3 books, that live on my desk.

Morning all, thanks to the joys of midol, I’m back at the desk again. I’m very carefully rationing these things, because a bottle of 40 is quite expensive, even in the generic form I purchased yesterday.

I’m working on some stitchery, and have some crap or waste yarn projects on the hooks and needles. I am also working on some smaller projects for sewing, just hand work for now. These are things that don’t have a major pattern involved, and that on pain days, I can leave just sit.

However, it’s time to deal with my library again. I’m currently working on reorganizing my book shelves on the desk. I have many dead tree books, most of which are under the bed. I realized that there are a few books that no matter what I do always live at hand. I thought I’d write about them today.

I’m sick of talking about chronic pain, and the difficulties of living in a wheelchair. Let’s just agree that it isn’t fun.

My favorite book of all time: is a complete Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Other Stories by Conan Doyle. This is one of the few books I have purchased brand new, and I love curling up with it and my favorite stuffed animal in a chair. I have a cuppa at my side, and Young Master Duke guards us as cigarette smoke wafts in the air overhead. We sit in the garage in the recliner with this book, and holy crap… Sighs.

The next is The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco. Wow, just wow. One of the rare books I was tickled to find out was a book after seeing the movie. It has monks, murder, lust, poison and a library labyrinth. This book is a delicious fall night read that takes me to the monastary, it has me living in those times, smelling the blood and the smoke. It’s just phenomenal.

The third, well, it’s a bit older. It’s the Canterbury Tales, by Chaucer. This is a modernized version from the 1930’s of course. However, I fell in love with Chaucer in High School. “This lovely May then did her straight way hold, with all her women, unto Damian. Down by his bed she sat, and so began to comfort him with kindly word and glance.” Wow….

There are other books in my library, that rotate in and out. However these three are old friends. They bring me comfort, and peace. If that Kondo woman ever approached me, these 3 books would leave my cold dead hands.

Other books, which should be here, but are waiting to be discovered in thrift stores… Shakepeare. Yes, I’m an Anglophile, get over it. I also want Edgar Allan Poe. Then there are the authors from my childhood, Shel Silverstien and Beatrix Potter. Isaac Asimov, Anne McCaffrey, and others. And lastly, R A Heinlein.

Some of these authors grace my digital shelves of course, both in audiobook and ebook, but the smell of a paper book. The covers, the inclusions. (Ever have a favorite book mark?) All those things, make a paper book more real than the Velveteen Rabbit.

That my friends, makes my little library a treasure hoard to behold.

Take care my friends, I’ll write again soon. -L

Routines and change

Morning all, Young Master Duke has taken over the whole dratted bed, and I’m settled in with coffee. My beloved Shuggie Lump is in the dining room, plotting and scheming to watch all of SG-1 in as short of amounts of time as possible. We are okay. Today’s post contains child abuse from the 1970’s and 1980’s.

Yesterday, I snuck out into the garage for awhile with Duke. We had the big door open, and were focusing on avoiding drowning while enjoying the fresh air. We did our best to just be. It worked. Today’s agenda involves some more of the same. On rainy afternoons, settling in with a cup of tea, and listening to the rain. Today’s plan also involves restoring a lace tablecloth and finishing the restoration of an afghan. It’s overdue, and they are moving to the wilds of Arkansas within a few too short days.

Yesterday too, I had a nasty flashback to my childhood over 40 years ago. My parents learned at one point, that beating your children was starting to be frowned upon. They had tried to hide the beatings, by leaving marks and bruising in areas that aren’t to be discovered naturally, but an investigation proved that they were still doing it. Eventually, they changed their plans to include locking me into a shed about the size of a shower stall while they were at work.

I was talking with a friend when the flashback hit. I was remembering the day I bought my PPE. I mentioned the shed, and the fact that it was the first thing I’d ever fired my PPE at. The hole was a through and through. It was my small revenge for what had happened 40 years earlier. I’d been locked in there with no food, no water, no toilet, and nowhere to sit. I learned to pick a lock at that time, from the inside, and learned how to lock myself back in.

