Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt

Motivational Speaker

My Response to Nurse Ratchet

Filed under: Advocacy, Living with a disability — by Glenda at 2:37 pm on Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Dear East 31 Unit Manager,

On Monday, my husband was discharged from the East 31 Medicine/Neurology Unit after a two-week hospital stay for pneumonia. For the most part, he received good care, for which I am grateful. However, one incident was very upsetting.

Both my husband and I have cerebral palsy and use power wheelchairs for mobility. Yet, we live independently, without any attendant care. We have done a fair bit of traveling without any companions. We work well together as a team, as a married couple, to problem solve and overcome any obstacles.

Saturday afternoon, once his nurse had supervised his safe transfer into his power chair, we mentioned to her that we were going down to the cafeteria for a drink and for a change of scenery. She flipped! She said my husband, who turned 50 today, couldn’t leave the floor without a relative. My husband explained that I am his wife. The nurse told him to wait for his parents, who are elderly. She continued that we would have to take the elevator and that, if something happened, I was “incapable”.

Incapable of using the elevator? Incapable of helping my husband or of summoning help, if needed, in a hospital? The nurse knew nothing about me except that I use a power wheelchair/scooter and that she could not understand my speech. She knew nothing about my capabilities. Labelling me as incapable was not only demeaning and insulting, and dismissed my role as wife; her firm comment was also discriminatory.

Not wanting my husband to experience any reprisal from the nursing staff, we were good disabled people and begrudgingly stayed within bounds.

If the nurse’s comments reflect the unit’s policy, this archaic policy regarding people with disabilities needs reviewing. After all, this is 2009, not 1909!

Thank you for your attention in this matter so that another spouse with a disability is not dismissed in the future.

Glenda Watson Hyatt

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Related Posts

New Venture Embraces an Internet Accessible to All

Filed under: Advocacy, I'll Do It Myself: The Book, Living with a disability — by Glenda at 9:30 am on Sunday, September 21, 2008

Screen shot of In today’s guest post, Damien Patton shares a speech he recently gave at a college explaining why his company has chosen to embrace and push accessibility standards on the web:

Hello Everyone,

I’m Damien Patton, founder and CEO of, the Web’s Flooring Authority. I am often asked why I created an information portal for the floor covering industry. My answer usually surprises everyone as it is not what people expect.

Last year, in the summer of 2007 I was lying in bed searching the internet for ideas for my next venture. For whatever reason I came upon Those of you not familiar with WebMD, it is a FREE medical resource for consumers and physicians alike. Coming from both a high tech and floor covering industry background, it immediately dawned on me, Where is the WebMD of Flooring. I spent the next couple of months searching the internet with a team of professionals to discover what type of floor covering information was on the internet and how it was presented to consumers as well as floor industry professionals. It soon became clear that there was a large void of unbiased, free information, on the internet for flooring consumers and professionals in one central place. In order to find a lot of information, you have to go through dozens of sites and most of the time the sites contradict one another.

The idea for was born.

Although the above was the catalyst for the idea, it is certainly not what propelled us to who we are today, and this is where we surprise a lot of people. While researching this site I met a woman at a high tech trade show who was disabled through complications during birth, resulting in mobility and speech disabilities. She just so happened to be selling a book that she had written called “I’ll Do It Myself.” Not only did I buy the book, I went down stairs in the convention center and read it in one sitting. I may have missed a few of the trade show classes, but the book gave me one of the most valuable educations I ever received. I, like many people, had no idea the limitations the internet has with regard to people with disabilities. Those of us that are not disabled may take for granted that we are able to search most sites without issue, and at our own pace. Can you imagine if buildings no longer had handicapped facilities such as restrooms, ramps, elevators, & hand rails? I couldn’t either. But this is exactly what most of the internet is like for those with certain types of disabilities.

Imagine a world where you can’t read what’s on the web, you can’t hear the sounds from video files, you can’t navigate through menu’s to other parts of the site; you have just experienced what the majority of websites operate like to those with visual, hearing and mobility disabilities.

The US Government has a standard for their websites that they must be accessible to everyone. This standard is called 508. Although this standard doesn’t apply to non-government related commercial websites on the internet today, I feel strongly that more has to be done to make the internet accessible to all. This is why is committed to becoming 508 compliant by the end of 2008. It is our goal that others in the online flooring community will take note of the 60 million people in America alone that have some type of disability that may affect the way they use the internet.

From the floor covering industry we are planning to launch a large green living website that incorporates all types of eco friendly building materials as well as items used in everyday life. Our mission will be to create to the largest green site for consumers that will be accessible to all, again hoping that others in that industry will follow suit. It would be great if the concept of creating accessible websites became viral. In the next 5 five years, let’s hope we are looking at a whole new internet, one that is created for everyone and is accessible to everyone.

Glenda’s note: I love when people get the need for web accessibility! If things go according to plan, I will be meeting Damien and some of his team at BlogWorld today. And I’m looking forward to working with him to ensure and other projects are Section 508 compliant. (See, the trip to Vegas was a business trip!)

