Today not only marks a year since I’ve posted on my blog, but much more significantly, today is the twenty-second anniversary of my accident. Happy another Bump Day!
Well, it’s been another rough year. Last Bump Day I revised my post from two years about my health condition as a result of my seating situation, but mere days following said revision, shit got even more real. Last August I unsuccessfully tried to pass a bunch of kidney stones, requiring a trip to the Emergency Room to resolve. I’ll keep all the gory details to myself, but by mid-September I had two more trips to the ER. The last one requiring an emergency surgery to remove stones from the end of the inside my penis – or urethra, if I must.
Further investigation revealed my kidney’s were full of stones (which explains a lot). I’d require a bunch of surgeries over what is soon to be a year to address them problem. Following one surgery in October, another one in November, and a big one in April of this year, with the last pieces of my recovery falling into place not forty-eight hours ago, if I may be so bold, I’m back!
I’m dealing with it
That’s right, it seems I have myself a neurogenic bladder as a result of my accident. I still have a lot to ask my urologist and understand about this diagnosis, but it’s not entirely all that surprising, especially considering I’ve been living with progressively worsening urinary symptoms for over twenty years. But things being what they are, and were over the last year especially, honestly, I’m not really any worse for wear. While I still have some more surgeries – one more for stones and another one for an unrelated cyst, by my hopes – point is, I’m dealing with it.
I’m that much more convinced my continued existence is a fucking testament to human adaptability, but again, there are limits. My stones painfully representing the latest instance of this point. No matter how in the nuts it feels this time, this is as close to my nuts as I care to get.
For the record, I don’t really think accessibility is shit. I’m speaking (tongue in cheek) towards the reason why I do what I try to do. And what follows is the transcript of the words I gave to the 6th annual #a11yTO Camp this past Saturday. These words, the words I had my computer speak on my behalf, appear here verbatim. That’s why words such as “trach” and “Tracheotomy” are spelled phonetically, and why some bits of punctuation may seem oddly placed. The reason for this is to help VoiceOver get my points across, with the intended affect. We all, assistive technology included, need a hand getting our voices heard. Read “Why this shit (meaning accessibility) matters” in its entirety
I struggle with verbal communication. Full stop! For those who’ve personally crossed paths with me, especially in recent years, that much is obvious. vocalizing ever since my accident has rarely been an easy thing for me to do, or for others to reliably understand. And both have been getting harder as time has progressed. But such is life: work with what you have.
But what happens when you can’t? Or, better still, when you’re no longer able to comfortably adapt? I’ve been grappling with these questions as of late, and to bluntly answer, there wasn’t a lot that could be done.
Now, it’s not my intent to be an alarmist, I’m just fine, and I’ll be better going forward. But I’ve recently come to realize that, for certain parts of my situation, I didn’t have many options for helping myself. And everything was exacerbated by the fact that my understanding of the root causes for my decreasing ability to speak was essentially non-existent. I needed help. Read “The hardest lessons earned” in its entirety
In my case, being disabled really is lame. That’s right, I’m unable to walk. Did you assume I meant “lame” in another way? Curious. I’m so very interested in the meaning of words but, more specifically, how I relate to their use. What does the all-encompassing and rather generic classification of “disabled” actually mean to me, a person with disability?
Read “being disabled can be lame” in its entirety over at simplyaccessible.com
I was asked for my thoughts surrounding the implications of “sharing” services, like that of Uber, on people with disabilities at a workshop held at the Inclusive Design Research Centre (IDRC) today. And since I was unable to attend in person, I was kindly given the opportunity to have my written words represent my interests instead. What follows are those words…
In all honesty, my initial approach toward these thoughts consisted of little more than what I’ve heard/ read about Uber from various sources, namely from the news media. And I’ll admit, that was unfair. But also consider one “source,” a Blind colleague, who was denied service because she was accompanied by a service animal, and charged a cancellation fee on top of everything, was what I drew my impressions from most!
And this wasn’t an isolated incident, for her I mean. It’s happened to her before at least one time previous (turns out it has happened fourteen or fifteen other times). And what happened after – I have no idea what amends, if any, were offered – is of little consequence; it happened. What I’m driving at here is Uber has a public perception problem as a result. However, that’s a separate issue – one potentially solved with training.
But what concerns me more about Uber’s intention to provide its customers an accessible service is what this effort will result in when it comes to Uber’s reliability. Read “Uber must earn trust from all their customers” in its entirety