That said, it wasn’t the worst physical abuse that left scars on my soul. It was ‘the least damaging’ stuff that still freaks me out. I gave my daughter up for adoption at birth to break the chains of abuse.

How I deal with flashbacks is routines, in part. I have set routines that I have written about many times before. When those routines get interrupted, the flashbacks come easier. Or, when I start talking in a recovery setting about something that seems innocent to others, a flashback will come. I haven’t related on the blog about the worst abuse, it went quite a bit more scarring than being locked in the equivalent of a shower stall, but it was still there.

Routines are safe, just like mathematics, they are a predictable outcome without having to watch people like a hawk to see if they are going to cause harm. It’s part of the reason I don’t like most humans. I can’t trust that I won’t get hurt. Being a survivor of the past, like many many millions before me, means that I don’t always know or have the skills to handle life on life’s terms.

I turned to working a program of action to leave the disease of addiction to alcohol and other drugs. It was those twelve steps that saved my life. When the pandemic hit, my routines had to change. It was rough, and I’m glad I got through. However, today, I have learned to get through the best I can.

Today, something as simple as testing my blood sugar, doing my stretches while waiting for my coffee, or taking a nap as a routine has helped me with the familiar to deal with the videos playing constantly in my head. Writing helps too. Change is scary as hell. However, I will muddle on through.

Huge hugs my friends, I thank You for reading. -L

Self Care for the Handicapped, Part 3

Morning, this is the last post in a 3 part series on self care.

Medical Self Care

In the last two posts, the first on personal cares, and the second on Mental Health Self Care, I talked about some of the tools I use for personal care. I am ambulatory to the wheelchair. Meaning, I can walk and stand for tiny amounts, but for everything else, I use a wheelchair.

First and foremost, my EDC. I have a cane, a walker, and a wheelchair. They are all my EDC. Meaning tools and devices I use every single day without fail. I have a smart watch that monitors my heart rate, and tracks my hours of sleep. I also use it in case of falls, as it can call for emergency services in a pinch.

Diabetes Testing supplies. And a medical log. I keep a blood sugar monitor system in my purse when I am away from home. I also have a blood pressure monitor and O2 sat device. I keep a medical log of both symptoms and the results of my blood sugar, blood pressure, pulse and O2 sats. I have a scale, and I know how to use it.

A medical charting app. I can reach my medical providers 24/7 via email. I can keep track of my appointments, send and receive messages to from them, and work directly with them on my care. This is critical for any changes. If something major is happening, for example, when I started blacking out awhile back, I was able to reach out and let them know. Follow up appointments were made, and the cause was found.

Duke, the master of snuggling. Young Master Duke is not a trained medical companion dog. However, that is exactly what he does. He alerts me, if he smells a change, and notices when my blood sugars are dropping too quickly. He helps me to sit up in bed, by providing a cuddly anchor to reach for to help me reposition. He also helps with mental break downs, and helps me to recover from them. He learned this by being the sweet natured dog he is. Again, he is not trained for this, and is not a support dog in anyway. I do not take him out in public except to the dog park, or to the vet. I cannot afford to train him, and he is now an elderly statesman of doggy goodness. When I fall, he runs to me, and lets me use him to help me get back up if I can get up.

The way my house is arranged. Keep in mind, the way my house is arranged with change dramatically when my husband passes on. He doesn’t believe in my using the wheelchair except in emergencies inside of the house. He’s an idiot, but he is my idiot, please go find your own idiot. That said, there is a chair in the kitchen that I can sit on to cook. The house is set up so that I can use a table or other support on those times when standing just won’t do. We don’t use much in the upper kitchen cupboards, and most things are kept at hand in the kitchen. We even have a portable dishwasher, that does that work for us. Once my beloved idiot passes on, I will get some help, and get the crap out of the road so I can use the wheelchair more. I agree to the way it is set up now, simply because he needs it the way it is now.

