myhollydays

A glimpse into the world of the handicapable.

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“Q&A”

I usually have strangers ask me random questions (mostly about my differently abledness). I thought I’d just collect a few of the questions and answer them. Please…take notes…take them seriously and try them on someone you barely know. smile emoticon Good luck.

A quick Q&A by Hol…

Q: Should I kneel, sit or squat down to talk to you?
A: Yes all three…and in that order. However, bowing is preferred (and a great alternative if you have bad knees).

Q: Is it okay to use the handicap stall if I am not disabled?
A: No. You will catch my disability (I am highly contagious). I’m only thinking of your well-being and future mobility.

Q: Is it okay if I hold the door open for you?
A: Sure it is. I think it’s polite and nice. Just make sure you bow, kneel, sit and squat as well. smile emoticon Who says chivalry is dead?

Q: What happened to you?
A: As stated in my blog (https://myhollydays.wordpress.com ), I was bitten by a disabled radioactive spider. JUST KIDDING! I used the handicap stall.

Q: Does it bother you that people stare?
A: It depends on who or what they are staring at. If they are staring at thin air and talking to it…I grow concerned and end up staring at them. Do you think it bothers them? Hmmm…..my, how the tables have turned….I’ve digressed.

No. It does not bother me, I know I’m awesome…so people should take notice.smile emoticon

Q: You are pregnant. How does that work?
A: You are observant. It’s like being able to walk (with a baby inside your tummy), only, I sit all the time…and I mean ALL the time. (I sleep, shower, etc. in my wheelchair).

I hope you’ve enjoyed this session of Q&A by Hol

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Nothing to prove…

There are so many times I wish I could just grab someone by the shoulders and shake them until they understand, I AM CAPABLE.

I think it bothers me more that people doubt my ability to do things (take care of my children, be a good wife, drive (okay…that’s a separate topic all together), or live a quality life). I have a great life. I enjoy my job, I love my family, I love it all, but it never fails when I am the recipient of an”are you sure?” look or a “you don’t have to prove yourself to me” comment that makes me frustrated at a body that can’t walk, but is so much more capable. It makes me question who I am as a mother, wife or friend. I second guess abilities I KNOW I possess and then I second guess my worth. THEN I remember, HEY!!!! Who do they think they are? OR better yet…. Why do I even care?!  I know who I am.  My children and husband know who I am and what I can do.

I am so much more than my body. I am so much more than my inabilities. I am….handicapable. I can, therefore I will.

 

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Hold the Door!

I was reading a message board recently. The person posting had a disability and was ranting about how people who offer help seemed demeaning and wished they would back off. I used to think that way. However, now that I’m older (…and wiser…pah!) I can see the situation with new eyes. Here’s an example…

It’s an awkward situation to find yourself encountering a door. Wait…the door isn’t awkward …necessarily…I mean when I approach the door. Well, I’m not saying that when I approach a door that it’s “awkward” per se…just when other people are involved with the door approaching. I digress…

Let me paint you a picture…
Imagine a beautiful, confident, independent woman comes rolling in her cute wheelchair to the door as you are approaching it. Not awkward. You are in a hurry….but…but..she’s almost to the door. Should you wait? Should you keep going? Will you look like a jerk if you just keep going and not wait to open it for her? Should you just say oops as you shut the door in her face? Avoid eye contact as you head off to your next destination? AWKWARD! (Head explodes)

This scenario has occurred on several occasions. Honest! Well, except heads didn’t explode. 🙂

I got to the door and opened it. I turned around and looked to see a girl in a wheelchair intending to use said door. She was about 2-12 feet from the door and I thought I’d be nice and open it for her. I waited…and waited…and waited… She was further than I thought and I misjudged (shock!) the time I had to get to my next class and the time it would take her to wheel into the building . So…what did I do? What any normal and reasonable person would do. Run! (Figuratively…).

JUST KIDDING! I stayed and chatted with her until she crossed the threshold. This could have been an awkward social situation but luckily I love talking to people. I got to find out more about her.

I’ve seen this happen to me too.
It’s so strange to have someone stare at you for that long (while holding the door at the same time). If you ever want to know what I prefer in that type of situation, well… I don’t care either way.

