Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt

Your Accessibility Conscience

Photo Wheel Outtakes: The Shots Not Typically Shared

Filed under: Living with a disability — by Glenda at 5:56 pm on Wednesday, April 11, 2012

On beautiful days Darrell and I grab our respective cameras and head out somewhere we can easily get to. These photo wheels have become an outside activity we are able to enjoy together.

I frequently share a day’s best photos in a post, like the Easter bouquet a few days ago.

What I don’t share are the umpteen shots that don’t make the cut because of my shaky cerebral palsy and my not-quite-perfected camera mount. That is, not until now…perhaps there is beauty hidden somewhere in the outtakes…

Clear blue sky with a tree top in the bottom corner

My palm, seriously!

Looking up a tall evergreen tree

Looking part way up two tall evergreen trees

Looking into the branches of two tall evergreen trees

Then I get the one I was aiming for…or almost, which only means I still have something to keep shooting for and isn’t that what photography is all about…

Evergreen trees towering toward the blue sky

Once Darrell and I get home and have had time to go through our own photos, we show each other our successes (and failures).

I love this one Darrell took me trying to look through my camera with it mounted to my scooter and tilted upwards. It explains why I have so many outtakes.

Glenda peering through her camera mounted to her scooter with Gorilla tripod

What makes me grateful is that, because of the technology, I now have photography as a hobby. I would have never had the freedom to take so many outtakes for those few decent ones had I needed to pay for film processing.

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a cafe mocha. Thanks kindly.

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Hey Doc, Where’s the Laughing Gas?

Filed under: Living with a disability — by Glenda at 11:56 am on Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The final chapter of the molar broke by an extra hard chocolate-covered coffee bean gets written on Friday. The ending is the one I was really hoping to avoid: extraction under general anaesthesia in hospital.

Since learning the date of this unhappy ending, I have been oscillating between Eckhart Tolle’s “being in the now” and Gary Zukav’s “allow yourself to feel what you’re feeling”.

Right now the sky is blue, the sun is shining, the radio is on and I am doing what I love – writing. Nothing else at this time matters.

In the next moment, I am thinking how hospitals are my least favourite place to be;  the lack of dignity, privacy and respect as an intelligent being leaves me feeling depleted and devalued. But what I am dreading most are the sensations of being put under: leaving my husband and Mom, the less than cozy warm operating room, the sight of torturous-looking equipment, the smell of the black rubber or clear plastic gas mask…in all of the times I have been put under, I’ve yet to encounter laughing gas in my mask, but rather a claustrophobic, uneasy, tingling, numbing sensation that I can not fight off. I succumb, hoping that I will wake up and without any further complications. The memories make me shudder and bring tears to my eyes, again.

I will be relieved when this molar’s final chapter is complete and I can get on with writing my next one.

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a cafe mocha. Thanks kindly.

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Valuable Communication Lesson Learned While Sitting in the Dental Chair

Filed under: Living with a disability — by Glenda at 9:15 pm on Thursday, December 1, 2011

Yesterday was my first appointment with the new dentist. Being a beautiful day, we decided to wheel the approximate 20 blocks, each way. We will be hibernating soon enough.

There was a little "not talking to me" by the receptionist. With television psychologist Dr. Phil’s “You teach people how to treat you” ringing in my ear, we nipped that in the bud. Appropriately training them from Day One is the best strategy.

My concerned husband hollered “She has her iPad with her if she needs to communicate” as I headed down the hall with the hygienist. (Concerned because, after thirteen years of marriage, he knows he is in for an earful from his non-verbal wife if anybody dares not treat her as capable and intelligent.)

In that moment, I realized I don’t go anywhere, literally, without my scooter. I (almost) always carry straws with me. But, my iPad is not yet permanently attached to me. I am getting better at taking the gadget with me when I go out, but it still requires conscious remembering.

I also learned a valuable lesson as a new assistive and augmented communication (AAC) user: needing to fetch the thing from my scooter basket and turning it on before continuing the conversation is not being prepared enough for communication. Having my iPad on and ready to go indicates to other that I am ready and able to communicate.

And, use my iPad to communicate I did, for the first time, with a dentist.

The bottom line: one broken molar needs a filling, which he will attempt to do in the office next Monday. If he runs into a problem, he will call the College of Dental Surgeons for suggestions. I can not ask for more of that.