I know, leaving you on a down note is rude. However, compromise is what it is. Huge hugs my friends, take care. I will corrupt you again soon. -L

Self Care for the Handicapped Part 2

Morning all, here’s the 2nd post in probably a series of self-care things I do. Yesterday, I wrote about personal cares, specifically grooming for the handicapped. Today, I talk about self care in the broader sense.

Emotional and Mental Health

Ooh look, I can use headings! Just kidding. You can fill a pitcher with lemonade, and carry it to the desk, to have on hand to drink. However, eventually that sucker is going to get empty, and needs to be refilled. These are the things I do to recharge.

Naps… So freaking important. I get overstimulated easily. Even watching a movie can do it. Sometimes, I get so drained, that I can’t process a damned thing anymore. High energy people are draining as well. A nap allows me to reset just enough that I don’t end up a puddle of mental mush. It also allows my physical to temporarily recharge.

I read, it’s like my brain is starving, the way I read. It doesn’t matter if it is a social media platform, or a simple trash novel. It can be history, recovery, any topic. I read. If I can escape the reality I am physically in, especially with the body pain for as little as 15 minutes, it helps.

Writing. This blog, is in a large part my journal that I share with the world. I never put anything in here that doesn’t technically show up in a journal. For the worst stuff, it goes in a physical pen and paper journal. On the days I just can’t. text to speech for the win Alex. I have a journal app I bought a thousand years ago, and always redownload when I move to a new computer.

Stitching. This not only fuels my creativity, it also gives me a way to vent. As I am stabbing something millions of times, either with a needle, or a hook, or even by machine, the cathartic action recharges my batteries.

Stretching. I’m not a yoga princess. I’m an old fat woman with a creaky body. The endorphins released by simple physical movements… sometimes when my neck pops is almost orgasmic.

Audiobooks and Podcasts. While I am doing other things, I always have some noise in the background. In fact, several posts have been inspired by something I heard in a book or a podcast. Rarely does a podcast have music loud enough in the background that gets me overstimulated. I’m never alone.

Sketching, drawing, and painting. Sometimes, tuning in to that pool of my brain, and going for a swim helps me get feelings and emotions out that words will never convey. I always have a sketch book nearby, with several forms of writing implement. Watercolors, acrylics, I don’t care. The emotion of color, the visceral disemboweling of darks and lights, it gets the black part of my soul outside of my brain.

Singing. Now in a household with a man who has an audible disorder, this is problematic. However, in the car, all bets are off. I can sit in the car, drive around, and sing along with a country song, or sing songs and hymns from my childhood. Nobody cares if I caterwaul out there. Of course, the windows are rolled up.

Simple games. I’ve written about this before. Monopoly and card games on my tablet keep me distracted from the chaos inside my brain. The storm inside sometimes overwhelms me to the point that I just can’t do a damned thing. This is part of the reason I pre-write most of this blog. When I need and must have a day off. I can enter and focus exclusively on a game.

Camping. This is a mega recharge. The sounds and scents of nature don’t overwhelm. Watching squirrels or geese, their antics just does me right. Sitting in front of a small fire, and relaxing to the point that nothing gets in the way is so important. Even just sitting in the tent, watching a video, I can get out, and away from the cobwebs of my brain.

Prayer. Reaching out in my soul to a Higher Power. Doesn’t matter what my personal religious beliefs are, having a quick conversation, or even a scream from the heart with my chosen Divine… Reconnects me to the source of my Recovery. I can recharge quickly, and easily, from a simple internal, “Help me, I hurt.” It is still the most effective prayer I know.

Lastly, documentaries and learning. I watch mostly documentaries on video. If its not a documentary, it’s a how to video on the latest thing I am interested in. In theory, I know how to make a tornado omelet, and in theory, I can climb a mountain, all from watching how others do things. Mathematics as well. The beauty of doing math problems, where the rules are well known, saves my sanity. There is no slithery people things involved with math. It’s a constant. It saves my sanity.