If you hold the door for me…awesome! I always respect manners and I don’t see it as “poor cripple girl” thing, I prefer to see it as people remembering to treat others with kindness. It helps me remember to do the same for others.

If you don’t hold the door…cool! I understand. You didn’t see me, or I wasn’t fast enough (scoff…! I’ve got four wheels!) or whatever. No offense taken. 🙂

I think you should always accept a good deed, a display of kindness or a show of manners from others with an open mind. Perhaps their intentions are skewed but at least it will remind you to do the same. 🙂

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My five thoughts for the day….You are welcome!

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Wow…!  It’s been almost 15 months since Caiden’s been born and I have learned SO much!  I have a small (yet growing list) of things I would like to share with everyone…

1.  One size does NOT fit all.

When you think about it, that’s applicable to EVERY aspect of a person’s life.  Pants, PJ’s, Bra’s (yes, there is a “one size fits all bra” that comes in small, medium and large…contradicting, I know.) and parenting.  I have parents give me advice…mostly great (buy clothes ahead, prioritize your time, don’t sweat the small stuff), some good (don’t feed your baby after midnight, don’t get your baby wet, don’t…oh wait…that was for my Mogwai…) and some TERRIBLE.  But you take them in stride and I do what I think is best for Caiden.

This is Caiden's FAVORITE game!  =)

This is Caiden’s FAVORITE game! =)

2.  Don’t assume.

Communication is so important in any relationship.  I am still learning to communicate effectively with Chris and with Caiden.  This is (I feel) going to be a life long lesson to be learned.  I guess part of communicating is asking questions but my brain is so ADD I forget.  I also forget to let the other party know that I am making (or had made, or WILL make) a joke.

Funny story…I love to joke with my students!  My freshman are my favorite to play around with.  They don’t realize that I am not the scary, strict teacher that all of their high school expectations has taught them.  Oh no!  (Did I mention I convinced the entire Deaf ed high schoolers that one of the teachers has a fake eye?  Nor had I bothered to tell that teacher until a little later-when the students were staring at her eye-that there was a “rumor” that she had a glass eye, and that I started the rumor.)  I forgot where I was going with this…so, let’s move on.

3.  Ask for help

Swallow my pride.  Ask for help.

I think I do a decent job asking for help when I need it.  Actually, I have worked hard at doing such, BEFORE I become overwhelmed and do something silly.

4.  Don’t eat it if you can’t remember when you cooked it.

Thankfully, permanent marker and ziplock baggies have been my best friend.  So, this issue really hasn’t affected me much.  But I figured, if posting this helps at least ONE person, then, I’ve done my good deed for the day.  You’re welcome.

5.  ENJOY LIFE!

Don’t sweat the small stuff.  Seriously…don’t.  I’m watching you.  STOP!  =)

All in all, life with a one year old has been so enjoyable.  I’m learning, I’m growing and maturing.  I realize that my love didn’t grow, as much as it just…became deeper for my husband and baby boy.  I love life.  One does not need a set of working legs to experience this.  =)

Best Buddies!

I never lost my belly button…!

As little bit sleeps, I think it’s safe to post a short little blog…

Caiden is now 6 weeks old. Time has just flown by so fast. I’m trying to enjoy every moment, the good and the bad. He is more alert and awake than before. He vocalizes a lot and tries to talk to me and Chris. He also has the greatest facial expressions! I can’t tell you how much I enjoy his little bug! =)

Taking care of Caiden hasn’t been too hard. I have figured out a way to carry him and move around the house. I actually didn’t use a sling as much as I thought I would. Instead, I have him in one arm and on my lap and I just roll around the house (usually as I am taking Caiden on a tour of the house and talking to him about everything we see!). The slings I have were made for babies over 8lbs and I was a little nervous using them.

This is the general idea of how I carry Caiden around the house.

I use the sling occassionally, if I need both hands. Especially when little bit is asleep but refuses to sleep in his bed!

Caiden riding Kangaroo style!

Now, I use the sling a lot more since he’s big enough and his neck is getting stronger. He is so laid back, it doesn’t seem to bother him which method I use to carry him.