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

Random Posts

Boy Voted Out of Kindergarten Because of Disability

Filed under: Advocacy, Living with a disability — by Glenda at 11:14 pm on Thursday, May 29, 2008

Alex Barton, a 5-year-old boy with blond hair and a big smile

Five-year-old Alex Barton was told to stand in front in his Kindergarten class while, one by one, his classmates said what they didn’t like about him – responding with such words as “annoying” and “frustrating”. Then, in a vote of 14 to 2, Alex was voted out of Kindergarten.

When his teacher Wendy Portillo, who implemented this punishment, asked Alex how he felt about what had occurred, he responded, “I’m sad.”

His crime: his “unusual behaviour” most likely caused by Asperger’s Syndrome, for which he is in the process of being diagnosed currently. Asperger’s Syndrome is often considered to be a type of “high functioning” autism, characterized by impaired social interaction and understanding, and restricted and repetitive activities and interests; learning and cognition are not usually delayed.

I was outraged when reading this story on Disaboom. How can an adult put a child through such hurtful humiliation?

The Florida State Attorney’s office concluded the matter did not meet criteria for emotional child abuse. No charges will be filed against the teacher.

Not emotional abuse?

Forcing a child to endure a verbal lynching is abusive, is emotionally and psychologically damaging!

A Thinking in Metaphors blog post details the teacher’s violations. Yet no charges have been laid?

Had Alex been an ethnic minority, there would have been protesting and rioting in the streets! But, because Alex has a disability, such conduct is okay? I think not! This is 2008, for pete’s sake! Society cannot turn away from such barbaric and cruel conduct, particularly from authority figures, any longer. This teacher needs to be held accountable for her actions and for the psychological pain and damaged she has caused.

Imagine how Alex feels about himself after being publicly humiliated by his peers. And, what about the other youngsters? How do they feel about tearing down a classmate? What has this taught them about accepting differences and bullying? Do they know the incident was wrong?

The children (and unenlightened adults) need appropriate education and guidance on accepting, valuing and embracing differences.

How can this adorable boy be anything but loved and cherished?

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

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A Day for Hearts

Filed under: Advocacy, Blogging — by Glenda at 1:41 pm on Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine’s Day: a day for expressing matters of the heart to those who you love and cherish. Sadly, many are suffering from a broken heart. Literally.

Eight in every 1000 babies born alive have some form of congenital heart defect – a killer claiming thousands of infants and children worldwide every year.

My twitter friend Dr. Mani has made it his life’s mission to repair as many of these broken hearts as he can. Dr. Mani Sivasubramanian is a heart surgeon using his Internet marketing business to fund heart surgery for under-privileged children in India.

In conjunction with The Dr.Mani Children Heart Foundation
February 14th is A Day for Hearts: Congenital Heart Defects Awareness
– a global effort to increase awareness about this deadly group of diseases. See how you can hellp spread the word. Together we can do this.

And, today, while loving your loved ones, listen to their hearts. Truly listen. If you hear a healthy, beautiful beat, be thankful.

Happy Valentine’s Day from me to you.

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

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Remodeling Readers’ Café

Filed under: Advocacy, Readers Cafe — by Glenda at 10:11 pm on Monday, February 4, 2008

After a week of banging, cutting and painting, Readers’ Café – the place to gather and to share – has undergone an extreme makeover: blog style.

Readers’ Café hasn’t been inspiring in recent months. The topics weren’t inline with what I do, namely, writing about disability awareness and accessibility-related issues. And, I don’t feel there was any value or benefit to readers, which may explain dwindling participation.

Rather than close Readers’ Café, I decided to remodel! (If, at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again.) Readers’ Café will still be held the first and third Wednesday of each month, 4-7pm pacific time, right here on the Do It Myself Blog. Participating in the conversation will still be as easy as posting a comment. What will be different is the format! The plan is to interview and chat with a featured guest on some aspect of disability and/or accessibility, and to have readers join in the discussion.

Karen Putz will be our first guest this Wednesday, February 6th. Karen is the Deaf mom who was denied service at her local Steak & Shake drive thru because she didn’t place her order through the speakers, which she can’t use due to her disability. Her story was covered by two TV stations and has received some attention by the blogosphere. Most blog commenters have been supportive of Karen’s actions to go public with her fight for her rights, some do not fully understand what life is like when you’re Deaf and require some gentle disability awareness training, and a few others have been complete…well, sadly, there are still people in today’s society that need major attitude adjustments!

On Wednesday, I plan to ask Karen questions arising since the incident began unfolding. Questions like:

  • Why didn’t you go inside to order your milkshake? (I know why, but I would like Karen to explain why.)
  • Is this type of incident common for people who are Deaf or hard of hearing?
  • What don’t most people understand about being Deaf or hearing impaired? What are some typical barriers you face daily?
  • Some unenlightened souls say you shouldn’t even be driving because you wouldn’t hear sirens coming, and thus, are a safety concern on the road. How do you know when to pull over for emergency vehicles?
  • As a person with a disability, surely you unfortunately encounter annoying and discriminating situation frequently. What was it about this particular situation that made you fight it rather than brush it of?
  • What steps have you taken so far to advocate for your rights?
  • You’ve used social media, like blogs and Twitter, to tell your story. What kinds of responses or results have you experienced? How have you managed to keep up with all of it?

Hope you can join us Wednesday, February 6th @ 4-7pm pacific time. Feel free to tell your friends.

If you have an idea for an upcoming featured guest, I’m all ears!

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

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