announced that I would launch my book on my 40th birthday, a little more than a year away. That definitely kicked my butt in gear! I actually launched in early December 2006, only a few weeks after my birthday.

I felt that point in my life was the right time to put out a book; that kids and young adults with disabilities could benefit from my experiences to date, rather than waiting until I was a more “appropriate” age for writing an autobiography (whatever age that is). I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to reach those people now. And, I figured it would leave room for writing a sequel—

O: Will there be another book?

G: Quite possibly. One idea has been niggling me for a while; a more focused look at one aspect of my life. The challenge is finding even more time to write, on top of writing for my two blogs. But, yes, I’m getting closer to giving the idea more attention, somehow.

O: You are such an inspiration to others. What inspires you?

G: Thank you. I am inspired when I witness others living their passion. When they so love what they are doing, when they are so driven and focused on what they are doing that their passion is oozing from them. That’s what inspires me.

O: What do you know for sure?

G: So much human potential is wasted because people fail to look beyond the disability to see the ability, the drive, and the insights. This is inherent in the education system, the social services system and the corporate world. Rather than discounting and devaluing based on disability, if every individual was encouraged to rise up to meet expectations, imagine all that may be accomplished, the ideas conceived, the secrets of life revealed.

Glenda’s autobiography I’ll Do It Myself is available as a paperback or an ebook, and is also available on the Amazon Kindle.

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a chai tea latte. Thanks kindly.

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What Books Do You Recommend for Saturday University?

Filed under: Work — by at 5:16 pm on Sunday, May 15, 2011

Construction of our new City Centre Public Library – the second largest in the Lower Mainland – began a year ago.

Construction of City Centre Library begins

Construction is nearly completed! The library will apparently open in August. The Official Grand Opening Celebration is scheduled for Saturday, September 24th, 2011.

City Centre Library nearly completed

I eagerly await!

i haven’t been lost in the stacks for hours, reading bits n pieces of what I discovered, since my university years, many moons ago. Darrell’s and mine first “date” was at the Vancouver Library. (That’s another story!)

Once the library opens, I am beginning Saturday University – an idea I’m borrowing from my friend Paul Merrill. Rather than spending mega bucks getting a Masters degree, Paul spent a few hours each Saturday at a local cafe, reading the books he wanted to and then found ways to implement the relevant nuggets in his own life and business. I love that idea!

I am looking forward to reading the books that people have mentioned to me and the ones I’ve seen but haven’t had a chance to read yet.

The thing is: I haven’t been keeping a list of these books. Ooops! The ones to readily come to mind are:

  • The Purple Cow by Seth Godin
  • Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek (the free preview was fascinating)
  • The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber
  • Tell to Win: Connect, Persuade, and Triumph with the Hidden Power of Story by Peter Guber (again, the sample was intriguing prospect

What books do you recommend to flesh out my Saturday University reading list? Everyone is welcomed to read along.

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Hanging and Chatting with Friends

Filed under: Motivation — by at 2:41 pm on Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Yesterday I tweeted “Imagine we’re sitting around, chatting. What might you want to ask me?”

Four people welcomed the invitation:

John Foliot asked, “Can you name one thing that often makes you want to “give up”, and one thing that inspires you to “push on”?”

Encounters with people (and systems) who do not see beyond my disability to see my abilities and the real me inside – and there’s still many of them out there – are extremely discouraging and devaluing. I am left feeling what’s the point of trying when my capabilities aren’t validated, aren’t valued.

But then I reconnect with that part deep within myself that doesn’t give up, that keeps going, no matter what. That reconnection might be sparked by listening to one of “my” songs, witnessing someone else struggle and thinking “if they can do that, then I can get through this”, or writing a cathartic blog post and then getting on with it.

Holly Salsman enquired, “What would you say your biggest challenge has been, and your biggest accomplishment?”

Communicating verbally with those unfamiliar with Glenda-ish has always been, and remains, a challenge. A high school counsellor once asked if I would prefer to walk or to talk. My response was immediate: talk. People are so quick to judge one’s cognitive abilities based on her ability to speak; if they don’t understand her speech, they tend to discount her other abilities. I am constantly proving that I am not hearing or cognitively impaired; that I understand and I am capable. The iPad has helped enormously, in some situations, but I am finding it is not the magic bullet every time. Face-to-face communication will likely remain an ongoing challenge through my entire lifetime. Thank goodness for blogging and tweeting!

To date, my biggest accomplishment has been writing and then self-publishing my autobiography I’ll Do It Myself – a project thirty years in the dreaming, researching, planning, learning and creating. Opening the first box and seeing my baby for the first time was such an emotional experience!

However, I sense my ultimate accomplishment is still yet to come. Stay tuned.

The Badass Project queried, “You clearly can do it yourself, but what or who could you not do it without?”

I am extremely fortunate to be surrounded by encouraging, wise, giving, creative people who I can call on when working on a project or when struggling to figure out something. With the list lengthy, the top spot goes to my wonderfully supportive and patient husband Darrell Hyatt. Without him, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

(By the way, I love the mission of The Badass Project! Check it out.)

Karen Putz asked, “What’s on your bucket list?”

Great question. One that made me stop to think. Here’s what comes to mind initially:

  • Do the zipline trek at Whistler
  • Try sit-skiing
  • Climb the stairs at Philadelphia Museum of Art with the spirit of Rocky Balboa
  • Transverse the Sydney Bridge in Australia
  • Write another book or two
  • Get off of social assistance once and for all (in the good way)

No doubt this list will grow with more time and more thought.

Your turn: What would you like to ask? Your question might become fodder for a future post.

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a chai tea latte. Thanks kindly.

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Wordless Wednesday

Filed under: Motivation — by at 11:04 am on Wednesday, May 4, 2011

My kitty Faith rubbing her face on my scooter controls

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