The dressing, bathing, feeding, burping, etc. has been something I have always known how to do. When you are one of the older girls in my family, you tend to become the “babysitter” of the younger ones. I remember caring for my six younger siblings (all under the age of 3) at once and cooking them dinner. Then feeding them (the twins had to be hand fed) Then bathing them (three girls in the bathtub in one bathroom and three boys in the shower in the other bathroom), dressing them and putting them in bed. Yup…I did that by myself! For me, it was second nature. For my sisters that are my age and older…it’s second nature. To top it off, the babies had either ADHD, FAS, they were drug babies (from their birth parents), or other issues, or all at the same time! For me, it was just a typical day with them. I loved them and I loved taking care of them. My point is not that I am this super woman…I’m not. But if I am having a rough day with my Zoomie, I just tell myself…if I can handle THEM…surely, I can handle my ONE little bug! I never thought of myself as a wife…nor a mother when I was in college. Now that I am both, I really enjoy it!

Well, until next time!

My husband and my baby!

Honestly, I think the most challenging thing I’ve faced was being alone with Caiden during the day. Taking care of him wasn’t an issue, but being alone was. I hate being by myself. I am an active person. I’m used to just deciding last minute that I am going to go out with a friend, or have a last minute dinner with a group, or go to my sisters house and hang out. It’s weird coming from a LARGE family and then having a tiny one!

We always tease within my own family that we can’t cook for 2. We end up cooking for 25 people…this makes fo

I’m a little behind…

Meeting daddy for the first time!

It’s been quite the adventure! So…let’s get everyone caught up!

For those who don’t know…
Zoomie has arrived! He was 6 lbs and 1 oz and 20 inches long (he isn’t that anymore…he’s a big boy now!). He arrived by C-section on January 4, 2012. He is absolutely beautiful! They allowed my husband to be in the operating room while I was under general anesthesia. He took pictures and video while I was under. After the anesthesia wore off, i was put in recovery…so…Chris made sure that we had time alone with the baby before our families saw him. I love that man! :). He took good care of us in the hospital and again when we came home. Chris had tons of pictures and video of the birth and recovery, so I didn’t feel like I missed out on the birth of my son.

Meeting mommy for the first time!

It’s been almost a month since I’ve had Caiden and he’s still just as cute and sweet as the day he was born. :). Chris has been fortunate and was able to take off four weeks to stay with us (he went back to work yesterday). It  has been so helpful to have Chris home!  He helped me get in and out of bed when I was healing, in and out of the shower (ouchie!!!) and with the baby.   I also had the help of my sister, Ash, and my mother in law. I also have awesome friends that came over to visit, bring meals and ooooh and awwwwwed over little zoomie! It’s been nice seeing everyone and breaking up the day, since I was too nervous to leave the house! It’s a new mom thing!

Gradually, we (Chris, Caiden and I) took on the real world…one retail store at a time. 🙂 Target, and the local mall. Next…the moon! Okay…a bit ambitious…but you get the idea! I’m ready for a real outing with my new little family.

Chris and I actually left our little one with a sitter (sitters) for the first time last week. I won’t lie when I say I was nervous. But I knew he was in good hands. He did very well!

The next big thing I was nervous about was Chris returning to work. Not that I couldn’t handle Caiden alone (I’ve handled 3-8 babies at once…most with disability’s ranging from FAS/ADHD/attachment disorders/drug babies or all of the above…I’m confident that I can handle ONE baby…without all of the above), but I am not used to being alone for long periods of time (big family, remember?). Chris had to return to work earlier than expected.  For two days, I figured out how to entertain myself when Caiden was asleep (THAT’S quite an accomplishment, if you ask me…!) However, between talking to Caiden (asleep and/or awake), Sydney (asleep and/or awake) and Buddha (asleep and/or awake)…I’ve managed to keep my sanity (and not annoy too many babies/animals/ghosts and/or inanimate objects) and not allow the quiet make me too sad or miss Chris too much.

So, that’s been the last month. I do need to warn you…posts will be scarce and few and far between for a little while. I hope to write more consistently later.

Have a good night! Mines just beginning! Little one likes to hang out with me (fully awake!) between the hours of 2-6am! Haha! We will get a schedule down soon! Wish us luck!

Our precious Caiden!

Modifications…Accommodations…

A modified smart car...pretty cool, eh?