Please watch for the last post in this series, probably going live tomorrow. Thank you so much for being you. -L

Handicapped Self Care

Morning all. Hope you are well. I’m settled in at the desk for a bit, to recharge the devices that make my serenity complete. I’m fresh out of the shower, and felt that it was important to write about self-care.

Inside the house, I walk with a cane, and around the yard, there are times I use a walker with a seat attachment. Pain increases throughout the day, but here is how that works. Keep in mind, there are days when the wheelchair is a must both inside and outside the home. I just can’t.

The walker or cane work best for heading to the necessary. There is a small step between the main level and the bathroom. The bathroom entry is not big enough for a wheelchair to pass through. When this house was built, there were no HA rules in place.

For personal cleaning, baby wipes and a wand are not luxuries. For basics, I keep a little table in front of the throne, and have a small washtub I fill at the sink. I keep wash cloths and soaps handy. The bathroom sink is about 2 inches to the left of the clearance from the throne, and it is very handy. I use the basin for both dental care, with a small cup of water, and to wash myself. I wash first, then do teeth. Once finished, I flush the gray water down the stool.

Baby wipes never go down this drain, they go in the garbage, as does toilet paper. Our home is so old, that even tissue clogs the lines.

For shower days, I have a bench inside the bathtub. Our shower is on a longer hose, so that I can run it from a seated position. We have a shelf on the outside of the tub where towels, washcloths and toiletries reside. I keep a loofah wand there, to clean the extremities I can’t physically touch. I do place a washcloth down on the bench, and once I am done showering, I dry off on the bench, and apply lotion where I can. There is a wand applicator for lotion on my back and lower legs.

Our washer and dryer are in the bathroom. This is such a blessing. We can switch loads over quite easily with a trip to the restroom. Out of the shower, that wash cloth I sat on, and towels etc.. go directly into the washer. Since I use both commercial pads and cloth baby diapers for incontinence, I always have a load of laundry to do daily.

To get dressed, instead of a body spray I use an anti fungal application. I know, this sounds gross, but for over a decade, I would have wounds in areas where skin touches skin. Using this, my skin is now healed. I now use it as a preventative. I also use a spray deodorant. My arms don’t work the way they used to.

To put on socks, I have a device that I put the sock on, then drop it to the floor. I then put my foot in and pull the straps. The device applies the sock, and I can then repeat for the other leg. For undergarments, I have a hook with a reaching tool that saves me so much pain. I use it for under garments as well as moving shoes so I cam put my foot in. It also had a shoe horn, so I’m able to get into shoes.

For upper body undergarments, much swearing is involved. Sadly, there’s nothing I can do to improve this system. For buttons, and zippers, I have a combo button hook and hooked tool to help me do those things. This item lives in my purse when I am away from home.

Facial care, note, I’m still sitting on the throne, at this point. I apply any creams or lotions, and hair removal from this seated position. I have a little shaver that reduces facial hair, and I keep it with my hair clippers.

Now for the hair on my head. For years I wore it long. I do kind of miss my long hair, but brushing and combing my hair was so painful, and not just from a scalp perspective. Now, about twice a month, I give myself a crew cut on better pain days. This way, washing my hair involves a wash cloth, and not 10 minutes of hell. I wear quite a few head scarves, simply because they keep my head warm.

For dressing, since most of the time, I wear dresses, they go over the head. I make sure that they are cut so that I can easily get in and out without too much pain. However, pain is always involved. If I am wearing a fast fashion shirt and a skirt, it’s almost always a pullover the top versus the cardigan or button up version. Skirts are where my little button hook tool shines. Most of my skirts get a button closure and a zipper. This is simple, and slick.

For other self care, please keep an eye out for tomorrow’s post. Hugs, I have to cut this in half, and rest my hands for a bit. Take care, huge hugs. -L