31 July 2010

Vacation. ish.

We are on day five of a vacation. Of sorts.

I'm having a little trouble figuring out how to do it. Used to be, we'd take a couple of weeks and go someplace. First, we'd have to find a time when Scarecrow and I could both take off of work, and Tuffy would be out of school. Some years, it seemed like trying to find this chunk of time was like solving an n-dimensional jigsaw puzzle. We'd usually be camping, of one style or another, or going up to Scarecrow's family's cottage in northern Ontario, which is like camping except with a roof and it takes a lot longer to sweep the dust and mouse poop out of the cottage than it does to set up a tent. Or we'd go visit family somewhere, which is not like camping and we'd have to be nice. Before we left there'd be planning and organizing and packing, then there would be places to go and people to meet and things to do. And then we would come home.

This is different. For Scarecrow you could call it a staycation, or more precisely a FixStuffAroundTheHousecation because he's got a list of stuff to fix that he will never live long enough to finish even if he works from sun up to sun down and finally goes back to work to get some rest. For me, particularly since I no longer have a day job and still can't really steer my power chair well enough to go anyplace, it's not much different than any other time except if the weather's nice I can sit out in the backyard instead of being cooped up in one office or another. So I'm doing what I always do, which is nothing much. If I'm not doing anything, why would I need a vacation from doing it? And what would I do instead?

So I guess I feel like I should be doing something different from what I usually do, but I don't know what that would be. If life is like being on permanent vacation, who am I to complain?

19 July 2010

Mighty Hunters

Note to local squirrels: whippets are really fast.

Note to whippets: squirrels bite.

PS to note to whippets: if you get past the bitey part, squirrels make a noise kind of like a squeaky toy.

PPS to note to whippets: the squeaker doesn't last very long.

15 July 2010

Publish or Perish

Sometimes (like now) I find myself trying to come up with a blog post just because it seems like it's time. It's been a while since the last one. I don't have anything in particular to go on about. It just seems like it's time. Why is that, I wonder?

I don't have to do this. It's not like my livelihood depends on it, or there is information only I can convey, or anybody cares whether I write anything or not. I'm not trying to amuse or educate or entertain an audience because, aside from a handful of blogger buddies, I don't have one. My day-to-day routine is no more interesting than anybody else's. I don't confront and surmount, or fail to surmount, heroic challenges. I can't share deep philosophical insights, because I don't have any. I don't know the solution to anyone else's problems. Everyone around here knows what the weather has been like, and nobody else cares. I don't need the discipline of writing everyday. Been there, done that. Sometimes I'm just doing it for me, because trying to write about a thing can be a good way to sort through what I really think about it. I get that. But is there any point in trying to scratch together a post when I really don't have anything in mind to write about?

For the past, oh, 30 years or so, I've always had a deadline. Always. Sometimes more than one. While it's never been literally Publish or Perish, it has usually been Publish or Something Really Bad Is Going to Happen. There has always been a date by which I had to have something ready to publish. It's not always imminent, huge, looming, taking precedence over everything else, blotting out the sun. But it's always been there.

Now it's kind of fun to not post anything, because I don't have to.

Sometimes sitting down and writing just because I ought to turns up some unexpected things.

Today it didn't.

09 July 2010

Feeding the Mosquitoes

An entomology grad student and amateur photographer I once knew had a photograph on his office wall, a close-up of a female mosquito dining on what was obviously a human arm, the blood she had already ingested clearly visible through her translucent abdomen.

People seeing the photo for the first time always had the same response:

"Whose arm was that?"

Who in their right mind would stick their arm into a cage full of hungry mosquitoes, and sit still while one drank her fill?

Another time, Scarecrow and I were up at his family's cottage in northern Ontario. Against my better judgment, we took a canoe out on the lake at sunset.

"They're flying around, but they're not biting," he said.

"They're not biting you. I'm getting lightheaded," I replied.

When we bought our house I thought it would be nice that it was across the street from a park. There was even a paved path through the park, so I could roll along when Scarecrow took the dogs for a walk. Perhaps I should have given a little more thought to what the name Swamp Creek might imply about a park.

After a relentlessly gloomy spring, we're finally expecting a weekend of sunshine and blue sky. I'm looking forward to spending as much of it as I can out in the yard. This is not without risk, you understand, particularly in the evening. It's an interesting experience to watch a mosquito land on your person and begin tanking up, and not be able to do anything about it.

But what the heck. Live dangerously. It will be worth it.

08 July 2010

Welcome to Jurassic Park

Whenever I think about using a patient lift, I see the scene in Jurassic Park where they've got a cow in a sling, and they're lowering it into the dinosaur pen.

Some of the adaptations I've had to make to accommodate advancing MS-related disability have been fairly easy for me. Not physically, or financially, necessarily, but emotionally; acknowledging that it was a step I needed to take. Cane? Manual wheelchair? Adaptive driving controls? No problem. Makes life easier. Voice recognition software? Sounds kind of cool. Other adaptations, for reasons that are not entirely clear to me, I fought tooth and nail, long past the point where a reasonable person would've given in. Nothing rational, I just couldn't bring myself to do it. Letting someone help me eat? Sorry, no. Power wheelchair? No. No way. Don't want to go there.

Patient lift?

The rehab medicine guy wrote me a prescription for a lift the first time I saw him, over a year ago. I took it, thought "Yeah, yeah, whatever, I'm not even close to needing this," and stashed it someplace. Last time I saw him, he wrote me another one. As much as I'd like to lose this one too, I need to get real. Before we can realistically expect anyone to provide home care backup or respite for Scarecrow, we need to have a lift.

If Scarecrow and Tuffy hadn't been wrestlers, we would've had to resort to this long ago. They're both strong, fit, and know how to move another person around. Even so, as Scarecrow has had to provide more and more of the muscle power, the antics involved in transfers and getting dressed have evolved from a fairly conventional stand and pivot to a series of bizarre contortions that I can't reasonably expect anyone else to manage. It's getting harder and harder for Scarecrow to do it. It's not safe.

So, the lift. We're there. It's time.

Talk about adding insult to injury, I not only have to accept adaptive equipment I really really really never wanted to use, I have to go through the hellish process involved in procuring durable medical equipment to get it. I'm still trying to get a head array control for my power chair, for criminy sake. Not happy. Not even a little bit. Don't tell me how lucky I am to have insurance that will cover most of the cost. I'm not ready to look on the bright side. I need to be crabby for a little while. Don't tell me it's my fault for having put it off so long. I'm not ready to be reasonable.

Welcome to Jurassic Park.