In the world of the disabled (handicapped…differently-abled…crippleness…etc.), you will encounter a need to accommodate or modify your surrounding so you can navigate through the world of the walking (yeah…that’s right…I’m still calling you the “walking”). I’ve always been too proud to actually ask for accommodations at work. Why do I need them? I just figure out how to do it my way…or just not do it at all (YEAH RIGHT…I’ll find a way).

So let’s start with things I’ve modified to get through life…and…this pregnancy…
1. Let’s start with pants…
Pants are something everyone (well, the vast majority of the human population in America) wears at some point or another. After about 5 months of pregnancy…I refused to accept that I was getting bigger around the middle. You really couldn’t notice it…but still…I could. SO…I decided instead of wasting money on UNcute maternity pants…I was going to modify one of my current pants. They were so comfy! Until…I out grew that one. So…I continued to modify a few of my other pants (What??? I can always go shopping and buy new ones).

I altered my pants when I started getting too big for regular pants, but too small for maternity pants.

UPDATE: I finally found a store…BURLINGTON COAT FACTORY…of ALL places…that sold CUTE and stylish maternity clothes for a good price. Now…I look cute (as if I never do…HA!), with my round little belly.

2. Shower…already discussed. (See past blog)
3. Transferring in and out of the bed/car/etc.
Well…this one is more entertaining to me than anything else. I have fallen (and I promise I’m alright!) a few times since I’ve gotten pregnant. However, I always seem to land in a handstand and ease onto the floor. Now that I’ve gained more weight than I care to find out, I can’t really get back into my chair without some help. SO….when and IF I get out of my chair (whether it be by accident or intentional), I have to find something to hold on to (like a chair or ledge with the same height), and use my arms to lift my body onto the designated target. It’s quite entertaining for the layman to watch…but frustrating because the weight just KILLS my back and stomach! I have a few more weeks to go (January 4), but at least I know I can always land on my hands if I should ever fall! =) Now, don’t worry…I am more careful these days (mostly because I’m SO slow moving!) because I know what’s at stake.

I think that’s pretty much it. I’m surprised to see not much has really changed. I am also SO happy and thankful that this pregnancy has gone as well as it has. I’m healthy…my baby is healthy and I actually have energy! How long the energy will last…well, only time will tell! I am so ready to meet my little boy!

36 weeks

The weeks are just flying by now. I’ve finished up my lesson plans…finally! I bought most of my Christmas gifts for the family, bought my gifts for the school’s secret Santa exchange…and even made gifts for my desk buddy (Ninja Jill) and Jackie (our other deaf Ed teacher). As of Sunday night…I was patting myself on the back…and on my tummy, ready for little Caiden’s grand entrance.

Then today…

I had a doctor’s appointment to check on my little boy and his progress. The doctor was (as usual) positive at his progress and our health. He is so active and he was doing so great that the test was cut short! My cervix was checked and absolutely no change! I was told that I’m carrying him so high, that it would be doubtful that he would move down. So…we scheduled a c-section. Baby Caiden is set to make his debut on January 4! I’m so excited we have a definite day. We have a plan and a deadline to get things done.

I’m also feeling a bit disappointed (hormones?). The delivery will be a little different from what I had in my head. I was hoping to be mentally alert for his arrival. I wanted to be one of the first to see him. I know it’s petty and a bit selfish…it’s hard to explain what I’m feeling. I wish I could find the words to express myself.

I’m always being reassured that it doesn’t make me any less of a mother (or woman). I’m also reminded that at least we are both healthy and and the c-section will be safer for both of us. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful that I’ve have such a blessed pregnancy. Seriously, God has been so merciful and good to me and my growing family. So, why am I feeling so disappointed?

I will get over the initial feeling, I just need to express it before I can become excited (or nervous…or scared…or anxious…or estatic…you get the idea). I usually have to process things emotionally first before I can go on…

Anyway…

It’s getting closer to the end of the semester and I can feel things beginning to unwind at work. I can feel the excitement of Christmas in the air and I’m trying not to go overboard with the gifts. 🙂 I love buying, wrapping (especially wrapping) and giving gifts! However, I’m trying to save EVERY penny I have so I can spend more time at home during maternity leave…as well as (GULP!!) pay the medical bills!

Entering the world with style!

I had a consult with the anesthesiologist on Saturday. I hadn’t been ready to discuss it yet because I wanted to sort it out with my dr and Christopher.