The other molar, which had a root canal done several years ago, will not fare as well: too broken to attempt saving, it needs to be pulled and the dentist is reluctant to attempt that one. I have a consultation with a oral surgeon next Tuesday; the consult is not covered by Ministry. If necessary, he can sedate in office. We will find out on Tuesday whether sedation is covered; strangely, full hospitalization is covered by Ministry,  but I really would like to avoid that, if possible.

Depending upon how Monday’s appointment goes, I am very tempted to switch dentists permanently. I was pleased at how he interacted and communicated with me. That makes all of the difference!

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a cafe mocha. Thanks kindly.

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Finding an Accessible Dentist Requires Persistence and Many Questions

Filed under: Living with a disability — by Glenda at 4:51 pm on Friday, November 25, 2011

A quick update on my dental dilemma…finding a suitable dentist involves dealing with three accessibility requirements:

  1. Physical access: Can I get to the dentist office, preferably without spending half a day on public transit? Can I get to the dentist chair? Needing to park my scooter and walk 8 feet to the chair does not count as accessible (for me); for others, it might pass.
  2. Staff attitudes: A dentist and staff who communicates directly with me and can work around my jerky cerebral palsy are essential.
  3. Directly bill the Ministry: Surprisingly (or not) many dental practices do not directly bill the Ministry, which is an obstacle for those of us on social assistance. The mere thought of attempting to be reimbursed after paying myself sends me shivers up my spine. (I’d love to hear from others who have succeeded and how they did it.)

A big thank you to my persistent virtual assistant Lori-ann for making umpteen phone calls. I now have an appointment at the Riverside Heights Dental Group – which appears to meet all three requirements – next Wednesday at 11:15am.

Fingers crossed!

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a cafe mocha. Thanks kindly.

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I’ll Take My Coffee in Liquid Form, Please

Filed under: Living with a disability — by Glenda at 6:15 pm on Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Recently I discovered a quite acceptable alternative to my favourite beverage, an iced mocha: chocolate-covered coffee beans! Popping a few of those yummies in my mouth was way easier than going out for a cold beverage. They were on the verge of becoming addictive until…

I bit into one that seemed as hard as a rock. It felt like a jagged piece scratched my gum, which I was aware of when I ate but I didn’t think any more of it.

A few days later the apparent scratch was still bugging me. I stuck in a finger to feel for the scratch and, much to my surprise, a tooth wiggled like a loose tooth. Huh? I didn’t dare try again to confirm in case I caused more damage. But, I had a sinking, panicky feeling that I had cracked or broken my back molar. Up until now, most of my dental work in my thirty-fifteen years has been done in hospital under general anaesthesia – an experience I have absolutely no desire of reliving.

Monday morning Darrell called the wheelchair repair guy to cancel the pick-up of his power wheelchair and put the repairs on hold for another week. We had to get to the dentist and couldn’t wait around for the guy to show up.

Thankfully the 5 centimetres of snow had not materialized overnight and, except for wishing power chairs came with onboard heaters, we made it to the dentist without incident.

After poking around in my mouth, the dentist, without saying a word to me, went out to Darrell to deliver the news. After living this game for 45 years, I should be used to people, particularly medical professionals, not speaking directly to me. But, it still hurts, still stings. I was on the verge of tears.

Just because you don’t understand me (due to a lack of even trying) does not mean I do not understand you. Speak directly to me, especially when it concerns me and my health.

I called for Darrell and we quickly corrected the dentist’s uncertainty of me being able to understand him.

The verdict, after four x-rays, which is not easy with shaky cerebral palsy and an over active gag reflex: one broken tooth and one cracked tooth. He was able to remove the broken hunk. Now I need that tooth crowned or extracted, and the other tooth filled or crowned. The Ministry does not cover crowns, of course.

i now need to find a dentist who can do the work in the office; again, tricky with athetoid cerebral palsy. Otherwise I face a hospitalization, which I really want to avoid if at all possible. I am all for facing one’s fears, but some are meant to be left alone and, based on previous experiences, being in hospital can be left in my distant past.

I have learned to stick with my coffee in cold, liquid form. It is less expensive and less terrifying that way.

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a cafe mocha. Thanks kindly.

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