It was also news I hadn’t wanted to accept because it wasn’t what I was imagining in my head of how my son would be introduced to the world and to me. My husband was very sweet and sympathetic, but had a good point. He wants the delivery to be safe for both Caiden and I. It was a gift from God that we are even able to have such a precious gift given to us.

The anesthesiologist basically gave us three options:
A) go natural and then if the pain is too much or if the baby is distressed, get knocked out (hopefully via medication verses a boxer) and have a c-section.
B) schedule a c-section (and be knocked out)
C) get an MRI of my back and then they can attempt the epidural. If its not working, get knocked out (again…with the assistance of medication!) and get a c-section.

Noticing a pattern?

I don’t know why it matters so much to me. I guess I wanted to be fully alert for his birth. However, if he’s safe and healthy…then it doesn’t matter the state of mind I’ll be in. :). Not like I’m 100% alert on a good day these days!

I’m going to wait until he’s ready, and I go into labor before I opt for the c-section. So, we shall be patiently waiting for him to be ready! I just can’t wait until he’s in my arms.

I keep dreaming about him. Actually, my dreams are getting more and more bizarre! Some times they are sweet and are about my little baby. I can’t wait to see Caiden. Other times the dreams have nothing to do with anything…they are just nightmares…vivid and realistic. Weird, eh?

33 weeks and 5 days

Little Caiden is not really kicking as much as he used to. Instead he is, well…gliding, swimming and swirling in there. I don’t really know how else to put it. It’s fun to see my tummy move in odd formations as he tries to make himself comfortable. I imagine it’s getting pretty cramped in there, because he is trying to take residence with my side and pushing mr. bladder, kidney and intestines out of the way.

I went in for my check up on Wednesday and I’m so excited to see his progress. The doctor has been wonderful! She is so encouraging! Caiden is developing normally and so I’m hoping for a healthy baby boy. I have less than 7 weeks before I get to meet him FINALLY! I don’t want to rush him, or wish this pregnancy away, but I really can’t wait to meet him.

The doctor and I discussed the epidural, and anesthesia today. I go in for a consult on Saturday and pre-register for the hospital. I’ll keep you updated!

We also discussed the delivery options. We are going to try a vaginal delivery, however, a c-section might be a possibility. I believe she wants us to wait until I’m in labor to make the call. So, we are working on Caiden’s schedule. If he’s anything like me…well, he’s going to be late!

People ask me how I am going to handle certain situations when it comes to taking care of Caiden, such as:
“How are you going to carry him?”
Well, my first thought would be to keep him in a pouch or baby holder (like a Moby wrap) when I want to transport him from room to room. I really don’t know how other’s have done it, but I figured, I am not the first woman in a wheelchair to be a mommy, nor will I be the last. I will figure it out as I go, and I just hope that others are willing to encourage me through this adventure instead of criticize how I decide to do things. It will be trial and error, but it will be something that Chris, Caiden and I will discover together.

“Are you planning on going back to work after the baby is born?”
I am planning on taking maternity leave (10-12 weeks) depending on how long I need and how much I can afford to take off. I do plan on coming back to work. I think finances would force me to come back…but I also enjoy my job (most of the time!). I would actually want to come back. I’m torn…if I had a choice, I wouldn’t. haha

“Are you concerned that Caiden might be curious about what happened to you and why you can’t walk? Or why you aren’t like other mommies?”
It has crossed my mind to be concerned. After working with teenagers, it’s amazing how accepting and open they are to me. After awhile, they don’t see a wheelchair and a person sitting in one. They see the teacher that is making them learn math. =) I encourage questions (from both parents and students) and don’t mind answering them at all. I think Caiden will have a unique opportunity to learn more about disabilities and since he grew up with me, he won’t be as hesitant to ask questions. Chris was extremely open minded when he met me and it never crossed his mind that I was limited because of my inability to walk. So, we shall see…

“How will you take care of the baby when you husband is not home?”
I’ve helped raise 8 babies growing up. I know the mechanics of it and I loved doing it. I know what it takes and I know how to do it. However, siblings and offsprings are two different things! I think I will be more careful and loving with my own child…AND, I think my siblings turned out alright…for the most part! =) I know I can handle caring for my own son without assistance, especially the more time I have with him. I am not too worried. God hasn’t given me anything that I couldn’t handle before.

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